Water and Wastewater
The U.S. Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) released a study in 2002 on the direct costs associated with metallic corrosion in nearly every U.S. industry sector, from infrastructure and transportation to production and manufacturing. Initiated by NACE International and mandated by the U.S. Congress in 1999 as part of the Transportation Equity Act for the 21st Century (TEA-21), the study provides current cost estimates and identifies national strategies to minimize the impact of corrosion.
The Cost of Corrosion study shows that the total annual estimated direct cost of corrosion in the U.S. is a staggering $276 billion—approximately 3.1% of the nation’s gross domestic product (GDP). In particular, the water and wastewater sector accounts for approximately $36 billion, or 14%, of the above-mentioned total. Based on the current GDP of $450 billion, the cost of corrosion in the water and wastewater sector is approximately $58.5 billion. The study revealed that, although corrosion management has improved over the past several decades, the U.S. must find more and better ways to encourage, support, and implement optimal corrosion control practices.
The more recent IMPACT (International Measures of Prevention, Application, and Economics of Corrosion Technologies) study released by NACE in 2016 found that worldwide, the cost of corrosion is $2.5 trillion, and that replacing over one million miles (1.6 million km) of corroded water and wastewater pipelines would cost $2.1 trillion. It was reported that 35 to 50% of this cost could have been avoided through proper design, operation, and corrosion prevention.
Both public and private U.S. water and wastewater agencies have infrastructure assets ranging in value from millions to billions of dollars. Assets include dams, aqueducts, tunnels, transmission/collection pipelines, water and wastewater treatment plants, pumping plants, distribution pipelines and storage reservoirs. Many of these facilities are constructed with materials such as concrete, steel, cast iron, ductile iron, stainless steel, brass, copper and other materials subject to corrosion attack.
NACE International can help equip water or wastewater professionals to recognize and identify root causes of corrosion within their systems. By utilizing the proven principals, the professional can begin designing, operating and maintaining their assets with corrosion prevention and mitigation. Training, certification, standards, and publications enable them to make solid economic decisions and improve the sustainability of their asset inventory.