Environmental influences in pipe corrosion (EPiC)

Lead Research Organisation: NERC British Geological Survey
Department Name: Environmental Modelling

Abstract

Yorkshire Water (YW), Scottish Water and Dwr Cymru Welsh Water (WW) have extensive networks of clean/waste water pipes made of a variety of materials (ferrous, plastics). It is recognized that pipe failure occurs through a complex set of interactions including corrosion, factors such as geohazards (ground movements), environmental factors (e.g. slope) and other external factors (e.g. traffic vibration, surge demand). When these failures occur it results in loss of supply to properties, causes public highway closures and potentially long-term inconvenience to business and the general public. Changing ground moisture and thermal profiles caused by environmental change may enhance the probability of drought or flooding. In particular, this may increase the impact of ground conditions on the pipe network, exacerbating future failures (causing asset loss, exfiltration undermining of infrastructure and contamination). Increased leakages, particularly in drought years are a potential major concern to the regulator, OFWAT. This project aims to help water companies manage the repair and maintenance of their pipe networks through the development of a spatial model relating pipe failure data to a range of environmental, geohazard and external factors. The model will provide evidence about the primary factors in pipe failure which water companies can use to improve pipe network infrastructure management and resilience within a changing climate.

These outputs can be used by water company engineers (i) to provide information regarding pipe failure that can be used to improve design standards for different pipe materials (e.g. plastic, ferrous, concrete) and installation, (ii) to be used as a screening tool to identify areas where additional factors not related to model covariates are causing high incidences of pipe failure and (iii) to identify areas where additional engineering solutions can be used to build climate resilience into the network, particularly in relation to those geo-hazards most influenced by climate (e.g. shrink-swell clays). The proposed work includes a scoping study and exemplar of how those outputs can be delivered to the for water companies. Advice on functionality and content will be sought from YW and WW. Options include the possible integration of outputs into existing company systems or a stand-alone web based system. The output data could be presented as maps, GIS layers or digital services and will be based on significant model covariates presented as individual factors (GIS layers) or combined maps and hazard information. If a web based system is considered preferable we will provide an exemplar service to the water companies demonstrating how their data may be accessed either on a public good basis (via a public portal such as UKSO.org) or via a secure service to commercial users (secure web map services).

Keywords: pipe network, water leakage, geo-hazards, spatial model,

Planned Impact

The impacts of the project outputs will be determined by (i) increased understanding of the factors involved in pipe network failures, the (ii) engineering solutions adopted by the water companies as a result of this project's outcomes and (iii) the subsequent beneficial changes to the infrastructure investment planning.

Measures of success of this project initially will be its ability to inform water companies planning policy and 5 yearly investment plans through:
a. Indication from WW and YW that project results will be incorporated into planning activities (via personal communication)
b. The inclusion of model outputs in YW and WW infrastructure investment strategy
c. Submissions to OFWAT developing awareness of the project, measurable through citations in YW, SW and WW annual reports, conference talks and discussions with other water companies.

Other impacts, over the longer term include:
a. The model methodology creating sufficient interest that there is uptake by other water companies and underground asset holders (e.g. gas)
b. Funding from industry for further development
c. The development of a new UK- wide pipe failure product.
d. Incorporation of model results into existing systems/working practices

For this project proposal we have linked up with three partners that have a genuine interest in our approach to examining the causes of pipe failure within their networks. We have previously worked with YW on a pilot study and they have been very enthusiastic to be involved the next stage of our work. Welsh Water with whom BGS have had previous partnerships with, particularly through our work on sustainable urban drainage (SUDS) were keen to take up our offer of involvement, whilst SW approached us having heard about the project via the infrastructure initiative. We therefore have pre-endorsement from the industry and a strong basis for communicating to other water companies.

Publications

10 25 50
 
Description Failures in clean water pipe networks result from complex interactions over a range of different scales. They represent significant costs to water companies and cause inconvenience to the general public. The project examined the spatial distribution of pipe failures in relation to a range of environmental factors and geo-hazards using data collected by Yorkshire Water over the last 10 years. This was undertaken using a spatial model based on 100 x 100 m grid cells across the YW region. Initial model formulation was based on 'Expert Elicitation' exercises with YW employees, allowing identification of key factors in pipe failure across YW. The model identified significant co-variables in pipe failure (e.g. roads, water source, dwelling density, compressible deposits, corrosive ground, sulphide presence). Results are presented as (i) 'Heat Maps' for each significant co-variable that provide an indication of the intensity of effect and (ii) a combined 'heat map' generated by combining all the co-variables for each cell. Information generated could be used to improve engineering solutions by identifying areas with higher than expected failure rates and in demonstrating where there are greatest potential pressures on the pipe network, based on existing knowledge of the effects of environmental and geo-hazard factors across YW.
Exploitation Route We have written a report for YW of the outputs of the research and produced GIS heat maps for them to use. We are intending to offer YW help if needed with respect to using the data and developing the impact from the project. This I believe will be the basis of going to the next stage of the knowledge transfer process where we can translate our science into a product that is useful to water companies and other industries with subsurface infrastructure (e.g. electricity companies).
Sectors Construction,Energy,Transport

URL https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wzTL2o4qGCc&feature=youtu.be
 
Description We have discussed results of our research in formal meetings with Scottish Water and Dwr Cymru (Welsh Water) and delivered a webinair organised by CIRIA
First Year Of Impact 2016
Sector Environment
Impact Types Economic

 
Description Environmental Factors influencing pipe failures 
Organisation Scottish Water
Country United Kingdom of Great Britain & Northern Ireland (UK) 
Sector Public 
PI Contribution Modelling Yorkshire Water data to examine geological and environmental factors that may contribute to pipe failures
Collaborator Contribution Yorkshire Water provided 10 years of pipe failure data, along with time for staff to attend Expert Elicitation sessions and a meeting where we disseminated the results of the resaerch and discussed future work possibilities and how we could improve the model. Scottish Water and Dwr Cymru providede staff for discussion meetings based around the presentation of results of the project
Impact Report on NERC Grants NE/M008339/1: Modelling the geological factors in pipe failure for better infrastructure management and NE/NO13026/1 Environmental factors influencing pipe failures. Tye, A.M., Kirkwood, C., Dearden, R., Rawlins, B.G., Lark, R.M., Lawley, R.L., Entwistle, D. Mee, K. BGS Open Report
Start Year 2016
 
Description Environmental Factors influencing pipe failures 
Organisation Welsh Water
Country United Kingdom of Great Britain & Northern Ireland (UK) 
Sector Private 
PI Contribution Modelling Yorkshire Water data to examine geological and environmental factors that may contribute to pipe failures
Collaborator Contribution Yorkshire Water provided 10 years of pipe failure data, along with time for staff to attend Expert Elicitation sessions and a meeting where we disseminated the results of the resaerch and discussed future work possibilities and how we could improve the model. Scottish Water and Dwr Cymru providede staff for discussion meetings based around the presentation of results of the project
Impact Report on NERC Grants NE/M008339/1: Modelling the geological factors in pipe failure for better infrastructure management and NE/NO13026/1 Environmental factors influencing pipe failures. Tye, A.M., Kirkwood, C., Dearden, R., Rawlins, B.G., Lark, R.M., Lawley, R.L., Entwistle, D. Mee, K. BGS Open Report
Start Year 2016
 
Description Environmental Factors influencing pipe failures 
Organisation Yorkshire Water
Country United Kingdom of Great Britain & Northern Ireland (UK) 
Sector Private 
PI Contribution Modelling Yorkshire Water data to examine geological and environmental factors that may contribute to pipe failures
Collaborator Contribution Yorkshire Water provided 10 years of pipe failure data, along with time for staff to attend Expert Elicitation sessions and a meeting where we disseminated the results of the resaerch and discussed future work possibilities and how we could improve the model. Scottish Water and Dwr Cymru providede staff for discussion meetings based around the presentation of results of the project
Impact Report on NERC Grants NE/M008339/1: Modelling the geological factors in pipe failure for better infrastructure management and NE/NO13026/1 Environmental factors influencing pipe failures. Tye, A.M., Kirkwood, C., Dearden, R., Rawlins, B.G., Lark, R.M., Lawley, R.L., Entwistle, D. Mee, K. BGS Open Report
Start Year 2016
 
Description Research Dissemination session with Scottish Water 
Form Of Engagement Activity A formal working group, expert panel or dialogue
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach National
Primary Audience Industry/Business
Results and Impact Meeting to discuss research results with Scottish water
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2016
 
Description Research meeting with Dwr Cymru (Welsh Water) 
Form Of Engagement Activity A formal working group, expert panel or dialogue
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach National
Primary Audience Industry/Business
Results and Impact Dissemintaion of results of YW project and discussion of what they may maen for Welsh Water and what more we could do
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2016
 
Description Research meetings with YW 
Form Of Engagement Activity A formal working group, expert panel or dialogue
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach Regional
Primary Audience Industry/Business
Results and Impact 1. Expert eleicitation session with Yorkshire Water to find out key factors in pipe failure in YW region
2. Research meeting to explain results of research with Yorkshire Water
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2016