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Why is My Tap Water Discolored?

THE ANSWER: Your water lines are corroding.

If you are facing the problem of water discoloration it might be due to the fact that your water pipes are corroding. You may wake up every morning to find your water discolored in your water system. This happens because the water has remained stagnant in the system for a few hours due to which the rust from the pipes may fall off and become a part of the water supply.

Causes of corrosion in water system pipes

Mostly, the pipes used for water supply are either made of plastic, concrete or metal. Plastic and concrete pipes are resistant to corrosion, however the metal pipes tend to corrode continuously, as they are either made of steel, galvanized steel, ductile iron, copper, or aluminum. This corrosion process may sometimes result due to environmental conditions like:

  • The properties of the pipe,
  • The properties of the soil surrounding the pipe,
  • The properties of the water itself
  • Stray Electric Currents

Metal pipe corrosion occurs due to a number of reasons for instance:

  • It may be the result of the electrochemical process between metals.
  • It can result from the ionic effect of solutions
  • The PH level of the solution
  • The role of aquatic buffering

An electrochemical cell needs to present for the corrosion of metal water pipes to take place. An electrochemical cell is just like a battery where electric current flows through the anode (positive terminal) and the cathode (negative terminal). This electrical charge leads to corrosion and is generated by the differences in chemical types present on the surface of the pipe and the soil.

Influence of ionic impurities on corrosion

Water is treated using more than 40 chemicals. These additives are usually acidic in nature, like ferric chloride and aluminum sulfate which are added to remove any impurities from the water. Other additives include chlorine disinfectants, which are used as acid to reduce pH level, alkalinity, and buffer intensity.

These additives, as they are acidic in nature serve to quicken the corrosion process, and as their amount are five to ten times greater than the amount of fluoride additives, they serve to have a greater effect on the corrosion process.

The corrosion of pipes can cause quite some problems if not dealt with properly.

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