Development of Wastewater Pipe Performance Index and Performance Prediction Model

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Virginia Tech

Water plays a critical role in every aspect of civilization: agriculture, industry, economy, environment, recreation, transportation, culture, and health. Much of America's drinking water and wastewater infrastructure; however, is old and deteriorating. A crisis looms as demands on these systems increase. The costs associated with renewal of these aging systems are staggering. There is a critical disconnect between the methodological remedies for infrastructure renewal problems and the current sequential or isolated manner of renewal analysis and execution. This points to the need for a holistic systems perspective to address the renewal problem. Therefore, new tools are needed to provide support for wastewater infrastructure decisions. Such decisions are necessary to sustain economic growth, environmental quality, and improved societal benefits. Accurate prediction of wastewater pipe structural and functional deterioration plays an essential role in asset management and capital improvement planning. The key to implementing an asset management strategy is a comprehensive understanding of asset condition, performance, and risk profile.

The primary objective of this research is therefore to develop protocols and methods for evaluating the wastewater pipe performance. This research presents the life cycle of wastewater pipeline identifying the causes of pipe failure in different phases including design, manufacture, construction, operation and maintenance, and repair/rehabilitation/replacement. Various modes and mechanisms of pipe failure in wastewater pipes were identified for different pipe material which completed with results from extensive literature reviews, and interviews with utilities and pipe associations. After reviewing all relevant reports and utility databases, a set of standard pipe parameter list (data structure) and a pipe data collection methodology were developed. These parameters includes physical/structural, operational/functional, environmental and other parameters, for not only the pipe, but also the entire pipe system. This research presents a development of a performance index for wastewater pipes. The performance index evaluates each parameter and combines them mathematically through a weighted summation and a fuzzy inference system that reflects the importance of the various factors. The performance index were evaluated based on artificial data and field data to ensure that the index could be implemented to real scenarios. Developing a performance index led to the development of a probabilistic performance prediction model for wastewater pipes. A framework would enable effective and systematic wastewater pipe performance evaluation and prediction in asset management programs.

Wastewater Pipe Infrastructure, Standard Data Structure, Pipe Failure Mode and Mechanism, Performance Index