Clean, corrosion-free pipe
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A view from the video scope of localized corrosion

Big Box Stores

Corrosion Risk Assessment

Project Background

In 2021, after experiencing a structural failure caused by corrosion related fire sprinkler system leaks, a large, US-based retail store operator sought to address their leak risk. Of the stores this operator owned, many were experiencing leaks to the point where total system replacement was being considered. The operator wanted to eliminate their operating expense from fixing leaks and minimize the downstream effects like business interruption and customer safety while fitting the remediation program into a limited capital budget.
ECS partnered with the operator’s national sprinkler service provider to design a corrosion assessment program that would thoroughly address the leak risk, while minimizing pipe replacement.



ECS performed comprehensive corrosion assessments on a total of 102 stores during a one-year period, focusing on stores with the most extensive issues and where total system replacement was already being considered.

Through video scoping and pipe sample analysis, each corrosion assessment characterized the root cause of corrosion, severity of metal loss, and specific areas where corrosion was present.

  • Corrosion in each system was highly localized.
  • Location and severity of corrosion varied significantly depending on system layout and sprinkler system design.
  • Corrosion severity was impacted by the remodel history and the number of drain and fills – Corrosion was not based on the age of the piping alone.
  • Many systems without existing leaks would have leaks issues soon.
  • Corrosion issues created more severe system impairments i.e., closed control valves.
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Financial Analysis of Repair Options

Compared to total system replacement, the reduction in pipe replacement saved the client 75%.


The goal of this assessment program was to eliminate leak risk while minimizing pipe replacement. Because corrosion was highly localized, on average only 22% of the pipe in each system was recommended for replacement.

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