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Firewater Sprinkler


sprinklerFIREWATER SPRINKLER CORROSION has become a major concern in recent years. The causes are a diverse mixture of water chemistry, materials of construction, and microbiological attack. The expense of the damage to property in the area of system leaks plus the potential for sprinkler failure in an actual fire has raised the need for identifying and preventing this phenomenon. In many cases existing systems must be cleaned of foulants before effective treatment can be applied.

Whereas the causes for these failures have been present for many years, the increasing number is the result of a combination of factors, which have occurred in just the past two decades:

  1. Firewater sprinkler protection is now mandatory in most commercial buildings and also in a growing number of residential communities. The MGM Grand fire on November 19, 1980 in Las Vegas, Nevada killed 84 and injured 650. Installing sprinklers in the casino could have prevented it, but the owners balked at the $192,000 cost. They eventually paid out $223 million to settle the lawsuits.
  2. Many older sprinkler systems were installed using Schedule 40 or even Schedule 80 steel piping. As contractors have sought to reduce weight and costs, they have moved toward piping as thin as Schedule 5. It does not take very long for any corrosive water to penetrate that level of thickness.
  3. Due to the environmental hazards associated with dissolving lead and copper in potable water systems, many municipal water treatment plants have increased the alkalinity and pH of the water they supply. Chlorine loses 80% of its effectiveness at a pH of 8.0 and 95% at a pH of 9.0. This has caused many cities to turn to chloramines as disinfectants. They are much less effective against many forms of bacteria than is gas chlorine.
The majority of sprinkler systems in this country are not being treated for firewater sprinkler corrosion, or are even being tested. Most building owners are never aware that a problem exists until a leak occurs. Unfortunately, by that time the options are greatly reduced. When a system has had a leak, inspection will frequently show that the entire piping has seriously deteriorated. Existing corrosion deposits and biological firewater sprinkler MIC must be removed before effective treatment can be applied. This is no easy task. Cleaning can involve considerable money and time, along with shutting down a portion of the facility during the cleaning operation. The owner often has to make the ugly decision of whether to attempt a thorough cleaning or whether to replace the system. Ceilings and walls must often be removed along with other existing piping and wiring to get to the old sprinkler system. Unfortunately, a lot of these systems cannot undergo remediation and have to be replaced.

On the positive side, SurTech Corporation, along with its nationwide distributors, offers a wide range of inspection, testing, and chemical services to whom building owners and sprinkler contractors can turn for help. SurTech is a full-service company, offering the following:

  1. Laboratory testing and metallurgical services
  2. Consulting services
  3. Inspection services
  4. Chemical feed equipment
  5. Biocides for firewater sprinkler MIC
  6. Corrosion Inhibitors
  7. Test kits for firewater sprinkler corrosion and firewater sprinkler MIC
Contact SurTech today at sales@surtechcorp.com.
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