Lead-lined Galvanized Pipe -- A Lurking Danger for Homeowners and Utilities

In much of the eastern part of the US, particularly in New England, the galvanized iron used for service lines was often lead-lined. For all intents, these behave like lead pipes. They form lead-based corrosion scales and they yield dissolved and particulate lead in the same ways that pure lead pipes do. Hence they constitute a hidden peril for the unsuspecting homeowner.

George W Harrington obtained a patent in 1892 for his invention of lead and tin lined iron pipe. He founded the “Lead Lined Iron Pipe” Company, which began operations in Wakefield MA in 1893. Thomas Dwyer joined the company soon after and became head of marketing and then general manager. He vigorously and succesfully promoted the company's products.¬†Their marketing stressed the usefulness of their pipes for water service branches; the plant was producing 4 million feet per year by 1904. From articles in the trade press, it is known that service lines with this construction were installed in over 200 municipalities as of 1904. Specifically mentioned are the following distribution systems:

Installations of lead-lined galvanized services
State Town       Source
MA Lowell Lynn Lawrence Quincy F&WE
MA Cambridge Springfield     US EPA
MA          
MD Baltimore       F&WE
NY NYC Utica     F&WE
NJ Atlantic City Totowah (Patterson)     F&WE; LNP
OH Columbus E. Liverpool     F&WE; LNP
PA Scranton Indiana Reading   LNP
RI Pawtuckett       F&WE
           
NH Manchester       F&WE
Lead-lined pipes not permitted or not used
DC Washington       LNP
NJ Patterson       LNP
F&WE = Fire and Water Engineering; LNP = Local newspaper, USEPA = Water Supply & Water Resources Division

In addition, the Massachusetts Board of Health in 1905 became concerned about lead poisoning from service lines and conducted a survey of types of service lines in each town. Seventeen reported significant numbers of lead-lined services.

1905 Annual Report Mass State Board of Health
Inventory of service lines in state (p.197-205)
Number of lead-lined iron services
Andover 316   N. Attleborough 220
Beverly 172   Reading¬† 724
Easton 300   Revere 150
Lawrence 962   Somerville 2000
Lynn 1600   Stoneham 800
Marlborough 200   Wakefield 170
Maynard 100   Worcester 1800
Milbury 245   Woburn 200
N. Andover 150      

Eau Claire WI has also reported having numerous lead-lined galvanized service branches:

https://www.weau.com/content/news/City-offering-more-money-to-replace-lead-lined-pipes-486895491.html

 

Some examples of advertising images by the Lead Lined Iron Pipe Co. Click on an image for a larger version.

 
     

These pipes accumulate lead-rich corrosion scales in much the same way as pure lead pipes. Below are averages of analyses of a set of scales from lead and lead-lined service lines from utilities in the northeastern US

Group 1: Major Constituents, %

Type

Layer

Pb

Fe

Al

Ca

Cu

Zn

P

Mn

Lead

L1

33.3

4.56

2.88

0.60

0.09

0.29

0.60

0.03

Lead

L2

44.0

0.99

0.92

0.33

0.02

0.12

0.36

0.02

Lead-lined

L1

31.2

9.48

2.36

0.58

0.06

0.63

0.57

0.10

Lead-lined

L2

42.1

2.27

1.10

0.40

0.03

0.35

0.58

0.03

; L1 = surface layer; L2 = bottom layer, closest to pipe

 

Group 2: Minor constituents, mg/kg

Type

Layer

As

Ba

Bi

Cd

Co

Cr

Ni

Sb

Sn

Sr

V

Lead

L1

60

135

208

1.3

2.9

57

26

15

44

38

1280

Lead

L2

19

61

169

0.9

0.6

37

10

25

27

21

999

Lead-lined

L1

39

144

179

48

7.9

246

92

13

126

39

1310

Lead-lined

L2

29

72

126

82

1.8

93

8

15

131

21

2060

Values in bold are significantly higher in samples from galvanized than from lead only service lines