Impacts of blending ground, surface, and saline waters on lead release in drinking water distribution systems

Zhijian Tang, Seungkwan Hong, Weizhong Xiao, James Taylor

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

41 Citations (Scopus)


The impacts of distribution water quality changes caused by blending different source waters on lead release from corrosion loops containing small lead coupons were investigated in a pilot distribution study. The 1-year pilot study demonstrated that lead release to drinking water increased as chlorides increased and sulfates decreased. Silica and calcium inhibited lead release to a lesser degree than sulfates. An additional 3-month field study isolated and verified the effects of chlorides and sulfates on lead release. Lead release decreased with increasing pH and increasing alkalinity during the 1-year pilot study; however, the effects of pH and alkalinity on lead release, were not clearly elucidated due to confounding effects. A statistical model was developed using nonlinear regression, which showed that lead release increased with increasing chlorides, alkalinity and temperature, and decreased with increasing pH and sulfates. The model indicated that primary treatment processes such as enhanced coagulation and RO (reverse osmosis membrane) were related to lead release by water quality. Chlorides are high in RO-finished water and increase lead release, while sulfates are high following enhanced coagulation and decrease lead release.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)943-950
Number of pages8
JournalWater Research
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - 2006 Mar

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
Support for this research was provided by Tampa Bay Water (TBW), and AWWA Research Foundation (AwwaRF). The authors specially acknowledge Roy Martinez, AwwaRF Senior Account Officer, who was the Project Officer, and Chris Owen, TBW Quality Assurance Officer. The TBW Member Governments: Pinellas County, Hillsborough County, Pasco County, Tampa, St. Petersburg, and New Port Richey; and the AwwaRF Project Advisory Committee are recognized for their review and recommendations. Pick Talley, Robert Powell, Dennis Marshall and Oz Wiesner from Pinellas County, and Dr. Luke Mulford from Hillsborough County are also specifically recognized for their contributions. UCF Environmental Engineering graduate students, especially Jorge Arevalo and faculty who worked on this project are recognized for their efforts.


  • Lead corrosion
  • Pipe distribution systems
  • Statistical regression
  • Water blending
  • Water quality

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Water Science and Technology
  • Ecological Modelling
  • Pollution
  • Waste Management and Disposal
  • Environmental Engineering
  • Civil and Structural Engineering


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