This article explains how a CMMS software solution like Transcendent can help battle corrosion at wastewater treatment plants.

Using CMMS Software for Reducing Corrosion Damage at Wastewater Treatment Plants

Corrosion damage in drinking water and sewage systems was estimated to be approximately $50 billion for 2009. Wastewater systems are often the most affected because of the extra impurities associated with waste. The resulting corrosion can cause failure of pipes and tanks as well as adding to the costs of removing impurities from the water.

Without corrosion inspections and maintenance, wastewater plants can see a reduction in electrical conductivity which can cause the plant to operate inefficiently or even fail. To avoid downtime, wastewater maintenance staff need to make sure they are regularly inspection of wastewater assets for the various types of corrosion and perform corrective and preventive maintenance.

Basic Corrosion Process at Wastewater Plants

Corrosion can come in several forms including:

  • Electro-galvanic: better known as rust when oxygen molecules react with iron molecules.
  • Electrolysis: caused by acids and bases in the water forming currents. Often the presence of hydrogen sulfide (smell of rotten eggs) is a sign of acidic buildup.
  • Bacteria: Wastewater is filled with bacteria both added and inherent by its nature. Bacteria can eat away at iron and other metals.
  • Chemical: Other chemicals and compounds can cause direct corrosion without water.

“The root cause of odor and corrosion in collection systems is sulfide, which is produced from sulfate by bacteria residing in the slime layer on the submerged portion of sewer pipes and structures. Once released …. odor and corrosion begin. Another type of bacteria utilizes H2S gas to produce sulfuric acid that causes the destruction of wastewater piping and facilities. ”

Water is obviously the biggest catalyst to corrosion, but it is not the only cause. Corrosion can start within a few hours or exposure to the right conditions. It cannot be stopped even with today’s technology but it can be slowed down and damage can be mitigated by proactive maintenance including inspections, specialized neutralizing agents and common preventive measures such as paints and sealants.

How a CMMS Can Help

The key to corrosion control is frequent inspections. Some assets can be visually inspected and others require more intrusive techniques. Once problems are identified , measures can be taken for corrective action before major emergency repairs are necessary.

CMMS software provides wastewater asset managers with a centralized database of all assets. This includes the location, description, identification number and date of install. By recording all asset data with the CMMS, assets can be scheduled for inspections or corrective work. The work management tools enable assets managers to always know the condition and work management history of all wastewater infrastructure.