Corrosion is any pipe line’s enemy, but ignoring the warning signs can cost you more than just money.
Lives are also at risk. These ‘ticking time bombs’ have killed more than 500 people and injured over 4,000 since 1986.
The United States has over 2.4 million miles of pipe, making it the largest network of energy pipelines on Earth.
But here’s the problem: Over 50% of these pipelines are now over 50 years old. With age playing a large role in this corrosion, it’s now more important than ever to take action.
So, where does one start? Keep reading to find out everything you need to know about pipeline corrosion.
What is pipeline corrosion?
It is when the metal of the pipeline reacts to elements such as soil and water. Naturally, it will begin to rust over time, leading to corrosion.
What causes it?
Pipelines can corrode due to any of the following causes:
- The pH level of the water
- Water temperature
- Certain minerals in the water (i.e. high levels of calcium)
- Too much or too little oxygen in the water
- Velocity of the water traveling through pipes
- Exposure to sunlight
- Underground soil and debris
- Installation issues
- High carbon environments (i.e. synthesis gas which causes metal dusting)
- Impurities in the pipeline (such as impure gas, solids, or liquids)
The warning signs of pipeline corrosion
Be on the lookout for corroding pipelines by being aware of the following warning signs. If you notice any of these, immediate action is vital.
- Discolored water, particularly brown.
- Leaks, as they can indicate when a corroded pipe can no longer hold water. If left untreated, leaks can spread and cause more corrosion.
- Strange-tasting water, which is the result of oxidation. This is the leading cause of corrosion in pipelines and oxidation can be dangerous to your health.
- Clogged pipes, as this means there is a buildup in the pipeline which could cause an explosion or burst.
What are the effects of corrosion in pipelines?
Chemicals such as copper and lead can enter the water-flow when a pipe is corroded. Both of these can have serious health effects if the problem is not fixed quickly.
Health problems due to copper contamination include gastrointestinal problems. More serious contamination can lead to liver and kidney damage.
Lead contamination can cause kidney problems and high blood pressure in adults. In children, however, it can lead to physical and mental development issues.
Corroded pipes can also greatly affect businesses and the safety of employees. Aging pipelines cause major accidents such as explosions due to ruptures.
Additionally, corroded pipelines can cost companies a fortune. Each year, metal corrosion costs the U.S. economy almost $300 billion.
In 2010, a pipeline accident in Michigan caused 840,000 gallons of crude oil to leak into the Kalamazoo River. This pipeline spill alone cost $800 million to fix.
Don’t let that happen to your company!
Prevent pipeline corrosion with DynaGard
Get in touch with DynaGard today to find out how our DynaGard pipe protection products can help you.