Protecting Public Health with Improved Water Service

Benton Harbor, Michigan, USA

Benton Harbor’s aging water system needs upgrading to maintain service and protect public health into the future, but the city has limited funds. Professor Glen Daigger and his team are identifying action to be taken now to improve the city’s water system, using risk assessment and risk analysis techniques, as well as mobile sensors to assess system condition.

Health Theme Water Theme

Funding Sources

Urban Collaboratory

City of Benton Harbor Operating Funds

About the Project

The initial objective is to develop an improved assessment of the condition of Benton Harbor’s water distribution system. An existing water distribution hydraulic model is used to assess water pressure expected throughout the system, assuming that it is fully intact.

These results were then compared to historical pressure measurements made by the Fire Department to identify sections of the water distribution system where pressures deviate from those predicted by the model, indicating the presence of factors to be addressed, such as closed valves and/or sections with leakage. This assessment is used to determine locations to deploy mobile sensors to obtain a more contemporary assessment of system condition.

 

This initial assessment will then provide the data to assist the City in developing a phased improvement plan. Low pressures are a water service quality concern (sufficient pressure is needed to ensure adequate water supply to customers, water quality concern (low pressures suggest the potential for the intrusion of extraneous water into the system), and less than desired fire flow, if needed.

 

The research team will be deploying mobile sensors in Benton Harbor in the fall of 2018 to further refine the assessment of areas to focus improvement activities on. The data collected will provide the basis for developing a prioritized improvement and assessment plan going forward.

 

 

 

Project goals include:

  •  Summary and assessment of current City of Benton Harbor water supply system management and upgrade activities.
  •  Assessment of opportunities to integrate probabilistic risk management techniques into on-going water supply system management and upgrade activities.
  •  Standard operating procedures for probabilistic techniques selected for implementation.
  •  Assessment of benefits provided by probabilistic risk management techniques following one year of use.

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