Lead Corrosion in Water Distribution Systems

Lead is a toxic heavy metal mainly introduced to drinking water through corrosion of lead bearing distribution pipes. High lead levels in drinking water are a major public health concern for Canadian communities still serviced by lead pipes. Destabilization of the lead corrosion scale can occur either by changes in water chemistry, flow regimes, mechanical disturbance or by galvanic corrosion.

Lead corrosion scale chemistry

Our research is investigating the variables that control corrosion scale destabilization and applying understanding gained to develop a geochemistry model to predict lead dissolution in water distribution systems exposed to different water chemistries. The project includes:

  • Laboratory dissolution and solid phase characterization experiments
  • Pipe loop studies
  • Field data collected by partner Canadian municipalities
  • Development of a geochemical model to predict lead dissolution and solid phase transformations

Project Team


Team Members:



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Funding Organizations