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Potential corrosivity of untreated groundwater in the United States

Scientific Investigations Report 2016-5092

By:
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DOI:10.3133/sir20165092

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Abstract

Corrosive groundwater, if untreated, can dissolve lead and other metals from pipes and other components in water distribution systems. Two indicators of potential corrosivity—the Langelier Saturation Index (LSI) and the Potential to Promote Galvanic Corrosion (PPGC)—were used to identify which areas in the United States might be more susceptible to elevated concentrations of metals in household drinking water and which areas might be less susceptible. On the basis of the LSI, about one-third of the samples collected from about 21,000 groundwater sites are classified as potentially corrosive. On the basis of the PPGC, about two-thirds of the samples collected from about 27,000 groundwater sites are classified as moderate PPGC, and about one-tenth as high PPGC. Potentially corrosive groundwater occurs in all 50 states and the District of Columbia.

National maps have been prepared to identify the occurrence of potentially corrosive groundwater in the 50 states and the District of Columbia. Eleven states and the District of Columbia were classified as having a very high prevalence of potentially corrosive groundwater, 14 states as having a high prevalence of potentially corrosive groundwater, 19 states as having a moderate prevalence of potentially corrosive groundwater, and 6 states as having a low prevalence of potentially corrosive groundwater. These findings have the greatest implication for people dependent on untreated groundwater for drinking water, such as the 44 million people that are self-supplied and depend on domestic wells or springs for their water supply.

Suggested Citation

Belitz, Kenneth, Jurgens, B.C., and Johnson, T.D., 2016, Potential corrosivity of untreated groundwater in the United States: U.S. Geological Survey Scientific Investigations Report 2016–5092, 16 p., http://dx.doi.org/10.3133/sir20165092.

ISSN: 2328-0328 (online)

Study Area

Table of Contents

  • Abstract 
  • Introduction
  • Methods Used in the Assessment
  • Results and Discussion 
  • Summary and Conclusions
  • References Cited
  • Appendix 1. Uncertainty Associated With Estimates of Characteristic Values and Potential Effect on Classification of States

Additional publication details

Publication type:
Report
Publication Subtype:
USGS Numbered Series
Title:
Potential corrosivity of untreated groundwater in the United States
Series title:
Scientific Investigations Report
Series number:
2016-5092
DOI:
10.3133/sir20165092
Year Published:
2016
Language:
English
Publisher:
U.S. Geological Survey
Publisher location:
Reston, VA
Contributing office(s):
National Water Quality Assessment Program
Description:
Report: iv, 16 p.; Data Releases
Public Comments:
National Water Quality Program National Water-Quality Assessment Project
Country:
United States
Online Only (Y/N):
Y
Additional Online Files (Y/N):
Y