Life itself cannot exist without water, and the quality of water to which we have access determines, to a great extent, the quality of life it is able to support.
The chemistry of all water is, in turn, determined by the impact of specific external factors within its environment. Water that runs through or sits inside a corrugated steel pipe will most often be the primary factor in determining the extent of the pipes actual service life. Moreover, what is present in the water and, in some cases, what is absent, generally yields the most dramatic measureable effects. Although external forces, such as the abrasive action of sharp bed loads travelling at high velocity can be a factor, water chemistry remains the most critical determinant. Fortunately, it is also the most predictable.
Water chemistry is directly affected by many environmental phenomena, including atmosphere-born pollutants, toxic effluents and soil composition. Pollutants in the atmosphere tend to reduce the pH level of rain and snow, thereby increasing the acidity of surface water. And, depending on where this rain falls and flows, water chemistry may also change due to such things as road salt, as well as the mineral content of any soil with which it comes in contact.
CSPI Technical Bulletin 1 along with The Soil/Acid Rain Map provide excellent resources for predicting water chemistry and, therefore, service life in a specific geographic area or location. Areas designated as red, yellow, or green will provide a designer with clear answers regarding Best Practices in selecting the most appropriate steel coating to maximize performance.
Within every region of Canada, there are culvert installations and test sites that dramatically demonstrate the merits of using a particular steel type to match the local environment. Seeing Is Believing is intended to showcase these proven installations and validate the specific protection – and, hence, increased longevity – offered by specialized coating variants. We will continue to add sites to Seeing is Believing Map as more information is gathered, so stay tuned. In the meantime, after you view the map online, we encourage you to get out and view the sites in your area. Because seeing really is believing!