PODDS V - Processes Governing Trunk Main Asset Deterioration

Microbial Viability and Discolouration in Trunk Mains - a proposed two-year consortium funded research project building on the PODDS research and innovations

Proposal Summary

The processes that govern the generation of material layers on the boundary surfaces in water distribution systems are poorly understood. Discolouration resulting from the mobilisation of these layers causes the greatest number of water-quality-related contacts. With increased knowledge, water utilities may identify, justify and implement strategies to reduce the rate of asset deterioration caused by the development of these layers and effectively and efficiently manage associated discolouration risk.

Such strategies might be through changes in treatment processes, thus benefiting entire networks, or through distribution operation and maintenance strategies focusing on identified risk sections. With improved understanding, the incidence of discolouration events may be reduced, asset life extended and savings made on both operational and capital expenditure. Recent laboratory-based research at the University of Sheffield has shown that biofilms play a central role in discolouration material layer formation and characteristics, and hence that field-derived understanding of biofilms is essential.

This research proposes to extend the world-leading knowledge and the application of validated tools for managing discolouration developed during previous PODDS projects. The outcome will be to encompass the processes that govern the generation of material layers within distribution systems, with particular respect to integrating the role of biofilms. Industrial partner collaboration is essential to gain access to trunk mains where in-situ studies may be undertaken. Contributions to the project will include microbiological, computing, network analysis, sensor and discolouration modelling expertise from the University of Sheffield, together with studies using the internationally recognised Pennine Water Group laboratory pipe rig.








Senior Researcher - Dr. Stewart Husband

Project Management - Professor Joby Boxall

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