Environmental impact of sacrificial aluminum anodes on steel quay wall structures

The environmental impact of cathodic corrosion protection anodes attached to quay walls was investigated and recommendations made for reducing this impact.
Sediment Sampling Quay Wall

A common, effective anti-corrosion method for marine structures is the use of a sacrificial anode cathodic protection (SACP) system.  The aim of this research was to determine the environmental impact of sacrificial aluminum anodes mounted on a sheet pile quay wall structure by quantifying the metal concentrations in the sediment. 


Sediment samples were taken in the Port of Rotterdam and sent to the laboratory. Here the sample was tested for heavy metals such as Aluminum (Al), Arsenic (As), and Copper (Cu). It was determined that the presence of the anodes probably had a direct impact on the high concentrations of these elements in the sediment. The research concluded that the use of sacrificial anodes should be discouraged and a better means of protecting the quay walls from corrosion found..