Dynamics of Biocorrosion in Copper Pipes under Actual Drinking Water Conditions


Deficient disinfection systems enable bacteria to form in drinking water; these can invade plumbing systems even if the pipes are composed of antibacterial materials such as copper. Severe copper corrosion by microorganisms and their subsequent release into the water system are evidenced by the blue water phenomenon. Proper monitoring and control can reduce such undesirable effects on water quality. However, a lack of data from analysis under actual conditions has limited the development of useful predictive tools and preventive strategies. In this work, an experimental aging system was connected to a drinking water network affected by the blue water phenomenon. The microbially influenced corrosion (MIC) was evaluated by studying the dynamics of the formed bacterial community and its relationship with copper corrosion and the release of copper. The results suggest that the conformation and composition of the biofilm attached to the surface influence the measured parameters. The corrosion rate was variable throughout the sampling time, with the highest value recorded after one year of aging. The composition of biofilms also changed with time; however, the genus Pseudomonas was ubiquitous over the sampling time. No relationship between the corrosion rate and the biofilm age was observed, thereby suggesting that MIC is a dynamic phenomenon that requires further study.

Beatriz Díez Moreno
Beatriz Díez Moreno
Associate Professor.
P. Universidad Católica de Chile.
School of Biological Sciences,
Department of Molecular
Genetics and Microbiology,
Santiago, Chile.