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  Condition Assessment of Ferrous Water Transmission and Distribution Systems
State of Technology Review Report
(EPA/600/R-09/055) June 2009



This State of Technology Review Report was developed to serve as the basis for discussion at a Technology Forum on Condition Assessment of Water Transmission and Distribution Systems that was held on September 9 and 10, 2008, at Edison, NJ. It was distributed to the Forum participants for review in advance of the meeting. The Forum and State of Technology Review Report focused on ferrous water mains, which represent two thirds of the installed network. The State of Technology Review Report covers transmission and distribution pipelines with diameters larger than 4 in., but does not include appurtenances or service connections. Comments received have been considered and incorporated, where applicable, into the final document.

The State of Technology Review Report summarizes the current state of the ferrous pipes in the water network, their defects and causes of failure, and the state of condition assessment technologies. It also discusses current barriers to effective use of condition assessment, prospects for short-term and long-term improvement, key performance and cost improvement areas, approaches for measuring success, potential roles of government in accelerating development and acceptance of innovative condition assessment technologies, and approaches for getting utilities to accept effective, innovative technologies and procedures.

The overall goals for the Technology Forum were to describe and discuss user needs, the state of the technology, and applied research and demonstration needs and opportunities regarding condition assessment of ferrous transmission and distribution mains. The Forum convened national and international experts in condition assessment to discuss several key issues. In cooperation with these key stakeholders, the Forum helped identify and characterize specific options for research to accelerate and expand the development and acceptance of innovative, cost-effective water main condition assessment approaches including technologies, procedures, and databases. Better condition assessment approaches can provide substantial added value to utilities by enabling: (a) early detection and economical correction of problem conditions, which reduce both maintenance costs and catastrophic failures, and (b) confirmation that high-risk pipelines are in good condition, which reduces premature replacement.


Michael Royer

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