Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)

Legacy Department

Civil Engineering

Committee Member

Dr. Kalyan R. Piratla, Committee Chair

Committee Member

Dr. Leidy Klotz, Co-Chair

Committee Member

Dr. Kapil Chalil Madathil


The recent ASCE report card gave a near failing “D” grade to drinking waterinfrastructure in the U.S. and reported that about 240,000 water main breaks occurannually. The economic, environmental and societal consequences of some of these watermain breaks have been hard to comprehend in the context of risk assessment andrehabilitation planning. In an attempt to understand the various impacts of such failuresand subsequently estimate the overall impact cost, this study synthesized the reportedconsequences of 20 large diameter water main breaks in the U.S., most of which haveoccurred in the recent past, and subsequently estimated the overall cost of the impacts indollar amount. Furthermore, this study identified the factors that aggravated the overallimpact cost of water main failures and also compared the direct costs with the indirectcosts. Direct costs are paid by the utility in the form of emergency repair expenses,whereas the indirect costs are left to be borne by the society. Several factors were foundto influence the overall impact cost of water main failures. It was also found that theshare of indirect costs is more than that of direct costs on an average for the 20 casestudies. Knowledge of true failure costs will better prepare water utilities in appropriatelyprioritizing the deteriorating assets for repair. Documenting the impact costs of morenumber of water main failures will serve as a database that water utilities and otheragencies can use for capital improvement planning.



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