Aging Water Infrastructure (AWI) Research
- Wastewater Collection Systems
- Water Distribution Systems
- Corrosion of Water Systems
- What is EPA Doing?
- Related Links
It is often cheaper and less disruptive to customers to fix older pipes than installing new pipes. System rehabilitation is the repair, renewal, and part replacement of a water system to near-original condition and operation. EPA research projects include:
- Optimizing repair, rehabilitation, and replacement
- Extending the service life of water systems
- Reducing system failures and their adverse effects on public health and the environment
- Designing low impact systems to manage stormwater
- Identifying, locating, and defining leaks in water systems
Pipe defects can cause blockages. Sewage can overflow and backup into buildings. Water that flows into sewer pipes through defects (holes, cracks, failed pipe joints) can weaken the critical soil-pipe structure. Loss of water from the sewer into the surrounding soil can erode the soil. Although an infrequent occurrence, leakage of sewage into the surrounding soil can lead to groundwater and soil contamination. EPA is evaluating rehabilitation of water system components. EPA is also developing decision support tools to aid in the decision of when to rehabilitate vs. replace. EPA is working with local governments on various demonstrations.
Pipe rehabilitation can increase the life of the systems at a cheaper cost while still delivering quality drinking water. Rehabilitation reduces corrosion, decreases in water flow, potential service disruption, leakage, and breaks.
Corrosion in water distribution pipelines, valves, and fixtures reduces the quality of drinking water that we receive. Corrosion of wastewater pipes can result in the release of untreated wastewater into the environment.
Corrosion can shorten the water systems' life span and increase customer costs. Corroded water mains and sewer pipes can leak or break causing soil erosion and damage roadways. The breaks can also lead to disruption of service to customers. EPA is utilizing corrosion research results to help save infrastructure in households and create a better understanding of the relationship between water chemistry and plumbing life expectancy..
EPA is identifying and demonstrating new technologies to better understand their value, performance and reliability. We are looking at guidance for rehabilitation program, testing and quality assurance. EPA is seeking to develop collection system operation and maintenance programs, including procedures to determine and improve maintenance practices that reduce the need for rehabilitation.