Tank Integrity: Combatting MIC Corrosion in Water Systems


Image of a micro organism carrying a resemblance to MIC.

In the world of water management, especially concerning tanks and pipelines, Microbiologically Induced Corrosion (MIC) poses a significant threat. At Water Systems Australia, we understand the critical nature of this problem and how it can rapidly compromise the integrity of water systems. Our latest insights delve into the complexities of MIC, its impact on tank and pipeline integrity, and our comprehensive approach to mitigating its effects.

Understanding MIC in Water Systems

MIC occurs when microorganisms, such as bacteria and fungi, interact with metal surfaces, leading to accelerated corrosion. This phenomenon is particularly prevalent in environments where microorganisms thrive, including buried pipelines and tanks exposed to moisture and certain chemicals. MIC can cause rapid corrosion, resulting in holes and severe damage to metal structures, which is why early detection and continuous monitoring are crucial in water system management.

The Impact of MIC on Tanks and Pipelines

Heaving corroded wall where MIC may have been a contributing factor.

The effects of MIC on tanks and pipelines can be devastating. This type of corrosion often leads to pitting, with the damage being more severe beneath the surface. Commonly affected materials include carbon steel, stainless steel, and aluminum. In water systems, this can lead to leakage, contamination, and a significant reduction in the lifespan of tanks and pipelines.

Detecting and Preventing MIC

At Water Systems Australia, our approach to combating MIC involves a multi-faceted strategy. This includes:

  1. Regular Inspections: Utilising advanced techniques such as ROV drone inspections, we identify early signs of MIC, particularly in hard-to-reach areas of tanks and pipelines.
  2. Comprehensive Sampling and Analysis: We collect samples from biofilms and fluids to analyse the types and concentrations of microorganisms present. This helps in determining the specific MIC risks and appropriate mitigation strategies.
  3. Mitigation and Control: Depending on the severity and type of MIC identified, we employ various mitigation techniques. These may include chemical treatments, the use of corrosion inhibitors, and changes in water chemistry.
  4. Routine Maintenance and Cleaning: Regular cleaning of tanks and pipelines is essential to remove biofilms that can harbor bacteria responsible for MIC. This maintenance also includes checking and replacing protective coatings as needed.
  5. Material Selection and System Design: We advise on selecting materials and designing water systems that are less susceptible to MIC, such as using corrosion-resistant alloys or applying effective coatings.
  6. Monitoring and Follow-Up: Continuous monitoring of water chemistry and microbial activity is crucial to ensure the effectiveness of mitigation strategies and to make adjustments as needed.


MIC corrosion is a complex challenge in the field of water management, particularly concerning tanks and pipelines. At Water Systems Australia, we offer a comprehensive suite of services to identify, mitigate, and monitor MIC, ensuring the longevity and safety of water systems. Our expertise and commitment to advanced technologies and proactive strategies position us as leaders in maintaining the integrity of water infrastructure.

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