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Flow Monitoring.… in a Drought? Leveraging Drought Conditions to Target Infiltration in Sewer Systems

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Inflow and infiltration (I/I) within a sanitary sewer system are normally tracked by comparing dry weather flow rates to wet weather conditions. This approach requires that both dry weather and wet weather data be collected; the difference between these data identifies areas with I/I. While this approach works well, there is one uncontrollable factor that derails the practice – no wet weather.

Drought conditions obviously hamper efforts to target I/I in sanitary sewers. Rain events are hard to come by, and a reduction in sewer flow is observed due to both a decrease in ground water levels and water conservation measures. However, drought conditions can be leveraged by looking for flow that isn't there. Sewer flows that show decreasing trends during a drought provide a means to identify areas that are vulnerable to base infiltration offering additional unexpected clues to continue the hunt for inflow and infiltration – even in a drought.
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Keywords: Inflow; drought; flow monitoring; infiltration

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: 2009-01-01

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