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

29 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


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

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Ecological Modelling
  • Water Science and Technology
  • Waste Management and Disposal
  • Pollution


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