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Printer Friendly VersionSelected Information - Proposed Research

CP407  Sewer Blockages - Predicting Where and When Sewerage
Project Appreciation and Objectives

This project will link directly into a four year EPSRC/STREAM funded Eng D research study, being undertaken by WRc and The University of Exeter. The aim is to move sewer operation and design from empirically derived rules - based on practices evolved over many years under standard conditions - to one that can take account of changes to boundary conditions. These changes can include: input flow regime (water efficiency measures); input solids regime (change in sanitary practices, user behaviour) and sewer condition (defects).

The first stage of this project will create the concept model and identify the data and information requirements to enable fully informed plans for blockage reduction to be developed. It will also provide participants with the opportunity to steer the final output to one that will be readily implemented within their business, leading to better performance of sewers and lateral drains and making proactive maintenance a reality.

Benefits to Clients

  • First steps in new design rules for sewers to accommodate water efficiency drivers while reducing propensity to block.
  • Improved prediction of where and when blockages are most likely to occur.
  • Quantitative assessment of blockage risks and costs for PR14 planning.
  • Outputs from the Eng D programme tailored to participants needs

Work Programme

A detailed, staged, programme will be fine tuned to ensure that the final output will be functional, practical and implementable. The main elements of Stage One will be to:

  1. Review and critically assess current knowledge and practices, drawing heavily from recent WRc work on flows/solids behaviour in small sewers and drains.
  2. Collate and analyse existing experimental data, including participants' data.
  3. Develop a concept model, gap analysis and end-user requirements.

Participants are only being asked to commit to Stage One, subsequent stages will include: model development for sewer blockages; development guidelines for new design principles; extrapolation/validation to real systems; and implementation support.

Project Output

  • Blockage Matrix: the concept model setting out the factors leading to blockages ranked in order of importance together with actions available for mitigation.
  • Gap analysis and action plan to collect data and information needed to develop the business plan for 2014.
  • Detailed, customised plan for remaining programme.

Outputs from subsequent stages will include sewer design rules with low-flow specific guidance, the working predictive model, the final model and an implementation package.

Related WRc Work

  • Effect of reduced water usage on sewer solids movement, CP367, 2009
  • Implications of water efficiency measures "Less Water to Waste" , Environment Agency 2007.
  • Understanding blockages in small diameter pipes and the development of blockage scoring tables, CP283/CP283a, 2007
WRc's Portfolio Programme
Summary of the £1.5 million per annum research programme

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