Analysis of Pitting and MIC of Stainless Steel Piping
Type 316L (UNS S31603) austenitic stainless steel piping was installed as part of a storm-sewer treatment collection system in a manufacturing facility. Within six months of start-up, leaks were discovered. Investigation (on-site current flow testing, visual inspection, water tests, and 5x/10x images etched in ASTM 89 reagent) supported the conclusion that the pitting in the austenitic stainless steel pipe was believed to be caused by damage to the passive layer brought about by a combination of MIC, high chloride levels, and high total dissolved solids. The low-flow and stagnant conditions present in the piping were primary contributors to the pit progression. Recommendations included replacing the pipe. Several alloys, nonmetallic materials, and lining materials were proposed for coupon testing to determine which would operate best in an environment with high levels of aerobic bacteria.