The U-M is evaluating the structural performance of two in-situ pipe renewal technologies in an active 100 year old water main ten feet below ground in the city of Detroit. Strain, pressure and temperature sensors were installed to collect data locally which is then transmitted back to U-M for analysis.
Number of cents to buy a ½ gallon of milk when the Kercheval water main was installed in 1913
Number in billions of dollars that the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency estimates that will be needed to maintain and replace existing drinking water systems nationally over the next 20 years.
GLWA’s fresh water treatment capacity in billions of gallons per day
The Great Lakes Water Authority (GLWA) manages a large and complex water distribution system vital to the delivery of drinking water to communities across the Detroit metropolitan region including 803 miles of transmission mains, three intake facilities, 19 booster pump stations and 32 water storage reservoirs. The majority of the water transmission system was installed during decades of urban growth in Detroit, most notably during the 1920’s and 1960’s. There are several different types of water transmission pipe in the GLWA system. Many of these pipes are well over 50 years old with some over 100 years old.
Because the region has such an aging inventory of critical water infrastructure, GLWA is looking for ways to rehabilitate large diameter water mains without actually having to dig up city streets which can disrupt the lives of community members, is expensive and time consuming. For this project, GLWA selected a 218 foot section of four foot diameter cast iron pipe on Kercheval Ave. between St Clair and Harding Streets in Detroit. The pipe is approximately ten feet below the paved street. This section of water main was initially installed in 1913. Cast iron pipe was installed for transmission of potable water from the 17th through the mid-20th century and represents some of the oldest pipe in the GLWA system. Two different renewal technologies were installed by Structural Technologies, Inc., a nationally known structural repair company. One is a more traditional process of manually installing reinforcing steel wire and concrete mortar. The other is a more experimental technique using robotically installed modern fiber reinforced polymer materials.
The U-M team developed a unique structural monitoring system to assess strain, pressure, and temperature to evaluate the structural performance of the rehabilitated sections of pipe. A total of 15 strain channels with numerous individual strain gages were installed. In addition, temperature sensors were installed to gather data from both inside and outside the pipe. Finally, pressure is measured inside the pipe. Construction activities and the monitoring equipment installation occurred over a four week period between July and August of 2020. The Kercheval Ave. water main was brought back into service (i.e., re-pressurized to roughly 65 psi) on October 7, 2020. UM will evaluate the performance of the pipe sections over a period of one year. Following this evaluation period, the pipe will again be taken out of service to allow for detailed visual inspections inside the pipe.
University of Michigan and the Great Lakes Water Authority
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Donald Malloure Department Chair, Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering
Professor of Civil and Environmental Engineering
Professor of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science
Jerome P. Lynch, Ph.D. has been a member of the faculty at the University of Michigan since 2003. He is currently the Donald Malloure Department Chair of Civil and Environmental Engineering. He is a Professor of Civil and Environmental Engineering and a Professor of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science. In addition to his work as the Director of the U-M Urban Collaboratory Initiative, he is also the Director of the Laboratory for Intelligent Systems Technology (LIST).
Dr. Lynch’s work focuses on the boundary between traditional civil engineering and related engineering disciplines (such as electrical engineering, computing science, and material science), converting infrastructure systems into more intelligent and reactive systems through the integration of sensing, computing, and actuation technologies. These cyber-physcial systems (CPS) greatly enhance performance while rendering them more resilient against natural and man-made hazards.
Dr. Lynch completed his graduate studies at Stanford University where he received his Ph.D. in Civil and Environmental Engineering in 2002, M.S. in Civil and Environmental Engineering in 1998, and M.S. in Electrical Engineering in 2003. Prior to attending Stanford, Dr. Lynch received his B.E. in Civil and Environmental Engineering from the Cooper Union in New York City. He has co-authored one book and over 200 articles in peer reviewed journal and conferences. Dr. Lynch has been awarded the 2005 ONR Young Investigator Award, 2009 NSF CAREER Award, 2009 Presidential Early Career Award for Scientists and Engineers (PECASE), 2012 ASCE EMI Leonardo da Vinci Award and 2014 ASCE Huber Award.