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copper- point source pollutant?

Discussion in 'Irrigation' started by irrig8r, Nov 9, 2007.

  1. irrig8r

    irrig8r LawnSite Platinum Member
    Messages: 4,553

    Did I get your attention?

    Late last year I read a report on a study trying to identify sources of copper in run-off into the San Francisco Bay. Copper pipes are named as a source. I was surprised to see copper roofs and raingutters also named in the report.

    Why is this a problem, you might ask? Apparently it's the effect on salmonids. It doesn't kill them, but impairs their immune systems, weakens their eggshells, and makes them more susceptible to stress.

    Around here that's salmon and steelhead.

    Here's the report:


    Here's more about specifics for reducing copper in wastewater:


    So, how does this effect us?

    Not sure yet, but it was interesting about clean cuts on the copper reducing turbulence, and using less flux.

    Obviously, irrigation water doesn't usually end up in the sewer. And most of the water we apply that comes from copper pipe ends up soaking into the soil and not running off into storm drains, right?

    And the plumbing and homebuilding industries probably won't be forced to switch to any other pipe because a viable alternative just isn't available.

    But I just thought I'd bring it up in case anyone else is running into this, especially in other sensitive watershed areas like, I dunno, maybe Chesapeake Bay.
  2. hoskm01

    hoskm01 LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 5,690

    Interesting... How does using less flex in soldering help?

    I wonder if roofs and gutters are worse because they deteriorate more in the sun than say a pipe underground or in a wall. Not that they crumble up like plastic, but the sun doesnt help any.
  3. Kiril

    Kiril LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 18,334

    What about PEX and CPVC?
  4. hoskm01

    hoskm01 LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 5,690

    Thats FLUX, you idiot.
  5. Wet_Boots

    Wet_Boots LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 50,592

    So we should tear down the Statue of Liberty because it's a pollution source? Suck it up, you by-the-bay boobs, and enjoy the benefits of copper.
    And don't take any zinc pennies :p
  6. CAPT Stream Rotar

    CAPT Stream Rotar LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 6,193

  7. Kiril

    Kiril LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 18,334

    Yes, but more because this country no longer represents what that statue symbolizes.

    Don't stop at the statue, tear the whole city down.
  8. irrig8r

    irrig8r LawnSite Platinum Member
    Messages: 4,553

    Well, I admit to being part tree hugger... comes natural up here.

    But I'm also a fisherman. And the anadromous salmonid popualtions up here have been assaulted.... by the guvmint' allowing more water for farmers than fish, by the threat of more drought and more water users each time we go through another cycle of drought...

    Bay water quality is a big deal. Now we have an oil spill to clean up too.

    Meanwhile water conservation isn't taken seriously enough. And outdoor use is more than 50% of the water use in the 'burbs.

    That's why I see water conservation education as one of my missions on the job.

    Frankly, I think that Silicon Valley industries are probably the biggest source of trace metals flowing into the bay. Just thought I'd bring it up to toss around.
  9. irrig8r

    irrig8r LawnSite Platinum Member
    Messages: 4,553

    Well, look at some on a pipe you or someone before you didn't wipe clean. It's corrosive. I suspect bad connections between galvanized and copper are equally bad. Good for getting those trace minerals in drinking water though, right?:p

    If you look at that PDF file they show a cross section of a corroded six y.o. cold water line. Ugly.
  10. irrig8r

    irrig8r LawnSite Platinum Member
    Messages: 4,553

    I don't know PEX... Plastics are probaly used more in tracts, but my customers are mostly custom homes in the foothills.

    There's also a big advertising push by plumbing outfits that do nothing more than repiping with copper in those homes that were built with galvanized pipe in the fifties and sixties.

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