Cost of Corrosion Control for Reclamation Penstocks and Gates

Project ID: 4724
Principal Investigator: Bobbi Jo Merten
Research Topic: Repair and Maintenance
Funded Fiscal Years: 2016, 2017 and 2018
Keywords: None

Research Question

Protective coatings are the first line of defense against corrosion of Reclamation structures. However, coating
maintenance is experiencing a trend of escalating construction costs and decreased coating lifecycles (shortened
service lifetimes). Construction costs are high due to the relative inaccessibility of Reclamation projects and work
hazards, such as confined spaces or lead-based paint abatement. Coating lifecycles are shortened as a result of
using more environmentally friendly coating systems. Cathodic protection can be used in conjunction with
coatings, and when applied correctly, will extend the service life of the coating. Below are some of the key
questions for this study:
What are the lifecyle costs of Reclamation's corrosion control systems for penstocks and gates?
What impact does cathodic protection have on lifecycle costs?
How might strategic coating maintenance--including spot repairs and overcoats--be used to maximize the
efficiency of allocated labor and budget?
What alternative options for reducing capital investment costs, minimizing environmental impact, or increasing
coating lifecycle are cost-competitive?

Need and Benefit

An updated and more comprehensive understanding of coating lifecycle costs is needed. The lifecycle for many
original Reclamation coatings systems far-exceeded 50 years of service with minimal maintenance. Meanwhile,
the currently specified coating systems have a service life nearer to 20-30 years. This disparity must be studied in
order to determine the most cost-effective coatings maintenance and corrosion control strategies in today's
market and regulatory environment. The potential cost-savings across the federal government agencies is
significant. For example, penstock recoating projects now typically exceed one million dollars per unit.

Contributing Partners

Contact the Principal Investigator for information about partners.

Research Products

Bureau of Reclamation Review

The following documents were reviewed by experts in fields relating to this project's study and findings. The results were determined to be achieved using valid means.

Cost of Corrosion Control for Reclamation Penstocks and Gates (final, PDF, 2.2MB)
By Bobbi Jo E. Merten, Todd Gaston, Jessica D. Torrey
Research Product completed on September 30, 2018

This research product summarizes the research results and potential application to Reclamation's mission.


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Last Updated: 4/4/17