Preventing Groundwater from Penetrating Pipes

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Provided by Prince William County Service Authority

Updated 12/6/16

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Stopping groundwater and rainwater from getting into a network of more than 1,000 miles of sewer pipes is a large part of what the Prince William County Service Authority’s Infiltration & Inflow (I&I) Department does on a regular basis.

This fall, the Service Authority discovered groundwater entering into the sanitary sewer system through a small, unused section of sewer main near the intersection of Glenkirk Road and Linton Hall Road. The estimated amount of water seeping into the 350-foot line was 68,000 gallons a day – or the equivalent of 24 hours of water consumption by 180 homes. Eventually, that water flowed to the Upper Occoquan Service Authority’s (UOSA) wastewater treatment plant in Centreville to be treated as wastewater.

Since the line is not currently in use, the Service Authority was able to seal it off at the nearest manhole to prevent any more infiltration of groundwater. Ultimately, this discovery will save money on treatment cost, free up capacity at UOSA and, most importantly, help to save our customers money.

According to I&I Manager Rob Wilson, the bulkhead on the pipe failed, allowing water to enter into the sewer main. It is unclear exactly when the failure occurred, but it was likely after improvements were made to the intersection and the line was abandoned, said Wilson.

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