What's Bugging Your Pipes:
How Microorganisms Affect Plumbing Systems

by Abigail Cantor (chemical engineer and water quality specialist) and
Rob Spence (mechanical engineer and plumbing specialist)

Purchasing information.

To Plumbing and Building Contractors: There are many new plumbing systems with discolored water, high lead and copper concentrations in the water, holes in copper pipes, and quickly corroding hot water tank anode rods. This mostly occurs from modern plumbing designs that unintentionally promote the growth of microorganisms. This booklet is for you so that these issues will be understood and taken care of properly. Help prevent the future from being filled with ruined plumbing systems, angry property owners and liability lawsuits.

To Municipal Water Utility Managers: The future revision of the Lead and Copper Rule, with a new focus on copper, will probably result in the water utility carrying the blame for the high copper situation in many new plumbing systems. This booklet will explain how you can make sure and document that the municipal water system is not part of the problem. Don't get blamed for ruined plumbing systems!

This booklet is a resource on microbiologically influenced corrosion as it occurs in plumbing systems of buildings. The book covers understanding, prevention, and remediation of the resultant water quality and pipe integrity problems.

Chapter 1: Introduction to Microbiologically Influenced Corrosion; Biofilm Photo Gallery
Chapter 2: Typical Locations of Microbiological Activity in Plumbing Systems
Chapter 3: On-Site Water Treatment System Design to Minimize Microbiological Activity
Chapter 4: Plumbing System Design to Minimize Microbiological Activity
Chapter 5: Fighting Microbiological Activity and Biofilms
Chapter 6: Routine Monitoring of Water Quality
Chapter 7: Responsibilities in Preventing Microbiological Growth in Plumbing Systems

Microorganisms are most likely to blame if your plumbing system has:
  • Discolored water
  • High copper, lead or iron concentrations in the water, or
  • Holes in pipe walls
The problems many times are seen on newly constructed buildings when they are first occupied. Methods to identify the problems and control them are discussed. Plumbing system design is addressed to prevent the problems from occurring in the first place.

The booklet is written for:
  • Plumbing Contractors
  • Building Contractors
  • Insurance Companies
  • Developers
  • Real Estate Agents
  • Municipal and Private Water System Managers
  • Property Owners
It is a resource on microbiologically influenced corrosion for its understanding, prevention and remediation of the problems that are “bugging” your pipes.