Transient tests for locating and sizing illegal branches in pipe systems

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Courtesy of IWA Publishing

In pipe systems illegal branches can take away remarkable water resources with negative effects from both the economic and technical points of view. Difficulties in pointing out illegal branches by means of steady-state pressure and discharge measurements are mainly due to the fact that, of course, such systems are not active according to a regular time schedule. In this paper the possibility of using Transient Test-Based Techniques (TTBT) for the location and sizing of branches is shown. Specifically, tests carried out in different branched pipe systems at the Water Engineering Laboratory of the University of Perugia, Italy, show that TTBT allow us to detect branches irrespective of whether they are active or not. To improve the precision of the localization, arrival times of pressure waves are detected by means of wavelet analysis. Finally, a simple relation based on the water hammer theory is proposed to size the branch reliably.

Keywords: apparent losses, illegal connections, pipe system, transient

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