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Several hundred leaks were reported in the type 304 stainless steel pipelines, vessels, and tanks of a chemical plant at a tropical location within a few weeks after startup. Investigation of the failure involved a site visit, metallographic examination and analysis of the material, analysis of hydrotest waters, and microbiological examination of slime that had formed in certain pipework sections. It was determined that the failure resulted from microbially induced corrosion promoted by the use of poor-quality hydrotest water and uncontrolled hydrotesting practice. Use of appropriate hydrotesting procedures was recommended to prevent similar failures.

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