An Analysis of Sewer Main Failures Related to Tree Root Intrusion

Authors: Chad Rogers*, DC Water
Topics: Spatial Analysis & Modeling, Urban Geography, Water Resources and Hydrology
Keywords: Tree, Root, Sewer, Spatial Analysis, Wastewater, Utility, Planning
Session Type: Poster
Day: 4/4/2019
Start / End Time: 9:55 AM / 11:35 AM
Room: Lincoln 2, Marriott, Exhibition Level
Presentation File: Download


DC Water manages a sewer system comprised of approximately 1,900 miles of combined, sanitary, and storm water sewers. Tree roots are one of the primary Operational and Maintenance problems for DC Water. Tree roots may intrude into sewers and cause a variety of issues, including an increased severity of structural defects, and an inhibition of wastewater flow that can contribute to Sanitary Sewer Overflows (SSOs). The corrective maintenance associated with these problems can be costly from both an operational expenditure and regulatory perspective. DC Water has an existing preventative maintenance program to chemically treat sewers that have a known history of tree root intrusion. However, the sewers included in this program are not necessarily those at the highest risk for being affected by tree root intrusion. Additionally, the budget allocated for this program is only enough to address a small portion of the sewer system. Beginning in 2015 a greater emphasis was placed on detailed reporting and documenting assets associated with service orders in DC Water’s CMMS, Maximo. It is increasingly feasible to use these records to contribute to spatial analysis. This study examines the sewer main failures related to tree roots that occurred in FY 2015 through FY 2018, and their relationship with District Department of Transportation Street Trees. The goal of this study is to determine which trees and sewers present the highest risk of problems related to tree root intrusion to help DC Water optimally manage tree root intrusion within its sewer system.

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