In the last 20 years, the U.S. has seen a considerable change in groundwater chemicals that drastically affect how water corrodes irrigation pipelines. Corrosive water damages irrigation pipelines and can decrease the life of a center pivot. There are different options available for combating corrosion. Some options are much better than others depending on the pH, chloride, sulfate, and other chemical levels in your water.
Galvanized pipe is the industry standard protective option for corrosive-prone environments and is a first line of defense in combating corrosion. If you are in an area with even mildly corrosive water, galvanized pipe is a must. However, unlined galvanized pipes are not recommended for use with farm chemicals that contain high amounts of chloride or sulfur. Any mixture with concentrations of chloride or sulfate greater than 100 parts per million (ppm) should not be put through unlined galvanized pipe.
For the most corrosive water or farm chemicals, poly-lined pipes provide the best protection. In fact, this type of lining is chemically inactive so it has no limit on pH, chlorides, water softness, salinity, or farm chemicals. The lining not only prevents the weakening of the pipe structure, it also prevents rust flakes from clogging sprinkler heads, which decreases water uniformity and affects crop yields.
If you want to find out more about poly-lined pipes, how they are constructed, and how they combat corrosion, check out the How to Overcome Corrosive Water course at irrigation.education.