Terms of the Trade: What Is Galvanized Pipe?

A couple of galvanized pipes suffering corrosion.

Galvanized pipe was used in the construction of water lines prior to the 1960s, but as history has found, the coating of zinc meant to prevent rusting on the steel or iron pipes erodes over time. With the loss of the protective zinc layer, corrosion builds up inside the pipes, causing low water pressure and releasing lead into the water supply. The only way to prevent lead from entering the service lines is by replacing them with plastic or copper piping (commonly used since the 1960s) or installing a treatment device at the tap. However, galvanized pipe is still used in outdoor applications requiring the strength of iron or steel.