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Diagnosing Pipe Failures

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Prein & Newhof

on 27 June 2016

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Transcript of Diagnosing Pipe Failures

James Hegarty, P.E.
Diagnosing Pipe Failures
Pipe Failure
Case Studies
-- Bay City officials planned to continue their search Monday for the source of a water main break that's been draining 10 million gallons of water a day and has prompted water-use restrictions for the city of 35,000 and the surrounding county.
Bob Dion, the city's water distribution supervisor, said Sunday night that crews were unable to find the source and would regroup Monday, The Bay City Times reported.
"It's frustrating," Dion said. "Trust me, it's frustrating."

Pipe failure can be devastating.
Common Types of Water Pipes
The boss may want an answer, in case….
His/her bosses want an answer, in case…
The newspaper wants an answer
As an engineer, I wonder: is the problem likely to recur, or is it isolated?
Why bother investigating failures?
Today's Talk:
PR: The bad kind!
Pipe types and how they fail
Case studies
-- Flooding caused by an apparent water main break has inundated numerous streets in southwest Detroit, police say.
Captain Steve Dolunt says water bubbling from the street at Buchanan and McKinley, near I-96 and Warren Tuesday morning has left at least one square mile flooded with icy water.
As of 11 a.m., crews from the Detroit Water and Sewerage Department were still working to stop the flow of water. The water has since been turned off.
"It's very deceptive. You don't realize how deep it is," said Dolunt

Water main break floods one square mile in Detroit

TIM MARTIN | Associated Press | May 12, 2009
LANSING, Mich. - A report released Tuesday gives Michigan dams, roads and other infrastructure systems poor grades. The review released by the Michigan Section of the American Society of Civil Engineers urges the state to invest more money in the deteriorating systems, some of which are in such poor shape they may pose a safety threat. The report grades Michigan infrastructure related to aviation, dams, drinking water, energy, navigable waterways, storm water, and roads and bridges.
Report gives Michigan roads, dams poor grades
Michigan city hunts for huge water main break
Structural distress
Point loads, bending, shear
Bending, deflection
Point loads
Weld failures
Mortar cracking
Wire corrosion
Cylinder corrosion
Wire breakage—surge
Wire breakage—brittleness
Core cracking—surge
Core cracking—bending
Failure Modes
Failure Modes
Failure Modes
Failure Modes
Failure Modes
Investigating Failures
DIP Failure
Looking Back
PCCP Failure
Perforation is outside-in corrosion.
Yellow material may be paint pigment.
Joint probably leaked.
Sewage pooled on pipe bottom, and moved down the line as particles blinded drainage through sand.
Something in sewage corroded pipe.
Laying schedule showed vertical joint deflections.
Sewer construction project in area in Oct. 2004.
As-built plans for the project showed curved horizontal alignment. Horizontal dislocation presumed to avoid cutting down tree.
The pipe in failed location is partly under west travel lane and north road shoulder.
During 2004 sewer project, construction traffic passed over or very near the failed location.
1. Pipe joints leaked sewage.
2. Sewage corroded wires through mortar coating on outside pipe bottom.
3. Wires broke, mortar and wire “unhinged.”
4. Core cracked.
5. Construction traffic caused “slabbing” of interior core.
6. Surge/vacuum collapsed cylinder.
Clue #1
Clue #2
Clue #3
1. Arrive ASAP after failure is discovered.
2. Document everything with photos.

On average, 700 watermains break per day in Canada and & the U.S.A.
There’s no such thing as a perfect pipe!
A water main break was discovered late Monday night, Jan. 6, in the City of Brighton municipal complex area near the intersection of North First Street and Cedar Street and next to the District Court building.
City officials anticipate being able to get the repair process, which will involve some underground excavation work, started later this morning. The City anticipates being able to complete the repair by approximately 6 pm on Tuesday.

Brighton Patch, September 8, 2014
Brighton City Hall Closed to Water Main Break
- A Mid-Michigan man is getting tired of broken water mains in his community. But the water department says the system is old and wearing out and there's no money to make repairs.
Last Saturday, Donald Washington noticed water pressure in his Charles Avenue home was dropping.
"Sunday morning I got ready to go to church, get up and there was no water period. I looked outside, my yard was full of water," Washington said.

Water main break may have damaged Mid-Michigan house
Ductile Iron Pipe (DIP)
Steel Pipe
Polyvinyl Chloride (PVC) Pipe
High Density Polyethylene (HDPE) Pipe
Prestressed Concrete Cylinder Pipe (PCCP)
Study found that half of all PVC pipe issues occur in the first year after installation.
3. Mark pipe top and number pipes.
4. Make a sketch.

5. Urge care in removal to preserve pipe condition.
6. Get nearby native soil samples, preferably not wetted by failure.
7. Check records at pumping facilities …surge?
8. Save pipe samples.
9. Ask questions!!!
10. Review construction plans.
11. Review inspection notes.
“Hot” soil?

Failures endanger the public.
Failures are bad PR.
Pipes fail in many ways for many reasons.
Every pipe has an Achilles’ heel.
Find the disease as you treat the symptom!



(616) 364-8491
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