Folmar™ Pipe Protection is a silicate-based corrosion and scale inhibitor for drinking water systems. It has extensive use history in Europe and other places dating back to 1984. Folmar™ Pipe Protection is non-toxic, biologically inert, mineral-based, and replaces phosphates. It can be added to the water anywhere in the system with full downstream effect. Folmar™ Pipe Protection is effective on all metal surfaces, including residential plumbing and appliances, and additionally protects concrete surfaces of liners, clearwells, and other reservoirs. Folmar™ Pipe Protection also mitigates problems associated with the cessation of phosphate dosing by stabilizing and improving the mechanical protection layer. It also chelates iron and manganese introduced by the source water. Folmar™ Pipe Protection exhibits inhibition of both anodic and cathodic reaction sites.
Folmar™ Pipe Protection is dosed in-line using a peristaltic or similar dosing pump. Typical product usage: 5 ppm. Depending on water quality parameters, Folmar™ Pipe Protection is available as a phosphate-free product. For some systems, versions with up to 10% phosphate are recommended.
Like many cities across Europe and the United States, the city of Marktheidenfeld, Germany saw significant growth in their water infrastructure throughout the middle of the 20th Century. From 1930 to the end of the 1950’s, Marktheidenfeld invested in over 250 miles of water distribution pipe made from unlined cast-iron and steel. Unfortunately, it was later discovered that pipes made from unlined cast-iron and steel corrode over time. The resulting serious decline in water quality for the city was largely due to the extensive need for unhealthy amounts of disinfectants and their byproducts.
Seeking a new solution to their corroded pipes and disinfectant use that would not require an entire rebuild of their city’s piping system, Marktheidenfeld turned to Folmar™ Pipe Protection technology. The city agreed to a three-year study of the Folmar™ Pipe Protection technology, with three goals in mind: maintaining the disinfectant residual levels with reduced disinfectant consumption, improving the distribution system resilience, and better water quality for the city.
Folmar™ Pipe Protection is a proprietary, silicate-based mineral solution that prevents corrosion, scale, metal leaching, and the formation of Disinfectant By-Products (DBPs) throughout all levels of water infrastructure. The Folmar™ Pipe Protection formulation creates an ultra-thin, super-hard “glass” layer on the interior of the pipe wall, which separates the metal or cement piping from the water. In addition to preventing corrosion and contamination, Folmar™ Pipe Protection fills and seals small cracks & crevices, maintaining the integrity of the piping system while eliminating friction in the water delivery process.
The unlined cast-iron and steel pipes comprised about 80% percent of the 255 miles of water pipelines in Marktheidenfeld. The remaining pipelines were ductile iron, PVC, and asbestos cement. The large number of unlined cast-iron and steel pipes created significant disinfectant demand in the distribution system. As a result of the corroding pipes, customers complained about an objectionable taste, odor, color, and particles in their water. Folmar™ Pipe Protection would mitigate these outcomes by creating a new, protective seal around the inside of Marktheidenfeld’s piping system.
To evaluate the effectiveness of the Folmar™ Pipe Protection technology, an isolated area of 2 square kilometers was selected to study the effects of the product. This area was chosen because it was representative of the rest of the distribution system, with a similar composition of piping materials and relative water flow. The water used in the study was drawn from five groundwater wells and was treated with Folmar™ Pipe Protection at each source. The only other treatment was disinfection by free chlorine at 0.1 to 0.3 ppm.
After chlorine dosing, the Folmar™ Pipe Protection solution was added to each water source plant’s effluent line at an initial rate of 10 g/m3. To evaluate changes in water quality, a number of parameters were measured regularly at five primary distribution system locations, each representing one of the plants. The same parameters were also monitored at each of the groundwater wells and 25 other locations within the water distribution system.
At each of the distribution system monitoring sites, Folmar™ Pipe Protection was measured weekly and microbiological tests were monitored monthly, to determine bacterial activity. Background data were collected three weeks prior to the startup of the pilot study at four of the five primary distribution system locations.
After 36 months of studying the effect of the Folmar™ Pipe Protection, the Marktheidenfeld water system produced very encouraging results. Flushing volume dropped by 98% after the solution was put into use. Additionally, customer complaints to the water management companies dropped by 98%. Chlorine dosing rates dropped by 40% in addition to an 85% drop in microbiological levels.
Over the three-year study period, the results showed substantial improvement in water quality for Marktheidenfeld as evidenced in the improvement of all measured parameters. Customer complaints dropped, microbiological levels improved, demand for disinfectants was lowered, less corrosion was observed, less biofilm accumulated, the water was odorless and colorless, flushing was nearly eliminated, and overall water quality significantly improved.
Additionally, reduced friction systemwide resulted in energy cost savings for Marktheidenfeld.