CPC Source - Best Practices Identified During the Facilities and Infrastructure Corrosion Evaluation Study  

by Joseph C. Dean, P.E. and Paul Chang for the Director, Corrosion Policy & Oversight (DASD) [Materiel Readiness]
Updated: 03-17-2017



This web page is intended to provide information and knowledge for planners, designers, constructors and maintainers in the best practices of corrosion prevention. It represents the results of an evaluation of corrosion control challenges and findings of a small, but representative sample size (30 installations) of DoD installations.

The House Report accompanying H.R. 1540, the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) for Fiscal Year 2012 (H. Rept. 112-78, p. 293), requested the Director, Corrosion Policy and Oversight (D, CPO) conduct an evaluation of DoD facilities and infrastructure in corrosion matters. The committee states "Because the costs associated with Facilities and Infrastructure account for a significant portion of the Department of Defense's $22.5 billion annual cost to address the impact of corrosion, the committee believes that there may be more cost-efficient opportunities for developing strategies for enhancing the sustainability of existing facilities as well as for ensuring the integration of corrosion prevention and mitigation technologies into the buildup of future facilities.".

This section of the CPC Source reflects the Best Practice findings of the FICE Study and was provided as the response to the Congress summarizing cost efficient opportunities.


The Facilities and Installation Corrosion Evaluation study team invited facilities and infrastructure professionals from 30 installations (included in the FICE study report) to share their best corrosion prevention and control practices. The list provided below is not endorsed by OSD or the Military Departments, but it is representative of ideas that have worked for individual installation F&I professionals. It is important to note that these best practices may not be consistent with current criteria. It is also important to note that these F&I professionals are doing the best job they can with extremely limited resources. The best practices are location specific and take into consideration environmental severity at that locale.

The study team's findings are segregated into seven categories: Condition Assessment, Material Selection, Technology, Processes and Applications, Communications, Training, and Partnering, Policies, Criteria, and Guidance, and Acquisition. In many cases, these findings could easily be placed in multiple categories because they touch multiple areas. The FICE Study  provides a complete reference for the Best Practices listed below.

Best Practices Summary (Appendix E, FICE Study, July 2013)

Condition Assessment

  • DLA-Energy-provided fuel line inspections (twice per year) have been effective. Only two leaks have occurred in the last 15 years, and those were the result of old and deteriorating piping. No other problems have been reported.
  • For critical inspections, bring in an inspection team from the outside.
  • The following inspections should be performed at set periods:
  • Water towers and structural-every 5 years
  • Cathodic protection-annually
  • Fuel lines-monthly
  • Scoping sewer lines and lining them where needed. This action eliminates leaks and underground water intrusions without having to go through the expense of digging up the lines.
  • Infrastructure assessments (PACAF)—annually
  • Check water quality parameters (using a state-certified laboratory) quarterly. Installation of water quality control panels at different locations in the water distribution system have helped monitor and correct chemical feed issues relating to corrosion control.
  • Monitor water usage to detect leaks.
  • The Infrastructure Condition Assessment Program (ICAP) covers the condition of assets and condition index (CI), and is recorded in Maximo. This is also accomplished through scheduled routine preventive maintenance.
  • Use a corrosion preventive maintenance team.
  • Perform tank and boiler inspections yearly. At one time, an in-house inspection team accompanied by a maintenance team either fixed the deficiencies that were discovered or put in the work orders.
  • Utilization of a door inventory program at an ammunition storage installation which helps assure blast, health safety, and security. The doors are assigned health codes.
  • Conducting an Annual Fire Hydrant replacement program focusing on three types (down from 15).

Material Selection

  • A version of corrosion prevention is material selection based on application. The following are examples provided:
    • Galvanized steel for hand rails.
    • Wood structures sealed once a year.
    • Replacement of culvert pipes (galvanized) with concrete.
    • Use of GSA pipe coating products.
    • PVC piping instead of copper when water is chlorinated.
  • The use of specific procedures when digging and borium lignite is discovered. Lignite will cause a more acidic environment when combined with water in the soil, which primarily affects bolts.
  • Painted concrete to prevent salt spray penetration.
  • Use of adhesives for tiles on a roof to avoid roof penetration.
  • Coating backup generator fan blades to prevent corrosion in highly corrosive areas.
  • Replacement of galvanized pipe with PVC culvert (but be aware that fire can cause the culvert to burn).
  • The use of nonmetallic piping as much as possible with tracer wire installed for all underground pipe.
  • The use of materials based on application. The following are examples:
  • Carbon steel material used outdoors (fasteners, nuts, bolts, railings, etc.).
  • The use of stainless steel outdoors when possible (e.g., use of stainless steel base for transformers).
  • HDPE material for piping.
  • Use of zinc fencing.
  • Aluminum for chain link fencing (when security protocols permit).
  • Use of corrugated metal roofing.
  • Installation of stainless steel for fasteners, enclosures, ducting, and virtually any component for which a stainless steel option is offered.
  • Replacing underground storage tanks with aboveground storage tanks.
  • Stainless steel transformer, switch gear, and electrical boxes.
  • Use of an epoxy siloxane hybrid coating for casings on air conditioning units.
  • The use of aluminum coils and fins; application of aluminum pigmented polyurethane to HVAC coils for longer life.
  • The use of aluminum standing-seam roofs.
  • Avoiding steel/rebar on concrete runways; fly ash is added, which strengthens the concrete and doesn't create any corrosion issues; dowels still connect the sections.
  • Use of polymer coatings in tanks.
  • The use of precast and pre-stressed concrete fender piles (instead of steel).
  • Replacing cyclone fence and around condensers with concrete in windy, high humidity areas.
  • The installation guide for Kwajalein requires the use of stainless steel, fiberglass doors and copper coils.
  • Constructing block buildings with baked-on finish window units; four ply built up roofing, or standing seam baked on coating metal roof for steep slopes complete with a warranty.
  • Specify stainless steel or fiber glass for cooling towers.
  • Procure coated fins in air conditioner units.
  • Install phenolic coating on outside equipment in high humidity area.
  • Sealed motors for PV array.
  • Use "an epoxy ester rust preventative primer" and standardized metal roofing.
  • Use aggregate for concrete shipped in to island locations rather than using highly corrosive coral.
  • Use of algae inhibitors in runway stripping paints, especially in highly corrosive locations such as Guam.


  • Using computerized tablets for inspections. Some sites have created and developed their own tablet inspection applications (i.e. internal asbestos tracking)
  • Use of "oil-free" chiller compressors, which minimizes acid reduction corrosion.
  • A laser alignment tool allows the installation to align the pumps and motors once a year, greatly extending their life.
  • GPS is used to locate underground utilities and obstructions and the system is kept up to date. The Interim Work Information Management System shows this information.
  • Smart metering technology installed with real-time monitoring capabilities.
  • AFCESA has the Reach Back Center for posting technology developments.

Processes and Applications

  • Asphalt slurry seal every 3–5 years.
  • The use of de-icing spray versus salt.
  • De-icing chemicals cause corrosion in the valves in the petroleum collection pits. Current practice is to apply epoxy on the valves to reduce corrosion.
  • Ensure project management practices for F&I projects and SRM activities.
  • Use of stainless steel fasteners to replace corroded fasteners.
  • Wood piles covered in plastic to minimize wood rot—ultimately replacing wood piling with concrete as a better material substitute.
  • Implementation of water treatment program for HVAC systems.
  • The use of plastic (versus metal) conduit where applicable.
  • Leveraging the building manager program to ensure early identification of SRM requirements with a focus on accomplishing the highest priority work.
  • Adequately insulating chillers to prevent water condensation and mold and mildew build-up.
  • The leveraging of design-bid-build acquisitions to develop and enhance in-house design expertise.
  • The replacement of old steel pipes with new pipes and apply tape wrapped cathodic protection (CP).
  • Using high-density polyethylene (HDPE) for new sewer lines. (HDPE is also being investigated for gas lines as well. PVC is too brittle, where HDPE is flexible, strong, has low friction, and can take ground movement.)
  • Using aggressive preventive maintenance programs that ensure early detection of deficiencies and reduce corrosion deterioration.
  • Air-conditioned mechanical rooms and electrical sub stations reducing the exposure to salt spray and other corrosive risks. System reliability has increased as a result.
  • Ultraviolet (UV) light treatment and dehumidification for HVAC to prevent mold and mildew. In high humidity areas install dehumidifier and UV protection with each AC unit to combat mold.
  • The use of spray foam instead of batt insulation to prevent mold.
  • The elimination or limiting of the source of water helps tremendously in resisting corrosion. Civil design criteria require a minimum 2-foot overhang beyond exterior walls. This aids in keeping the water away from the building envelope and therefore decreases water intrusion.
  • Standard roof type is a hydrostatic (watertight) standing seam metal roof. Metal panels must be factory fabricated from hot dipped steel coil coated with 55 percent by weight aluminum-zinc alloy in a minimum application rate of 0.55 oz. per square foot, with an exterior finish of 70 percent polyvinylidene fluoride containing 100 percent inorganic pigments. Exterior metals (including soffit, fascia, gutters, downspouts, etc.) are required to have the same finish.
  • Washing of condensers and fins (require copper fins and coils and stainless exterior shells). Previous life of non-copper coils was less than 2 years.
  • Replacing transformers at very corrosive sites at the same time lights are replaced. (The transformers are enclosed which reduces corrosion and reduces energy usage.)
  • Procuring transformers with enclosed switches.
  • Installing transformers on pads and placing utilities underground in areas at risk for high winds (e.g. typhoons).
  • Using high-density polyethylene over PVC. PVC can be too brittle in extremely cold climates with earth movement. High-density polyethylene gives flexibility, strength, low friction and some ground movement allowance.
  • Using of automatic flush valves reduces chlorine levels in drinking water and water treatment is leveraged to reduce sulfuric acid content and the associated system deterioration.
  • Specify the addition of water softeners as a standard requirement for high water usage areas such as dining facilities.

Communications, Training, and Partnering

  • Review and coordinate projects by a committee of public works design and maintenance, safety, environmental, and security to ensure projects are fully coordinated before release.
  • Maintain a close relationship with industry partners who introduce new technologies.
  • Keep a list of base deputies' emails; send out notifications of a problem or find a potential solution through information sharing.
  • Send personnel to conferences/symposiums (such as the Lighting Symposium or the Snow symposium) to learn about new technologies. Although funds to attend symposiums are very limited, those who attend have better insight of the state of the art.
  • Provide lessons learned from past projects to the project development team for the upcoming projects.
  • Provide advance funding for service calls, when the organization is a tenant; ensure access to the host installation's work order system.
  • Use a community of practice (COP) to communicate best practices or information to all facilities. A COP coordinated through the web (or discussion forums and phone conferences) can be useful when looking for more information regarding new technologies or to send out a message about a problem and asking if anyone knows the solution.
  • Periodic meetings of groups are held to ensure sharing of important information. This practice allows for the exchange of information and reprioritization of some work, and includes fire and safety topic dialog with customers. These meetings are especially important with tenants and joint bases, which helps in the coordination of MILCON issues such as in the identification of demolition plans which might be listed for both services.
  • Promote good intra-organizational relationships and communication.
  • Incorporate training in the contract for new equipment and send mechanics to the factory for training.
  • Record lessons learned into the specifications, change maintenance practices or provide feedback to the design agent. These specifications are the ones the DPW uses. Each champion keeps his specifications and details for his area. The installation performs design reviews specific to trade area. Constructability reviews are being performed and a single point of contact is provided. This practice includes management, engineering and design and utilities areas. Constructability reviews are done in the contract management and privatization branch (QA branch).
  • The maintenance branch provides feedback on best practices for inclusion into new contracts.
  • Recommend that maintenance charettes be held at the time of hand over which allows them to figure out eve>IMCOM shares experiences and lessons learned on AKO Garrison Commander forum site.

Policies, Criteria, and Guidance

  • Use UFGS 23 25 00, Chemical Treatment of Water for Mechanical Systems.
  • Develop and use design guides for specific locations, such as Guam, Kwajalein, etc.
  • In unique areas, like Alaska, local design codes and regulations are compared to the main UFC to account for snow and wind loads.
  • Develop a project notebook, which shows the supplemental specifications the site needs or desires (e.g., oil-free compressors, certain types of chillers, building practices that need to be followed to avoid painting and deterioration).


  • Use IDIQ contracts for painting, valve replacements, roofing with certified installers, etc. This allows quick contract award within hours (rather than two months if an ID/IQ were not available). Including lead abatement into painting contracts ensures workload will be accomplished more seamlessly.
  • Have a feedback system on contractor performance.
  • Contract out water treatment for HVAC and boilers.
  • At an Army site the maintenance contractor notes latent defects and gives the design agent the information. For example, on a fire suppression system low point drains were positioned at really bad angles, now the design agent correct this problem in new designs.
  • Documenting lessons learned and feeding these into specifications to make further improvements for mechanical systems in the areas of equipment selection and materials. This ensures that the best practices are followed in the next design.
Federal Facility Criteria: