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Water Distribution Valve Topology For

Water Distribution Valve Topology For

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Reliability Engineering and System Safety
42 (1993) 21-27
Water distribution valve topology forreliability analysis
Thomas M. Walski
Wilkes University, PO Box 111, Wilkes-Barre, Pennsylvania 18766, USA
This paper points out the importance of adequate valving in providing waterdistribution system reliability and the problems in assessing the reliability of awater distribution system, using a link-node representation commonly foundin pipe network models. The paper suggests using an approach involving'segments' of a distribution system that can be isolated with valves as the basicunit for assessing reliability, and illustrates the use of a graphical approach toanalyze the adequacy of valving.INTRODUCTIONMost techniques for quantitatively analyzing waterdistribution system reliability have at their heart sometype of hydraulic pipe network model. The hydraulicmodel represents the real water distribution system asa collection of links (pipes) and nodes (junctions).While this representation is very good for hydraulicanalysis, it has some weaknesses when used toevaluate the reliability of a system.The key weakness in the link-node representationis correctly describing what happens when a pipebreaks and must be isolated for maintenance orrepair. Most investigators represent a pipe being outof service by removing the link associated with thatpipe from the hydraulic model. For example, Goulterand Coals I equate a link with a pipe in a networkmodel. Ormsbee and Kessler 3 and Tung
et al.3
use theword 'components' when discussing reliability, butequate a water distribution component with a link in apipe network model. The remainder of this paper willdemonstrate that the link-node representation can bemisleading and will propose and illustrate analternative representation for identifying how valvingeffects the portion of the system that is out of service.Bouchart and Goulter 4 are the only researchers toconsider valve location explicitly in a reliabilityanalysis. They assumed that each pipe link initiallyhad a valve at each end and they determined thenumber of 'interior valves' to improve reliability.They found that the first few valves significantly
Reliability Engineering and System Safety
0951-8320/93/$06.00© 1993 Elsevier Science Publishers Ltd, England.increased reliability, but the impact diminished witheach new valve added.21
The most important problem with the link-noderepresentation is that it fails to account for the waythat pipes are connected in real water distributionsystems and how they are isolated for repair. Pipes areisolated by closing valves along a pipe. In real waterdistribution systems these valves are not necessarilylocated at the end of each pipe. Instead of removing asingle link when a pipe is taken out of service, theutility removes an irregular shaped collection of linksand nodes. (A related problem is that not all valvescan be located and operated even if they did exist.)Valves are the key to providing water distributionsystem reliably. A system without valves would becompletely crippled during every pipe break ormaintenance event requiring a shutdown. Not enoughattention has been given to the importance of valvesand their placement in distribution systems.Bouchart and Goulter 4 and other researchersassumed that individual pipe links could be isolatedwith valves at each end. This is not current practice inthe water industry. If there are n pipe links cominginto an intersection, there will almost always be fewerthan n valves in that intersection.To quantify the error introduced by assuming eachpipe link has a valve at each end, the author examined
Thomas M. Walski
the link-node representation for a detailed pipenetwork model of a portion of the Austin, Texas,water distribution system (Sheet F-37). Of the 59 linksin that area, 34% had no valves, 42% had one valve,16% a valve at each end, 3% had two valves (but notat each end) and 3% had three valves. This section istypical of the author's experience with many otherwater systems. Therefore, assuming that it is possibleto isolate individual pipe links is incorrect.
Simple intersection
Consider the intersection of pipes 1, 2, 3 and 4 in Fig.1. If one of the pipes connected at that intersectionshould fail and must be shut down, the link-noderepresentation would only be accurate in case A inwhich each link had an operable valve at each end. Asdemonstrated above, this is generally not the case.In practice, most design engineers would not placefour valves at a cross-type intersection as shown inFig. 1. Two or three valves at such an intersection areabout all that are usually included, as shown in case Bwhere a failure in pipe 1 will take portions of links 2, 3or 4 out of service. In case B, a failure in pipe 1 wouldalso take the intersection of the four pipes out ofservice.Another way of connecting pipes in an intersectionis case C in which the pipes are in separate planes andare connected by a short 'dogleg' connection with avalve. In this case a shutdown of pipe 1 wouldautomatically take out link 3, but would not take outlinks 2 and 4, and would leave links 2 and 4connected.
Grid system
Now consider a more common situation of a griddedpipe network shown in Fig. 2(A). As shown in Fig.2(B), a pipe failure at point X would remove fourlinks and three nodes from the pipe network. Aneight-valve shutoff for a single pipe repair is not a
/\ B C
Fig. 1. Alternative vaiving at node.
I- I I
A I -~- I
+, +,
I I I-~t
i iII I
I 1
2. Extent of outage due to piping break.desirable situation, but does occur regularly, espe-cially in systems without regular valve maintenance.Figure 2(C) shows that if valves are installed andoperable at points A and B, then the failure wouldonly take one link and no nodes out of service.
Transmission versus distribution
The representation of the distribution system in themodel is especially difficult in the case of a pipenetwork model that combines large transmissionmains with smaller distribution mains. Just asinterstate highways have no intersections or trafficlights, large transmission mains have few connectionswith the water distribution grid and few valves.Figure 3 shows such a case where a 36 in (900 mm)water transmission main shares the north-southright-of-way with an 8 in (200 mm) distribution main.In good design, the two sets of pipes are somewhatisolated so that a failure of the 36 in has little directeffect on the distribution grid while a failure in the
Water distribution valve topology
8" 36" i"6"12"
3. Example with distribution and transmission mains insame right-of-way.distribution grid would have little impact on the 36 inpipe. For convenience, though, many modelers wouldrepresent each intersection as a single node as shownin the model representation on the right of the figure(or might even eliminate the 8in north-south pipebecause its carrying capacity is negligible whencompared with the 36 in).Hydraulically, the model representation in Fig. 3would work very well. Now suppose that a breakoccurred at point A as shown in the smallerillustration. The model would need to be broken asshown. A link and node would need to be removed.The implication is that the topology of the systemchanges with each pipe outage and the traditional wayof representing this interaction is inaccurate.The above examples illustrate that the key factor inanalyzing the hydraulics of a distribution systemduring an outage is knowing the location of operablevalves and reorganizing the system to reflect theextent of the shutdown due to the outage. Simplyremoving a pipe link from a model is misleading.
Importance of laterals
Another problem is that, in determining the reliabilityof an individual pipe link, most investigators assumethat a pipe has a failure rate associated with a singlediameter and is made of a uniform material. The 36 inpipe in Fig. 3 would have a very low break rateassociated with it because of the low break rategenerally associated with large mains.However, many large transmission mains often havedrain hydrants at low points so that the pipe can bedrained for maintenance. A typical such installation isshown in Fig. 4. The reliability of the entire 36 in(91.4 cm) pipe is reduced by the fact that a failure inthe 6in (15.2cm) hydrant lateral can take a largesection of the 36 in line out of service. (Because of
4. Example showing lateral as part of transmissionmain.their cost, valves are used very sparingly in largetransmission mains; e.g. a 36 in gate valve costs in theorder of $40 000). Reliability analysis needs to accountfor the chance of an outage in laterals and servicelines that cannot be isolated from the large main.ALTERNATIVE TOPOLOGYThe preceding section demonstrated that the locationand condition of isolating valves significantly impactthe extent of an outage due to a pipe failure or othermaintenance event which may require taking a pipeout of service. Simply removing a link from ahydraulic model does not capture the effect of a pipeoutage in most instances.
Distribution system segments
What is needed is a way of describing the portion of awater distribution system that can be isolated byclosing valves. This author has used the word'segment' to describe such a pipe or collection ofpipes 5 and to highlight the difference between asegment and a network model link. Figure 5 shows thenetwork for Fig. 2 broken into segments.Segments provide a way for a water utility to assessquickly the susceptibility of a system to a single pipebreak. Figure 5 shows that a break in segment 2 wouldrequire turning a large number of valves to achieve ashutout and would leave a fairly large number ofcustomers without water.If the segments could be shown in color on a map ora computer monitor, it would be very easy to identifysegments that are likely to magnify a small pipe breakinto a major shutdown. A color graphics display ofsegments would be helpful to a utility in determiningif the distribution system has adequate valving.

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