PODDS VI - Tactical and Strategic Discolouration Management


The Discolouration Issue
Within water distribution systems there is a continuous cycle of hydraulically mediated particulate material layer generation and mobilisation from the pipe wall. Discolouration as the foremost customer observed water quality failing is principally a result of flows exceeding the conditioned state of the material layers present. This leads to rapid uncontrolled mobilisation of accumulated material from the pipe wall into the bulk fluid. Thus it is critical to have knowledge of the current layer state and be able to predict the discolouration response for possible hydraulic scenarios. From this, intervention strategies, both tactical and strategic, can be designed and implemented to manage the discolouration risk.
Proposal Summary
Through a nationally coordinated set of scientific drinking water distribution system (DWDS) trunk main studies involving a consortium of water suppliers, discolouration behaviour will be investigated and evidence based pro-active tactical and strategic operational tools and strategies developed and validated. Individual site study results will be directly applicable and of benefit to those specific sites, whilst co-ordinating results across the consortium will allow development of a nationwide database to help understand the factors influencing regeneration.

Two independent but complementary computing techniques will be explored and developed for analysis and interpretation of turbidity response to operational changes in flow. These complementary novel approaches will allow the practical and operational effectiveness of tactical and strategic flow/turbidity control to be planned and assessed. The techniques will also allow investigation of regeneration factors between sites including seasonal (temperature?) variation, hydraulic conditions and organic and in-organic water characteristics. In addition it is hoped that at some selected sites different maintenance strategies may be applied and changed over the period of study, such as short weekly flow increases or longer interval, longer duration flow increments. This will inform development of optimum longer term operational strategies, potentially including information on downstream impacts from the different strategies to mitigate discolouration risk.

• To undertake field studies to evidence a framework such that tactical and strategic DWDS management policies can be planned and implemented to mitigate for discolouration incidents.
• To investigate the use, application and operational requirements of tactical smart alarms developed through machine-learning techniques based on measured flow data to predict discolouration response in trunk mains.
• To validate PODDS VCDM (Variable Condition Discolouration Model) modelling tool and parameters, with particular emphasis on movement to continuous modelling with improved predictive capabilities.
• To perform a detailed quantification of asset deterioration rates in trunk mains based on PODDS VCDM calibration. This will inform strategic distribution and operation maintenance strategies.
• Improve understanding of DWDS discolouration processes and factors influencing asset deterioration rates enabling best intervention decision making for managing discolouration risk within a TOTEX framework.







Senior Researcher - Dr. Stewart Husband

Project Management - Professor Joby Boxall

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