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Summary

Water quality at cold and hot water faucets was characterized during 1 year in a highly instrumented residential home. More than 2.4 billion online monitoring records were collected for fixture flow and temperature and online water quality monitoring was conducted as water entered the building too. During the year, water samples at the home were collected for 58 days - before water entered the building and inside the building for cold and hot water. More than 222,000 labor hours were needed by 30 Purdue University and Michigan State University students, faculty, and staff to conduct this monitoring - not including data analysis and interpretation.

Key Findings:

  • Drinking water quality entering the building varied by season.
  • For 10.3% of the year's water sampling events, drinking water entering the building did not contain a detectable chlorine disinfectant residual.
  • Inside the building, water stagnation time varied seasonally and across fixtures. Water at the kitchen sink in the Summer had different characteristics than water in the Winter. For example, cold water at the bathroom sink had different characteristics than water at the kitchen sink.
  • Water pH also consistently and significantly increased in the plumbing from 7.5 to 9.4, and total trihalomethane (TTHM) levels increased up to 89%.
  • Drinking water organic carbon entering the building was consistent (0.5-0.6 mg/L), but much greater variability was found inside the building for cold (0.4-61.0 mg/L) and hot water (0.5-4.7 mg/L).
  • Models are needed to predict chemical water quality at the faucet using service line water quality results and plumbing design and operational information. Building water sensor technology innovations are also needed.

Summary

Six-month old galvanized iron pipes (GIPs) and downstream crosslinked polyethylene (PEX) pipes were exhumed from a residential home. Follow-up bench-scale experiments revealed that metal levels in the drinking water did not always predict metal loadings on plastic pipe surfaces. This study highlights potential downstream plastic pipe degradation and metal deposition, which may cause plumbing problems and failures for building owners, inhabitants, and water utilities.

Key Findings:

  • CuO, Cu(OH)2, FeOOH, Fe2O3, and MnO2 were found on exhumed PEX pipe surfaces.
  • Moderately aggressive water at 55 °C resulted the greatest metal loading on plastic surfaces.
  • PEX pipes exposed to hot water released more organic carbon than cold water.
  • PEX pipes connected to copper and brass had the greatest plastic surface oxidation.

Summary

Testing was conducted in a newly renovated single-family home for the first 4 months of use. The plumbing system was PEX type A pipe installed using trunk-and-branch design. More than 64 million data points were collected related to fixture water use and were analyzed. Drinking water sampling was conducted periodically at various locations in the home. Water was tested for both chemical, microbiological, and odor characteristics.

Key Findings:

  • During the study, the maximum fixture water stagnation time was 72 hours.
  • Hot water contained greater levels of bacteria and organic carbon than cold drinking water.
  • Chemical and bacteria levels varied across fixtures within the building.
  • Pb, Fe, and Zn exceeded EPA standards, but only at the least frequently used (and monitored) fixture in the basement.

Summary

Heavy metal abundance and scale morphology for cross‐linked polyethylene (PEX) plastic pipes and pipe oxidative condition were examined in a one‐year‐old residential plumbing system.

Key Findings:

  • Metals found on the plastic pipes (Al, Ca, Co, Cu, Pb, Mg, Mn, Ni, Se, Zn) were corrosion products from drinking water distribution and plumbing materials and were present in the source water.
  • Fe was the most abundant contaminant on pipes.
  • Plastic served as a nucleation site for Fe crystal growth and expedited crystal formation.
  • Plastic plumbing pipes can adsorb metals that have health and aesthetic drinking water limits, and additional work is needed to understand the conditions that affect metal accumulation and release.

External Public Reports by Others

Camp Fire Plumbing Testing Procedure (Version 3) Recommended by the State of California, August 2019
Camp Fire Plumbing Testing Procedure (Version 2) Recommended by the State of California, June 2019
State of California Short-Term Benzene Exposure Risk Assessment, April 2019
State of California Press Release Falsely Claiming Del Oro Water Company Never Had Contamination, March 2019
Camp Fire Drinking Water Odor Dissipation Study Conducted by the State of California, March 2019
State of California Unsafe Water Notification Guidance, April 2018