Zap the Lead Problem: Cost-effective and Immediate Electrochemical Pipe Scale Accelerator

Zap the Lead Problem: Cost-effective and Immediate Electrochemical Pipe Scale Accelerator

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Author(s): Justin Juwan Yu

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DOI: 10.18483/ijSci.2682 20 62 1-8 Volume 12 - Jun 2023


The Electrochemical Pipe Scale Accelerator (EPSA) rapidly reduces lead (Pb) concentration in water by up to 99% by electroplating an insoluble and non-conductive lead phosphate or aluminum oxide scale. Twenty-Two million Americans, 120 million Europeans, and 500,000 Canadian households are at risk of lead-contaminated water. Unfortunately, traditional scale passivation can take up to years to form and deteriorate under a chemical change in water (Flint, Michigan, 2014). Replacing pipes can be expensive, costing $250/foot, and the U.S. government up to 47 billion dollars to replace all pipes. The objective was to engineer a low-cost and rapid device that could reduce Pb concentration below the “Lead and Copper rule." Furthermore, the relationship between varying PO_4 concentrations and Pb concentration, Al, concentration, and electricity variables were studied under a chemical change in water. The EPSA consisted of an integrated multimeter, a pre-existing Pb scale anode, an Al cathode wire, and a 1v battery. A 40cm Pb pipe was cut into four pieces, with PO_4 concentration 118-29 mg/L. An 8ml water sample was tested for four weeks using an ICP-OES and pH kit to study Pb leaching. The EPSA reduced Pb concentration by up to 99.14289 % with a concentration of 58 mg/L, taking just under 3 hours. The total cost of the EPSA is 111 times more affordable ($250 vs. $2.25 per foot), providing an affordable solution for low-income residents and immediate protection for vulnerable water systems.


Chemistry, Water, Electrolysis, Lead pipe, Passivation


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International Journal of Sciences is Open Access Journal.
This article is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International (CC BY 4.0) License.
Author(s) retain the copyrights of this article, though, publication rights are with Alkhaer Publications.

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