A large-scale pilot distribution study was conducted to investigate the impacts of blending different source waters on distribution water qualities, with an emphasis on metal release (i.e. corrosion). The principal source waters investigated were conventionally treated ground water (G1), surface water processed by enhanced treatment (S1), and desalted seawater by reverse osmosis membranes (RO). Due to the nature of raw water quality and associated treatment processes, G1 water had high alkalinity, while S1 and RO sources were characterized as high sulfate and high chloride waters, respectively. The blending ratio of different treated waters determined the quality of finished waters. Iron release from aged cast iron pipes increased significantly when exposed to RO and SI waters: that is, the greater iron release was experienced with alkalinity reduced below the background of G1 water. Copper release to drinking water, however, increased with increasing alkalinity and decreasing pH. Lead release, on the other hand, increased with increasing chloride and decreasing sulfate. The effect of pH and alkalinity on lead release was not clearly observed from pilot blending study. The flat and compact corrosion scales observed for lead surface exposed to S1 water may be attributable to lead concentration less than that of RO water blends.

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