ALPS: Accelerated Lead Pipe Scale-buildup

Team Members: Gabriel Lobo, Benjamin Clemons, Siva Satyam, Gabriela Belo
School: UC Berkeley


More than 18 million people in the US are currently at risk of suffering from lead poisoning due to the high amounts of lead in their drinking water. This is usually contained through the slow and natural development of a scale in lead pipes; however, depending on the scale composition and water quality, this scale may dissolve, exposing the population to the deleterious health effects of lead. Once the scale dissolves, it takes years for it to form again, causing well-known health crises like that in Flint, MI. The team has developed a novel, fast and cost-effective technology to solve this problem, termed ALPS (Accelerated Lead Pipe Scale-buildup), an electrochemical method that accelerates the development of a protective scale in lead pipes. By providing an effective and accessible method for controlling lead in drinking water, ALPS will prevent health hazards like that of Flint, MI.