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Virginia Tech to launch WATERiD, a database on water and wastewater pipeline infrastructure systems
August 22, 2011
Unfortunately, more than 2 million miles of the nation’s infrastructure of water and wastewater pipelines are underground and nearing the end of their useful life. For state and local water utilities, making accurate predictions of exactly when the pipes might fail are extremely difficult since they are invisible to the human eye in their buried environmental conditions.
In an effort to address this potentially serious problem, a national database on technologies to assess the conditions and rehabilitation of the underground pipes will be available to utilities and the general public, starting on Thursday, Sept. 1.
Called WATERiD, and subtitled the WATER Infrastructure Database, it is the result of the work of Sunil Sinha, a National Science Foundation (NSF) Career Award recipient in the area of sustainable water infrastructure management systems.
“The proposed database will ensure a single point, information center for the utilities where they can find all the relevant information that will help in expediting the decision making process for the selection of appropriate condition assessment and rehabilitation technologies,” said Sinha, an associate professor of civil and environmental engineering at Virginia Tech.
The Web portal will be the platform for direct sharing and dissemination of relevant water infrastructure information, ranging from background documents, management practices, technologies, models and tools, and standards, to ongoing pipeline condition assessment and renewal engineering projects around the world. It is designed to serve as the first stop for water infrastructure related information and acts as the essential gateway that connects the stakeholders to various information sources scattered online.
Sinha’s graduate students have traveled around the country for the past year, interviewing employees at some 87 water and wastewater utilities, compiling about 100 case studies to date. They also compiled about 300 technical descriptions and 100 technology data sheets of original profiles of the underground pipes.
“We have developed a very robust database. It is necessary because the utilities are very fragmented in their efforts, and this database creates a much more level playing field” for the some 40,000 utilities in the U.S., Sinha said.
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency is funding the four-year study through its Aging Water Infrastructure Research Program that supports the efforts to put the nation’s aging infrastructure on a pathway towards sustainability.
Get all the info here