Corrosion mitigation by nitrite spray on corroded concrete in a real sewer system

Publication Name

Science of the Total Environment


Microbially influenced concrete corrosion (MICC) in sewers is caused by the activity of sulfide-oxidizing microorganisms (SOMs) on concrete surfaces, which greatly deteriorates the integrity of sewers. Surface treatment of corroded concrete by spraying chemicals is a low-cost and non-intrusive strategy. This study systematically evaluated the spray of nitrite solution in corrosion mitigation and re-establishment in a real sewer manhole. Two types of concrete were exposed at three heights within the sewer manhole for 21 months. Nitrite spray was applied at the 6th month for half of the coupons which had developed active corrosion. The corrosion development was monitored by measuring the surface pH, corrosion product composition, sulfide uptake rate, concrete corrosion loss, and the microbial community on the corrosion layer. Free nitrous acid (FNA, i.e. HNO2), formed by spraying a nitrite solution on acidic corrosion surfaces, was shown to inhibit the activity of SOMs. The nitrite spray reduced the corrosion loss of concrete at all heights by 40–90% for six months. The sulfide uptake rate of sprayed coupons was also reduced by about 35%, leading to 1–2 units higher surface pH, comparing to the control coupons. The microbial community analysis revealed a reduced abundance of SOMs on nitrite sprayed coupons. The long-term monitoring also showed that the corrosion mitigation effect became negligible in 15 months after the spray. The results consistently demonstrated the effectiveness of nitrite spray on the MICC mitigation and identified the re-application frequencies for full scale applications.

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Funding Sponsor

Australian Research Council



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