Red Water Discussed At Pineland Grange

Last meeting Pineland Grange discussed red water.  The red water discussion was intended for public education, not for use in water management.
Water comes from the ground.  Ground water in South Carolina comes from eight major basins.  The major basin in this area is the Pee Dee Water Basin. Within the Pee Dee Basin there are five watersheds.  The watershed local to Latta (and most of Dillon County) is the Great Pee Dee Watershed.
Water travels from the ground into the distribution system.  Distribution systems most common problem, according to the American Waterworks Association, is rusting pipes.  Rusting pipes is a complex problem because what may be critical in one system may be minor in another.  Pipe rust may form as: a protective scale, a tubercule which clogs pipes,  or red water.
Red water tends to form quickly in an excess of dissolved oxygen. Excess oxygen causes minerals like goethite or hematite to form which dissolve into the water turning it red.  When oxygen is limited minerals like siderite may form protective scales slowing rust. Excess oxygen is not the only factor influencing rusting speed. Rusting speeds with disinfectant use, unless the rusting is biological, then disinfectants slow rusting. In general, new iron pipe rusts quickly until a protective scale is built up. When and how the scale is built up depends largely how the water is managed.  Rust is less likely to form during colder months. Rusting is sped by dissolved copper. Rusting is also sped by dissolved carbon dioxide. In conclusion, the point was made that rust in the water is a complex issue. A basic understanding of the underlying science is part of the issue.     

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