When harmful microbes develop in Closed Water Systems serious Corrosion issues can occur.


The growth of microorganisms within water systems has the potential to cause extensive corrosion.  Left unchecked, this Microbiologically Influenced Corrosion (MIC) or bio-corrosion will result in serious and costly damage to infrastructure and long periods of outage for repair.

Free swimming aerobic (oxygen loving) bacteria have the ability to attach to pipework surfaces and form three-dimensional growths known as biofilms or slimes.  This growth creates an oxygen depleted environment under the biofilm next to the pipe surface, which leads to the growth of specific types of bacteria that produce by-products corrosive to metals.

Corrosive sulphide generation is considered to be the most common mechanism of MIC; however MIC may be caused by one or more of the following types of bacteria:

  • Sulphate Reducing Bacteria
  • Iron Oxidising / Reducing Bacteria
  • Sulphur Oxidising Bacteria
  • Acid Producing Bacteria

Industries or systems that are prone to microbial corrosion include:

  • Potable / Drinking Water Distribution Systems
  • Closed Water Heating Systems
  • Wastewater / Sewage Distribution and Treatment Facilities
  • Paper and Pulp Industries

The implementation of effective monitoring strategies to enable the early detection of MIC causative microorganisms is essential for the prevention of MIC and avoidance of costly damage.  The regular monitoring of water samples for the presence of microbial contamination will provide an early predictor that your infrastructure is at risk of MIC.

Through decades of unrivaled experience in combating MIC, ECHA is ideally placed to provide the products and technical knowledge you need.  The ECHA Sig Sulphide test kit enables the user to easily detect and enumerate Sulphide Generating Bacteria (SGB)/Sulphate Reducing Bacteria (SRB) in water.  Our Sig Nitrite test kit indicates the extent of contamination by Nitrite Reducing Bacteria (NRB) which can degrade corrosion inhibitors in water systems.

Should problems with corrosion be encountered, ECHA laboratory and consultancy services can help in determining if the observed corrosion is due to microbial activity.  Using industry standard methods e.g. NACE TM0-194, BSRIA BG29/12, EA Drinking Water – Part 12), problem microorganisms can be detected and enumerated.

ECHA can;

  • Conduct analysis of samples of water from your system or facility in our laboratory to assess the extent of microbiological contamination. Learn more about our lab analysis service here.
  • Provide on-site microbial Test Kits. ECHA’s Sig Sulphide for SRB and Sig Nitrite for NRB are test kits which can be used on-site or in the laboratory by non-microbiologists to assess risk of MIC. Learn more about the tests here.
  • Conduct surveys of water systems at your facility if you have a concern about microbiological contamination or MIC. Learn more about our Site Surveys here.
  • Provide advice on remediation, control, monitoring strategies and best practice. Learn more about our Consultancy Services here.
  • Offer comprehensive, tailored training courses on microbiological contamination of water including management of issues such as MIC. Learn more about our Training Courses here.