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Solutions for Air Valve Breakage Caused by Hydraulic Transients in Pinellas County's Wastewater Force Main System

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Several air valves installed at higher points in a portion of Pinellas County's wastewater force main system generated significant and continuing pressure spikes, resulting in air valve breakages. A transient model was developed to identify the potential causes of the air valve breakages and the pressure spikes occurring in the system. Simulations showed that air pocket collapse inside an air valve could generate very high pressure spikes if air exhausts too fast from the air valve and if the air valve cannot trap sufficient air before it closes. The simulated results are in agreement with field-recorded data for the system. Three methods—using a new type air valve, adding an air-throttling device, and extending the pump shutdown time—have been studied to solve the problem of air valve breakage and high pressure spikes.

Keywords: Wastewater force main system; air/vacuum valve breakage; computer modeling; hydraulic transient analysis; pressure surges

Document Type: Research Article


Publication date: 2009-01-01

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