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research-article

A BILLION DOLLARS A YEAR IN UNDERGROUND WATER MAIN FAILURES CAN BE STOPPED

[+] Author and Article Information
Robert Leishear

ASME Fellow Leishear Engineering, LLC, 205 Longleaf Court, Aiken, South Carolina, 29803
leishear@aol.com

1Corresponding author.

ASME doi:10.1115/1.4044423 History: Received March 03, 2019; Revised July 31, 2019

Abstract

Most underground water main breaks can be stopped, since the technology is now available to evaluate water system piping failures and determine corrective actions. The problem is defined in terms of several variables. 1. Water hammer is the initiator of nearly all underground water main breaks. 2. In non-acidic soils, fatigue directly causes piping cracks. 3. In acidic soils, water hammer cracks the pipes, and crevice corrosion is accelerated at those crack sites. Additionally, those cracks serve as moisture sources to induce piping surface corrosion due to galvanic corrosion between the soil and metallic pipe wall. Even so, some failures are solely due to corrosion. 4. Dynamic pipe stresses are significantly larger than stresses caused by static loading, i.e., hoop stresses and strains may be as much as four times the calculated static stress due to water hammer. 5. If dynamic stresses are not considered, calculations incorrectly conclude that water mains will not be damaged. 6. That is, water hammer calculations determine pressure surge magnitudes that are multiples of the operating pressures, where dynamic effects cause fatigue cracks due to the applied pressures and the number of cycles for those pressures to break water mains.

Copyright (c) 2019 by ASME
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