Interactions of metallic substances and acidic ground water in the New Jersey Coastal Plan

Water-Resources Investigations Report 90-4095




Four ancillary studies were undertaken in support of an investigation into the extent and distribution of corrosive ground water in the Kirkwood- Cohansey aquifer system of southern New Jersey.The ancillary studies were (1) analysis of tap-water samples for metals and the acquisition of metal data from a county study, (2) leaching experiments in which copper pipe with various types of solder were exposed to a variety of ground-water types, (3) analysis of pipe-scale deposits on plumbing from houses with wells that tap the Kirkwood-Cohansey aquifer system, and (4) measurement of corrosion rates for carbon steel and copper exposed to shallow ground water from the Kirkwood-Cohansey aquifer system. The results studies indicate that substantial concentrations of lead, copper, and zinc can leach from plumbing materials exposed to corrosive water from the Kirkwood-Cohansey aquifer system, and that leaching appears more pronounced during the summer than during the winter. The leaching experiments indicate that the corrosiveness of water, as estimated by the calculation of a corrosion index (the Aggressive Index), is related to the concentration of trace metals in the leachate.Further, although the leaching of lead-bearing solders produced lead concentrations in leachate above the Primary Drinking Water Criterion in effect at the time of the study (50 micrograms per liter), no potentially toxic levels of metals were leached from lead-free solders, although copper concentrations in some leachate samples were in excess of the Secondary Drinking Water Criterion of 1,000 micrograms per liter. Analyses of pipe-scale deposits indicate the formation of iron oxide coatings on some copper-pipe interiors exposed to untreated well water. Treated water from a public-supply system precipitated copper carbonate and copper chloride minerals. Corrosion rates measured for copper exposed to corrosive water from the Kirkwood-Cohansey aquifer system were slow (less than 0.0254 millimeters per year). Carbon-steel corrosion rates were faster; the fastest rate (0.229 millimeters per year) was measured in oxygen-saturated water.

Additional Publication Details

Publication type:
Publication Subtype:
USGS Numbered Series
Interactions of metallic substances and acidic ground water in the New Jersey Coastal Plan
Series title:
Water-Resources Investigations Report
Series number:
Year Published:
U.S. Dept. of the Interior, U.S. Geological Survey ; Earth Science Information Center, Open-File Reports Section [distributor],
vi, 68 p. :ill., map ;28 cm.