When sewer systems operate, they're mostly invisible to the public. Wastewater flows, unseen and unnoticed, through pipes from homes and businesses to treatment plants, where it is cleansed and returned to the environment. 

But standing pools of water and foul odor—signs a sewer is not functioning properly—are becoming more and more common.

According to NACE International, corrosion is the biggest issue facing underground infrastructure. Most sewer systems were built a century ago when corrosion management solutions and techniques were limited. These are approaching the end of their functional lives, primarily due to corrosion.

WHY SEWER EROSION AND CORROSION MATTERS

Corrosion is an extremely hazardous and expensive form of pipe deterioration: Like cracks and breaks, it can degrade a pipe's structural integrity and cause wastewater to leak into groundwater or waterways via exfiltration, wreaking havoc in its wake, causing sickness, possible death, and deterioration of the environment. New, hazardous substances can also enter the flow, and corrosive microbes and bacteria can release toxic gases within the lines. Corrosion costs drinking water and sewer utilities $80 billion each year.

WHAT CAUSES CORROSION

Corrosion comes in various forms, including uniform attack, pitting, galvanic corrosion, and selective leaching. According to NACE, in many cases, failures caused by erosion occur quickly.

In the wastewater industry, microbes often intensify corrosion in a process known as microbially induced corrosion, or MIC. Bacteria collects in pipes and treatment plants and produces hydrogen sulfide, a toxic, flammable, smelly, and corrosive gas. A chemical reaction transforms this into sulfuric acid, which aggressively eats concrete pipes. In addition, hydrogen sulfide endangers all life: Exposure to this toxic gas can damage eyes and skin, cause problems breathing, and even lead to death.

HOW TO REMEDY CORROSION

There is nothing more important than safety when it comes to potable water. With a wide range of fast-curing solutions, ArmorThane offers the solution to most wastewater erosion and corrosion problems. ArmorThane's environmentally safe, non-permeable polyurea coatings have a high pH resistance—giving wastewater pipes and tanks a whole new level of strength from a product that won't leech into the drinking water supply. Not only will ArmorThane's protective coatings extend the life of water pipes and tanks, but they'll also keep drinking water contaminant-free.