Seamless integration of sewer system topology and tree location data: An algorithm to diagnose the potential impact of tree roots on pipes and propose rearrangement solutions

Wastewater networks are subject to several threats leading to wastewater leakages and public health hazards. External elements such as natural factors and human activities are common causes of wastewater leakages and require more in-depth analysis. Prevention and rehabilitation work is essential to secure wastewater networks and avoid pipe failures. This work presents a new algorithm that allows for the seamless integration of sewer topology and tree location data to diagnose the potential impact of tree roots on pipes. The algorithm also proposes tree rearrangement options that balance the cost of tree rearrangement with the cost of pipe repair. The paper also showcases a real-world case study in the city of Girona to evaluate the performance of the presented algorithms for a specific case focusing on tree roots as a natural factor. Results show that it is possible to optimally rearrange a number of the trees with the greatest impact, significantly minimizing pipe failures and wastewater leakages (82% risk reduction with only rearranging a 12% of the most impactful trees). The rearrangement solution not only protects the environment and prevents public health hazards, but also achieves a positive economic payback during the operational period of the pipes, saving up to 1.33M€ for a tree rearrangement of 7%. The presented methodology is applicable to other natural or human factors ​
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