What is Orthophosphate? How does it help Lead Pipes?

Lead Pipe Corrosion & Orthophosphate

What causes lead pipe corrosion? Lead can enter drinking water when plumbing materials that contain lead corrode, especially where the water has high acidity or low mineral content that corrodes pipes and fixtures. The most common sources of lead in drinking water are lead pipes, faucets, and fixtures.

What methods are there for preventing the leaching of lead in pipes? To prevent lead from leaching, many cities add negatively charged compounds called phosphates to their water source.

What is orthophosphate? According to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, “it’s an important corrosion control method to protect pipes from transferring lead to drinking water – and only coats pipes with proper flushing.”

  1. Corrosion control chemicals such as phosphoric acid are added to the water supply at the treatment facility.
  2. A chemical reaction occurs, bonding orthophosphates to the lead.
  3. This bond forms a coating inside lead plumbing pipes & fixtures.
  4. This coating reduces lead levels from the drinking water.

Is orthophosphate harmful? The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) recognizes orthophosphate as an effective additive in water in reducing lead levels. It is also recognized as safe by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration


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