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Development of a National Web-based Interactive Database of Renewal Technologies for Water and Wastewater Pipelines

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This paper presents on-going research work titled “A Web-based Interactive National Database of Renewal Technologies for Water and Wastewater Pipelines.” This project is funded by the Water Environmental Research Foundation (WERF) through the Environmental Protection Agency's Aging Water Infrastructure Research Program, a research agenda that supports efforts to put the nation's aging infrastructure on a pathway toward sustainability. The development of this research program stems from EPA's Sustainable Water Infrastructure Initiative.

According to the EPA, US water and wastewater infrastructure includes an estimated 16,000 wastewater and 52,000 drinking water industries which will require a substantial investment of 255 for system rehabilitation over the next 5 years. (ASCE 2005). In addition the utility engineers responsible for fixing the pipeline infrastructure are governed by various regulations such as the Safe Drinking Water Act of 1974, the Clear Water Act of 1977, the Water Quality Act of 1987, American Society for Testing and Materials Standards, and other manuals, utility specifications, and trade association guidelines.

System Renewal includes a wide range of repair/rehabilitation/replacement techniques that restore pipeline systems to acceptable levels of performance within set budgets. There are a number of commercially available products representing the state of the art renewal technologies for potable water and wastewater pipe systems. The decision-making process for the proper balance of renewal (repair/rehabilitation/replacement) is a function of the condition assessment of the pipe, the life-cycle cost of the various renewal options, and the related risk reductions. The decisions made regarding system renewal must take into account past experiences, protocol and project specific information to select the most appropriate renewal option as well as the product best suited to achieve the project goals.

Pipeline renewal cannot be addressed on a reactive basis. Installing a rehabilitation product is one part of a utility renewal program. Identifying the optimal renewal product requires knowledge and relationship between key renewal decision-making factors. Large utilities integrate macro-scale factors like lifecycle costing, inspection and monitoring data, condition assessment, prioritization factors, watershed modeling, life-cycle economics and project delivery options. The unstructured process presents a challenge in educating our utility engineers on pipeline renewal.

An interactive web portal will address this challenge by bringing data and information from all the stakeholders in one database. An assessment of approximately ninety renewal commercial technologies with relevant information on design, cost and industry application is completed. A list of national and international databases is being studied to incorporate advantageous features in our national database. A detailed set of information will be available to the research project from Washington Sanitary and Sewer Commission (WSSC) in the near future. Utilities and consultants have signed MOUs with Virginia Tech to provide the research group with excellent case studies, performance and cost reports for various renewal practices. Data mining of reports will be available to participating stakeholders at the pilot stage of the project. The research will focus on the transfer of performance and cost information on repair, rehabilitation, and replacement technologies for water and wastewater pipes. The web portal will include primary information about individual renewal technologies' cost and performance, case studies for their real world applications, and the list of vendors, consultants, utilities, research association and contractors available for particular technologies on a regional basis for Atlantic coast, Mid-west, Southern and Western regions.
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Keywords: Database; Water IDL; Water and wastewater pipelines; asset management; baseline condition; condition assessment; interactive website; long term performance; renewal engineering; web interface

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: 2011-01-01

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