Pit Happens 1.jpg

Copper Corrosion Problem in Household Plumbing: A Case Study


Beginning in March 2001, the City of Kearney, Missouri, began receiving reports of leaks in
household plumbing. Over succeeding months, owners of at least sixteen homes reported the
development of pinhole leaks in copper piping. The majority of the homes affected were in a

localized subdivision where homes were on the order of 10 to 14 years old.


A common feature of the reported leaks was that they occurred almost exclusively in the copper

lines used in recirculating hot water systems. Cold water lines were generally not affected,

although one homeowner reported the need to also replace cold water lines.

 

Damage to those homes experiencing leakage was significant owing to the pinpoint spray in

spaces hidden by drywall or ceiling.

 

Questions were raised about the nature of the pipe failures, the plumbing methods used, and

the quality of the copper pipe used. Questions were also raised about the quality of the water

delivered by the City of Kearney. Was it corrosive to copper and, if so, what remedial steps

could be taken to reduce the rate of corrosion in the future?

 

The engineering report is available in the two attached pdfs: