Corroded metal pipes are a serious issue facing the managers of America’s aging infrastructure. In addition to causing leaks and water contamination, corroded pipes can actually help encourage the growth of potentially deadly bacteria, including legionella. In Flint, Michigan, corrosion in the city’s water pipes has led to a dramatic increase in the number of individuals contracting Legionnaires’ disease. You may think your piping system can’t make people sick, but the unfortunate truth is that it can.

Legionnaires’ disease is a deadly pneumonia caused by inhaling Legionella bacteria that lurk in the organic matter lining drinking water pipes. Lab studies have illustrated that corrosion in drinking water pipes can stimulate the growth of Legionella. Corrosive water dissolves the protective mineral lining in pipes and then leaches iron out of old iron pipes. Iron is a micronutrient that boosts Legionella reproduction. The metal also reacts with and inactivates chlorine disinfectant that otherwise would kill the bacteria.

As a building owner or manager, it’s critical to know the status of your drinking water before your tenants start developing symptoms of bacterial pneumonia. This means that you should periodically have your pipes tested for bacteria as well as other contaminants, like excessive levels of lead and iron, and you should schedule a pipe assessment to determine the levels of corrosion in your water pipes. If contaminants or legionella bacteria are found, you must act quickly to avoid potentially deadly consequences.

POLYMELT America’s piping systems and products can help prevent the growth of legionella in your plumbing system because our pipes do not corrode the way that copper and steel pipes do. Our polypropylene (PP-R) piping systems experience virtually zero corrosion, scaling, or leaching, making them the ideal choice for supplying water that is potentially corrosive. PP-R’s resistance to corrosion also means that our pipes last far longer than traditional metal pipes, requiring almost no maintenance to perform optimally for up to 60 years or more without replacement.

If you have any questions about how PP-R impacts the purity of potable water, we’re happy to answer them! POLYMELT America’s team of plastic piping experts is available to help you design and fabricate piping systems that reduce the threat posed by legionella. Contact us today for more information!