Stormwater runoff, which consists of rainwater and snowmelt, can cause issues in developed areas where impervious surfaces like roofs and pavement prevent precipitation from soaking into the ground. When water can’t be absorbed into the ground, it can accumulate and cause property damage and flooding, as well as spread disease.
Though California’s most recent drought may have officially ended in early March, that doesn’t mean the City of Angels is out of the woods. Currently, Los Angeles relies on a variety of sources for its potable water needs. Thirty-six percent of its supply comes from the Owens River, Mono Lake Basin and the Sierra Nevada Mountains via the Los Angeles Aqueduct. Another 52% of the city’s water comes from the Colorado River. Approximately 11% of the city’s water comes from groundwater. The remaining portion of the city’s supply, about 2%, comes from recycled water. But a new resolution from Mayor Eric Garcetti’s administration intends to change that: They’ve vowed to recycle all of the city’s wastewater by 2035.
Every four years, the American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE) releases an Infrastructure Report Card grading the United States on 16 major infrastructure categories, as well as the state of the nation’s infrastructure as a whole. In 2017, the U.S. overall tied its grade from 2013 with a D+. Wastewater infrastructure improved its grade from a D in 2013 to a D+ in 2017.
Are you familiar with common wastewater regulations and who enforces them? Find out by taking our Sewer Regulations Quiz and then challenge your coworkers to beat your score.
Today’s municipalities don’t lack data; in fact, modern technologies provide scads of it. The key to effective utility management has become analyzing and assessing that information and using it to make critical operating and maintenance decisions. As municipal budgets continue to diminish and expectations continue to increase, municipalities have been creating tactical sewer asset management plans to better support their workloads. Such has been the case for the City of Vista Wastewater Division.
Hundreds of municipalities rely on the Quickview airHD to assess sewer condition rapidly and affordably.
Now, this trusted tool can measure the distance to objects observed inside sewer pipes. Users can choose between a free app update that provides quick estimates, or deploy a laser rangefinder accessory for more accurate readings. Knowing the distance to pipe features makes it easier to troubleshoot problems and plan repair work.
For most of the U.S. and Canada, autumn is marked by falling temperatures, falling rain and falling leaves. For municipalities and sewer inspection crews, these seasonal changes bring new challenges. While stormwater systems are typically prepared for increases in the volume of water, the added leaf litter can aggravate the treatment process, overwhelm systems and exacerbate existing pipeline defects and deterioration.
Exfiltration is the leakage of wastewater out of a sanitary sewer system through broken or damaged pipes and manholes. Wastewater that leaks out of defective pipe joints and cracks may contaminate ground and surface water and cause a host of other problems, including pipe structure failures due to erosion of soil support, and ground subsidence due to erosion of underground soil.
Like other civil infrastructure in the U.S., many of our sewer, storm and water lines are over 50 years old (BAFuture). One of the biggest issues facing underground infrastructure is corrosion. A study from NACE International estimates the annual direct cost of corrosion for the water and wastewater industry is $36 billion. This cost includes replacing extremely corroded lines; lost water from cracks and breaks; application of corrosion inhibitors, internal linings and external linings; external coatings and cathodic protection.
Sinkholes can be both costly and deadly. The US Geological Survey estimates that sinkholes cause approximately $300 million in damage per year. Natural sinkholes form in Karst terrain—areas with bedrock that can be dissolved by groundwater, which are typically salt beds, limestone or other carbonate rock. Florida, which has large amounts of underground limestone, is particularly susceptible.
Natural sinkholes form when acidic water dissolves the bedrock, forming pathways and channels that are then filled with “overburden,” an upper layer of rock and soil. Man-made sinkholes can occur in any type of terrain, and may form when cracked or leaking pipes provide space for overburden to fall into a pipe and be carried away.