MS in Civil Engineering (M.S.C.E.)
Degree Granting Department
Civil and Environmental Engineering
Mahmood H. Nachabe, Ph.D.
Mauricio Arias, Ph.D.
Qiong Zhang, Ph.D.
Infiltration, Inflow, Infrastructure Rehabilitation, Sanitary Sewer Overflow, Sewer Management
Following large rain events, extraneous freshwater contributions known as inflow and infiltration (I/I) bypass the storm sewer and enter the sanitary sewer system. In areas with a high water table, like Pinellas County and the surrounding Tampa Bay area, a majority of the wastewater infrastructure is submerged year round exacerbating the rate of groundwater infiltration. This excess flow overloads the existing wastewater infrastructure leading to sanitary sewer overflows (SSOs). These SSOs result in serious problems for municipalities and utilities across the country.
This study was performed in order to assist Pinellas County Utilities in rehabilitating their southern sewer system. To do this, 59 sub-basins across 8 sewer zones were monitored through Pinellas County’s Phase 1 Flow Monitoring Program accounting for over 150 miles of gravity pipe. For each sub-basin, a flow meter was utilized to measure the flow from May to October, 2017. This data was analyzed to separately quantify the amount of infiltration and inflow in each sub-basin, respectively. Once quantified, a Severity Index (SI) was developed in order to give each sub-basin a score from 1-100 as it relates to the condition of the gravity mains in the sub-basin. The SI was a function of locational features available with the use of a Geographic Information System (GIS), such as the distance to water bodies and the soil hydrologic group (SHG), as well as intrinsic pipe properties including the type of pipe material and the age of pipe.
Once validated with additional flow monitoring data, the developed SI framework can serve as an additional tool utilized by Pinellas County Utilities to identify areas in need of sanitary sewer rehabilitation. Being that the model only requires easily attainable information, this approach is less time consuming and is inexpensive as compared to traditional flow monitoring efforts.
The study also examined the required monetary investment by Pinellas County Utilities in order to abate the 17 sub-basins observed in the study with an infiltration rate greater than the marginal threshold put forth by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). The study indicated that gravity pipe rehabilitation does not make a significant impact on groundwater infiltration until at least 30% of the gravity pipes in the sub-basin are lined. This is due to the groundwater table submerging a majority of the wastewater infrastructure. Once this threshold is met, lining was observed to abate groundwater infiltration linearly. The results found that $4.4 million will be required to rehabilitate the affected sub-basins to a marginal rate of infiltration and reduce the flow to South Cross Bayou Water Reclamation Facility (SCBWRF) by an average of 0.72 mgd (million gallons per day). On an annual basis, this reduction in flow will result in approximately $650,000 in treatment costs savings.
Scholar Commons Citation
Hillman, Jesse T., "Prioritizing Rehabilitation of Sanitary Sewers in Pinellas County, FL" (2019). Graduate Theses and Dissertations.