Analyzing municipal blockage failure datasets for sewer systems

Document Type

Conference Proceeding

Publication Date



Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering


The objective of this research is to analyze historical records of random nonmechanistic failures in civil infrastructure systems. In this paper, we particularly focus on blockage failures in sewer systems that result from combination of external factors, such as variations in usage loads, construction quality and soil characteristics. The study uses historical blockage failure records maintained by municipalities. However, such datasets often tend to be incomplete and/or not representative of failure patterns. We discuss the application of statistical tests - specifically the Kolmogorov-Smirnov (KS) test and Anderson-Darling (AD) goodness-of-fit test - to estimate (i) if the datasets are complete and representative enough, and (ii) estimate parameters of distributions that appropriately characterize failure event arrival pattern. A dataset consisting of sewer blockage failures for ten years from a small municipality in the State of Michigan was used. The methods discussed in this paper can be used to implement reliability models of other related infrastructure systems as well. Copyright 2010 ASCE.

Publication Title

Construction Research Congress 2010: Innovation for Reshaping Construction Practice - Proceedings of the 2010 Construction Research Congress