W&A was retained to evaluate damage to piping integral to the chiller system for a building"s air conditioning. The Insured specialized in water treatment services, which included treating processed water with chemicals and inhibitor to control and mitigate the effects of corrosion, scaling, fouling, and microbiological contamination. Leaks had developed in this system's condenser loop piping, and the building owner claimed that the subject piping failed due to corrosion caused by improper water chemistry. Consequently, the Insured was held partly responsible for the reported damage.
Following our initial assessment, we hired an independent lab to review the other metallurgical reports issued regarding this incident. The lab analyzed the piping specimens and recognized the failure mode as grooving corrosion, a condition unique to electric-resistance-welded (ERW) pipes. This piping was determined to be of an inferior grade that will characteristically fail within five to seven years, even with balanced water chemistry. The subject pipe, which had been in service for almost four years, was found to be defective.
Based on the lab results and our analysis, we concluded that the water treatment was performed as specified and that the reported damage was the result of defective piping. This resulted in a cost savings to our client of $240,000.