American Society of Civil Engineers


Biodeterioration of Concrete Sewer Pipes: State of the Art and Research Needs


by Emilie Hudon, (corresponding author), (Ph.D. Candidate, McGill Univ., Dept. of Civil Engineering, Room 492, Macdonald Engineering Building, 817 Sherbrooke Street West, Montreal, Quebec, H3A 2K6, Canada E-mail: emilie.hudon@mail.mcgill.ca), Saeed Mirza, M.ASCE, (Professor Emeritus, McGill Univ., Dept. of Civil Engineering, Room 492, Macdonald Engineering Building, 817 Sherbrooke Street West, Montreal, Quebec, H3A 2K6, Canada.), and Dominic Frigon, (Assistant Professor, McGill Univ., Dept. of Civil Engineering, Room 492, Macdonald Engineering Building, 817 Sherbrooke Street West, Montreal, Quebec, H3A 2K6, Canada.)

Journal of Pipeline Systems Engineering and Practice, Vol. 2, No. 2, May 2011, pp. 42-52, (doi:  http://dx.doi.org/10.1061/(ASCE)PS.1949-1204.0000072)

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Document type: Journal Paper
Abstract: Biodeterioration of concrete sewers is a common problem that results in concrete disintegration and significant damage. Two stages are normally identifiable in the process: an initiation stage, during which the concrete pore water pH is reduced from an initial value of over 12 to a value of about 9 by ingress of hydrogen sulfide gas and carbon dioxide (carbonation) and subsequent reaction with the hydrated cement paste; and a second stage, active biodeterioration, during which microorganisms excrete sulfuric acid that attacks the hydrated cement paste (HCP). Various national codes and standards provide some guidance to mitigate this problem. Sulfur-oxidizing microorganisms growing on the sewer walls have been isolated as the main culprit, but other phenomena come into play before biodeterioration occurs. Steady-state biodeterioration rates of 3 mm/ year have been proposed in the literature. A detailed literature review was conducted to evaluate the various aspects of concrete biodeterioration and determine further research needs. This state-of-the-art report summarizes the deterioration mechanisms involved in biodeterioration of concrete sewers and the work necessary to complete the modeling of this phenomenon. A conceptual model of the processes is presented.


ASCE Subject Headings:
Biological processes
Concrete pipes
Gravity sewers
Sulfides
Carbonation
Deterioration
Turbulent flow
Research

Author Keywords:
Biodegradation
Concrete
Gravity sewers
Carbonation
Deterioration mechanisms
Sulfides
Turbulent flow