This study investigated the characteristics of iron corrosion scales in pipes at tube well, overhead tank, and consumers’ end in older untreated water distribution system in Peshawar city, Pakistan. Effect of water quality conditions on corrosion scales and that of scales on drinking water quality in such systems was also assessed by undertaking a comparison with new piped distribution systems. The scales were analyzed for chemical composition and morphology using X-ray diffraction (XRD), inductively coupled plasma (ICP), and a scanning electron microscope (SEM), while water quality was examined for physicochemical and biological characteristics. The main crystalline phases of corrosion scales were goethite, magnetite, siderite, and quartz. From tube well to consumers’ end, goethite increased from 36 up to 48%, quartz declined from 22 to 15%, while magnetite fluctuated and siderite disappeared. Elemental composition of scales showed the deposition of Zn, Al, Mn, Cr, Pb, Cu, As, and Cd with Zn (13.9 g/kg) and Al (3.6 g/kg) in highest proportion. The SEM analysis illustrated the presence of microbial communities indicating the formation of biofilms in the corrosion scales. The significant difference (P < 0.05) in levels of dissolved oxygen (DO), Cl−, SiO44−, electrical conductivity (EC), SO42−, NO3−, alkalinity, hardness, and trace metals between old (DS-O) and new piped systems indicated their role in corrosion scale formation/destabilization and the effect of scale dissolution on water quality. In DS-O, EC, Cu, and Mn were significantly higher (P < 0.05), whereas turbidity, EC, DO, and SiO44− significantly increased from source to consumers’ end implying a higher dissolution of scales and lowered corrosion rates in DS-O to utilize SiO44− and DO for iron oxidation.
Corrosion scales Drinking water Water quality Composition Dissolution Microorganisms
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