CTSP Episode 174 - AWWA C210: Liquid/Epoxy Coatings and Linings for Steel Water Pipe and Fittings

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Brian Cheshire joins Paul Atzemis and Jack Walker to discuss AWWA C210. This standard covers liquid-epoxy coatings for steel water pipes and fittings. It is widely used in the water industry and has begun to be used for assets other than steel water pipes.


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Jack Walker: Welcome to another edition of the Carboline Tech Service Podcast. I'm Jack Walker. With me, as always, is the Director of Technical Service. That's Paul Atzemis. He's to my left or right, one of the two. Some time, I'll come up with a new joke. That is, if you're watching this thing.

Paul Atzemis: I am definitely to your right.

Jack: So, here's the thing though, I'm looking at the screen, and you're to my left when I'm looking at the screen, you know? This is my left hand, even though it's on the right. It's the whole mirror thing. Anyway, if you look down below, we got Brian Cheshire. He's with us. Hey Brian, how's it going?

Brian Cheshire: Hey, guys. Doing well.

Paul: Great to have you back with us again.

Brian: Yeah. Thank you for having me back. And after the last episode with the bad joke, it was kind of 50-50 if you were going to bring me back.

Paul: Yeah. For us too.

Jack: I have to say, I've been nervously awaiting this episode because after the YouTube version aired, Brian texted me and said, "Revenge is a dish best served cold." So, I feel like I got something coming my way because of a little Scrabble joke.

Drinking water infrastructure in the United States

Jack: But we wanted to have Brian on again like we always do, and we're going to talk about a standard that we haven't talked about yet, and that's the AWWA C210. So, Brian, quickly, why don't you tell us what that standard is for?

Brian: It's actually for steel water. And before we get into the standard, I thought it may be relevant to kind of talk about the drinking water infrastructure here in the US just to frame up the need for protective coatings. So, I know before we've talked about wastewater on the show here, and we've mentioned the American Society of Civil Engineers’ Infrastructure Report Card that they put out every few years. And we've talked about wastewater being a D+ as far as a grade level goes. But within that same report, they give the drinking water infrastructure a grade of a D, actually a little worse.

Jack: F+?

Brian: Kind of some interesting facts from this and also from some other reference guides, the US uses about 42 billion gallons of water a day. And drinking water is delivered via roughly 1 million miles of pipe across the US. And the thing with these water pipes is many of them were laid in the early to mid-1900s, and at the time, they were planning on a lifespan of about 75 to 100 years. So, do the math, and you can figure why we're falling behind here. But another staggering fact is every day, about 6 billion gallons of treated drinking water are lost due to leaking or aging pipes. And there's roughly 240,000 water main breaks a year.

Paul: I think they're all on my street, and all 6 billion gallons runs down the hill.

Brian: Definitely seen that in action. But the interesting thing is the AWWA estimates that $1 trillion is necessary to really maintain and expand service to meet demands over the next 25 years. So, it's definitely become a political thing, but it is definitely needed. And the thing is, it's kind of funny, when you look at our pipe infrastructure, it consists of a bunch of different substrates. There's actually wood pipe still in use here in the US.

Jack: Shut up.

Brian: I was on an industry webinar the other day, and they made the comment that wood pipe is actually used in parts of Washington D.C. They joked about it basically running under the Smithsonian when instead, it should be in the Smithsonian. But some of the other types of substrates that you see in our pipe infrastructure, you've got concrete, copper, cast iron, ductile iron. But the focus of today's conversation is on steel, which does comprise a good bit of our infrastructure.

Types of steel pipes in the water industry and typical coatings that meet this standard

Paul: As long as we've brought up the steel pipes, let's elaborate a little further on those. What kind of uses do we see with it, and where do we see steel pipes in the water system?

Brian: Yeah. So, you see it in a lot of different places, but anything from aqueducts, supply lines, transmission mains, penstocks, even piping when you get into the treatment plant, force mains, and then many more uses.

Paul: What kind of linings do we typically see in these?

Brian: So, oddly enough, one of the more commonly seen is cement mortar linings. Those have a widespread usage in steel water pipe. But also, you see protective coatings used quite a bit. They really act as a barrier between the substrate, and when you have buried pipelines, it's basically isolating that substrate from the surrounding soles, which can be a corrosive environment. And then you see coatings are used in tandem with cathodic protection systems, and actually, the two used together definitely increases service life.

Paul: Yeah. And we did talk a little bit about this when we talked about AWWA C222, we did way back, boy, that was what, about 30 episodes ago, right around Episode 144ish, maybe?

Jack: Yeah. Brian and I had a fight the other day whether or not he was actually on the episode. I swore he was, and he said, "No." It was just his idea. So, I feel like he probably knows where he was better than I do, but…

Brian: I don't know if it was, it wasn't memorable, at least…

Jack: We're not very memorable? Two fat guys with beards?

Minimum requirements for AWWA C210

Jack: So, now that we've talked a little bit about the steel pipe, I brought up AWWA C210, and that's the Liquid-Epoxy Coatings and Linings for Steel Water Pipe and Fittings. So, it's not just specifying steel, but it's actually specifying what type of coating as well.

Brian: Yeah, that's right. And I'll tell you before we kind of get into some of the testing and specifics, I do want to give the disclaimer that AWWA lays out. C210 is a standard, not a specification. So, these standards really lay out the minimum requirements. But there's a lot of other elements that you would see in a specification that really aren't going to be touched on in the scope of this document. So, I do want to point that out. And then, really, the scope of the standard. It covers the use of liquid epoxy coatings for exterior coatings and interior linings of steel water pipe. And the interesting thing is the first edition of this standard was really more specific to coal tar epoxies. And now it really speaks more to two-part chemically cured epoxies. And then, within that, they actually list many different types of curing agents.

Application of coatings per AWWA C210

Brian: But some of the other things within the scope of the standard, it covers both shop and field-applied liquid epoxy coatings and linings. And generally, this is going to be for the steel water pipelines that are installed either underground or underwater. But there's several things covered from there. When you talk about the actual coating, anything from the application, which is going to include the cleaning, surface prep, miscellaneous items like how to address holdbacks for field welds. And then from there, it's going to talk about inspection, some of the testing, some of the performance requirements, and then even packaging and storage requirements

Jack: For sure. And then when we look at that, it also covers application as well, right?

Brian: Yeah, most definitely.

The constructor, the manufacturer, and the purchaser

Brian: There's a few definitions within the standard I thought it was kind of pertinent to point out. It speaks to the constructor, the manufacturer, and the purchaser. So, basically, the constructor in the scope of this is really going to speak more to the pipe fabricator, The manufacturer, in this case, will speak more to our world, to the coating supplier. And then the purchaser is going to be the owner or the end customer.

The growth of AWWA C210 and use in AWWA D102

Jack: Sure. And so, one of the things that you look at this and then we kind of, I’m going to kind of sidebar here for just a second, is we were having this conversation the other day that this specification's importance has actually kind of grown in the industry because they don't use it solely just for steel water pipe. We’ve started to see it pop up as a requirement in other standards like the AWWA D102.

Brian: Yeah, you're right. It does reference it in that standard, which is speaking to steel water tanks.

Paul: Yeah. And I think one of the reasons that it gets referenced in the other standards is because this one does have a set of testing requirements in the C210 that it kind of lays out and says, "Here's what you need to do." Do you want touch on those a little bit for us, Brian?

Testing requirements for coatings per AWWA C210

Brian: Yeah. Sure thing, Paul. So, first and foremost because remember, this is for steel water pipe. First and foremost, the lining system has to be certified to NSF 61, and we've talked numerous times on this show about the impending standard from NSF, NSF 600, which is going to be rolling out on January 1st, 2023. It's safe to say that moving forward, you're going to have to meet NSF 61 and NSF 600. But as far as on our side, getting one of our products pre-qualified in order to be able to say we meet the requirements of C210, there's some specific testing that we have to pass, one of which is immersion testing for 30 days. And you're testing in deionized water, 1% sulfuric acid, 1% sodium hydroxide. And you're basically having to exhibit no blistering, peeling, or disbondment after being exposed to those. And then cathodic disbondment testing through ASTM G8, there's a maximum allowable level there. You know, this is important because, as I mentioned earlier, cathodic protection systems are often utilized on these buried pipelines. And then lastly, when you talk about the prequalification, dielectric strength through ASTM D149, and this is really an indicator of how good an insulator the coating or material is.

Jack: For sure. And those last two that we talked about, that cathodic despondent and a dielectric strength are both kind of what makes this standard a little challenging for coatings. Those are some rigorous tests, and the ability to pass those is very important for this standard. And it's really kind of what separates it from the other immersion standards in this arena.

Paul: Having these pre-qualifications that you have to do, the system really exhibits its maximum protection because in a lot of cases, you've got 20, 40, 60, sometimes 80-foot-long sticks of pipe, and it's hard to do inspections through that whole thing. Lighting is bad. Sometimes you have small diameter pipes, and it's really important to be able to make sure that the coating system can tolerate any imperfections that may happen during the installation process or as it's being installed into the system. Having a good system is how you try to get the maximum life out of these because nobody wants to have their front yard dug up again. Nobody wants to have a newly paved street that now they have to dig up because the water pipe broke. I almost think that that's a cause-and-effect thing. They repaved the street because the water company wanted to redo all the pipes because that’s surely what happens every time the street gets paved.

Quality control measures per AWWA C210

Jack: And then lastly, with this standard, Brian, there's some quality control measures that come with the epoxy coating. Do you want to touch on that quickly?

Brian: Yeah, sure. So, the first thing is you're wanting to check the appearance. So, this will be a visible inspection. You're really looking for any blisters, cracks, bubbles, any other visible defects there. One of the things since we're dealing with catalyzed materials, we do want to test for cure. And that's typically a solvent rub test there. And this will typically kind of go in accordance with the manufacturer's recommendations because different products obviously have different cure times. One of the things that's kind of important to point out is the dry film thickness. So, they specify minimum of 16 mils. But they kind of leave the maximum basically to either the manufacturer or even the purchaser or the owner – the person that's going to be owning this asset once it gets out into the field. But there's situations. Maybe you have high velocities. Maybe you have some abrasive elements where you need greater film build. Like I said, the top end is somewhat open-ended, but the minimum is 16 mils.

Paul: And you're going to frequently see that top specified by your NSF ANSI 61 standard, because that does typically specify what the maximum range is for something. So, that's something you have to keep in mind. It's coating specific, not necessarily to the spec because the standard only says the minimum. So, then go back to your ANSI NSF testing to find out what the maximum is.

Brian: Paul, that's a great point. But yeah, I would say really the last two quality control requirements that we see in the standard, holiday testing per NACE SP0188, and then adhesion, we're doing pull off adhesion and they're requiring a level of 800 PSI or greater.

Jack: Yeah. And for most of these pipeline coatings, that 800 PSI really isn't much at all. That's a really easy-to-achieve number.

Real-world example that would benefit from AWWA C210 approved coatings

Jack: Now, what I really want to do before we close this up because we're getting close to time, is I kind of want to talk about a real-life scenario that everybody knows about. I don't want to get political, but part of me kind of feels like that if in Flint, Michigan, they had a few of these AWWA C210 coatings on their pipe, they wouldn't be in the situation that they're in today. And they're still in it today, and that's the political part. We don't have to go there. But if you're a city engineer and you're looking at that and you're going, "Oh my God. I don't want that to be me." These kind of coatings are exactly what prevent that whole disaster from happening.

Paul: Yes, that's right. There are standards that can help you work through this. There's departments. You can call into the Carboline Tech Service department. We can help narrow down some of these. We talked about this in last week's episode that we can help go through it to make sure that you've got the right coatings in for the scenario. And sometimes the right recommendation is a different option, and we'll be sure to let you know that too. We want it to be right because I mean, let's face it, especially when we're talking about the drinking water system, I'm drinking it, my family's drinking it, my friends are drinking it, I want to make sure that it's safe for everybody. And that's what's really the most important thing, and that's what we're all trying to do, is we just want to make sure that it's good, safe, and healthy for everyone.

Wrap up

Jack: Absolutely. But I think just kind of to wrap it all, we have AWWA C210 that's Liquid-Epoxy Coatings and Linings for Steel Water Pipe and Fittings. Now don't let that keep you shortsighted, there. It is being expanded on. AWWA D102, which is the main specifying standard that they use for steel tanks for potable water is now starting to include the C210 as a part of it. The thing that differentiates the C210 is the different strenuous testing that the coatings have to go through in conjunction with NSF 61, ANSI 61, those standards. So, there's a lot of testing that goes in to verify whether or not a coating meets the standard, and that makes it a really good standard, in my opinion. But Brian, thank you very much for coming on, as always.

Brian: Thank you guys for having me.

Paul: Thanks, Brian.

Jack: I guess I get to still wait for that revenge.

Brian: Yeah. It'll sneak up on you. So, just wait.

Jack: I guess we'll just have to see if I can superimpose a mustache on him just to start it. But anyway, for Paul, I'm Jack and we'll see you guys next week.

Paul: And so, for the Carboline Tech Service Podcast, I'm Paul.

Jack: And I'm Jack. And…

Jack & Paul: We'd like to thank you for your support.