Groundwater intrusion into leaky sewer systems

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Courtesy of IWA Publishing

Vast volumes of groundwater are drained by urban sewer systems. This unwanted flow component intrudes into sewer systems through leaky joints or connected house drains. However, unlike urban storm drainage, it has a high seasonal variation corresponding to groundwater storage and long slow recessions similar to baseflow in rivers also fed by shallow groundwater exfiltrating into the surface waters. By applying the nonlinear reservoir algorithm as used for baseflow separation from total flow in a river, groundwater flow is separated from daily measured influents to treatment plants in Lower Saxony and Baden-W├╝rttemberg, Germany and in the Terkos Lake watershed near Istanbul, Turkey. While waste water flows vary only moderately within a year, separated intruded groundwater flows show recessions and seasonal variations correlated to baseflow in neighbouring rivers. It is possible to conclude that recession characteristics of treatment plant influents allow quantification and prediction of groundwater intrusion into sewer systems.

Keywords: baseflow separation, groundwater intrusion, infiltration into sewers, leaky sewer, parasite water, pirate water

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