An Evaluation and Pressure-Driven Design of Potable Water Plumbing Systems

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Virginia Tech


Potable water distribution systems are broken into major and minor distribution networks. Major water distribution networks refer to large-scale municipal pipe systems extending from the treatment plant to the upstream node of the water service line for buildings. Minor water distribution systems, also referred to as plumbing water distribution systems, run from the upstream node of the water service line to all interior plumbing fixtures and demand nodes associated with the building. Most texts and research papers focus on major systems, while only a small number of documents are available concerning the design and analysis of minor systems. In general, the available minor system documents are quite prescriptive in nature. This thesis presents a comprehensive evaluation of contemporary plumbing water distribution system design. All underlying theory is explained and advantages and drawbacks are discussed. Furthermore, contemporary methods for designing minor distribution systems have come under recent scrutiny. Issues have been raised regarding the accuracy of water demand estimation procedures for plumbing systems, namely, Hunter's method. Demand estimates are crucial for designing minor piping systems. The formulation and application of a pressure-driven design approach to replace Hunter-based design methods is presented. EPANET, a commonly used hydraulic modeling software package, is utilized to evaluate network behavior. Example applications are presented to illustrate the robustness of a pressure-driven approach, while also allowing the evaluation of plumbing water distribution system performance under worst-case loading conditions.



Pressure-Driven, Plumbing, Water Distribution, Hunter's Method