Document Type

Article

Journal/Book Title/Conference

J. Environmental Engineering

Volume

129

Issue

9

Publication Date

9-2003

First Page

844

Last Page

851

DOI

10.1061/(ASCE)0733-9372(2003)129:9(844)

Abstract

In water distribution systems containing PVC pipe manufactured in the “early era” (prior to 1977), vinyl chloride can leach into drinking water resulting in vinyl chloride concentrations exceeding the 2 μg⋅L−1 maximum contaminant level. Field testing of dead-end segments of water distribution systems consisting of early-era PVC pipe was conducted to examine their initial intrapipe vinyl chloride monomer (VCM) concentrations based on a Fickian-diffusion-based leaching model. The experiments showed a wide range of VCM concentrations within early-era PVC pipe ranging from less than 50 to more than 600 mg⋅kg−1. Based on the diffusion modeling approach, a protocol was designed that provides a means for utility managers to calibrate the model for specific dead-end lines. The paper delineates procedures to determine which dead ends require flushing to control vinyl chloride, examines the effects of system parameters such as temperature on vinyl chloride leaching, and provides a method to devise flush schedules and volumes. Through a properly designed, tested, and maintained flush protocol such as that developed in this research, public water systems with dead-end lines consisting of early-era PVC pipe can control vinyl chloride concentrations using either manual or automatic flush valves.

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