Closed Systems: The Hidden Threats

When it comes to water treatment, much attention is rightly given to the purification of water sources to ensure their safety for consumption. However, there’s another critical aspect that often goes unnoticed: the management of closed systems within water treatment infrastructure.

Closed systems, such as pipelines, boilers, cooling towers, and HVAC systems, play a vital role in industrial processes, commercial buildings, and even residential complexes. Yet, they harbour hidden threats in the form of corrosion, which, if left unchecked, can lead to significant consequences.

Corrosion in closed systems is a pervasive problem that can result from various factors, including water chemistry, temperature fluctuations, microbial activity, and material composition. These factors create an environment conducive to the degradation of materials, leading to leaks, equipment failure, decreased efficiency, and compromised safety.

Water Chemistry and Temperature Fluctuation

One of the primary culprits behind corrosion in closed systems is the water itself. Even treated water can contain dissolved oxygen, chlorides, sulfates, and other corrosive elements that can corrode metal surfaces over time. Additionally, fluctuations in pH levels and temperature further exacerbate corrosion rates, especially in systems where water stagnation occurs.

Microbial Activity

Microbial activity poses another significant threat to closed systems. Biofilms, formed by bacteria and other microorganisms, can develop on surfaces within pipelines and equipment, promoting corrosion through microbiologically influenced corrosion (MIC). These biofilms create localized microenvironments with altered chemistry, accelerating the deterioration of metal surfaces.

Material Selection

Material selection also plays a crucial role in mitigating corrosion risks. While materials like stainless steel offer excellent corrosion resistance, other metals such as carbon steel are more susceptible to corrosion, particularly in aggressive environments. Proper coating and lining systems can provide an additional layer of protection, extending the lifespan of equipment and infrastructure.

So, what can you do to address these hidden threats? The key lies in implementing robust corrosion monitoring and mitigation strategies:

Regular Inspection and Maintenance: Conducting routine visual inspections and preventive maintenance measures can help identify early signs of corrosion and address them before they escalate.

Water Quality Management: Monitoring and controlling water chemistry parameters such as pH, dissolved oxygen levels, and inhibitor concentrations can help mitigate corrosion risks.

Microbial Control: Implementing strategies to control microbial growth, such as biocide treatment and regular cleaning, can minimize the risk of microbiologically influenced corrosion.

Material Selection and Protective Coatings: Choosing corrosion-resistant materials and applying appropriate protective coatings can provide long-term protection against corrosion in closed systems.

Corrosion Monitoring Technologies: Utilizing advanced corrosion monitoring techniques, such as electrochemical sensors, ultrasonic testing, and remote monitoring systems, can provide real-time data to assess corrosion rates and inform maintenance decisions.


By proactively addressing the hidden threats of corrosion in closed systems, water treatment companies can ensure the reliability, safety, and longevity of critical infrastructure. Through a combination of preventive measures, ongoing monitoring, and strategic interventions, we can safeguard water treatment systems and the communities they serve against the damaging effects of corrosion.