Modeling Lead in Municipal Water

Lead in Public Water

Earlier this year the mishandling of a public drinking water distribution system shocked and horrified the United States. Dangerous levels of lead quietly poisoned a suburban population after officials switched water sources, causing the leaching of lead into an aging yet safe water distribution system.

Consequences of the tragedy have included tens of millions in lawsuits – but worse – the poisoning of a population.

Lead and Copper Modeling

The ability to model lead corrosion, solubility and transport has been available in WatSIM – Municipal Modeling Software since 1994.

Using that technology, French Creek modeled publicly available water analysis from a recent crisis before and after switching water sources. Profiles cover entire pH and temperature range expected in distribution system.

Maximum Lead Solubility: Original Source Water

Plot showing maximum lead solubility of water analysis of the original water source, modeled using WatSIM software.

Maximum Lead Solubility: After Switching Water Source

Water analysis of the new water source showing higher levels of lead.

Other Critical Parameters

WatSIM models other critical parameters, including:

  • Calcium carbonate saturation
  • LSI
  • CCPP
  • Scale & corrosion inhibitor dosage suggestion

Users can also develop their own corrosion rate, and corrosion inhibitor optimum dosage rate models from operating or pilot data.

Corrosion Profile

Corrosion Inhibitor Dosage Profile

Corrosion Inhibitor Dosage Profile

Copper Solubility

WatSIM Software

With a water analysis, users can profile the maximum soluble lead and copper that can be carried through a distribution system. Profiles include the impact of carbonate species, orthophosphate, and polyphosphate on metal solubility.

More information available at:

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