Identifying areas where deteriorating sewer infrastructure is in close proximity to surface waterways is needed to map likely connections between sewers and streams. We present a method to estimate sewer installation year and deterioration status using historical maps of the sewer network, parcel-scale property assessment data, and pipe material. Areas where streams were likely buried into the sewer system were mapped by intersecting the historical stream network derived from a 10-m resolution digital elevation model with sewer pipe locations. Potential sewer leakage hotspots were mapped by identifying where aging sewer pipes are in close proximity (50-m) to surface waterways. Results from Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania (USA), indicated 41% of the historical stream length was lost or buried and the potential interface between sewers and streams is great. The co-location of aging sewer infrastructure (>75 years old) near stream channels suggests that 42% of existing streams are located in areas with a high potential for sewer leakage if sewer infrastructure fails. Mapping the sewer-stream interface provides an approach to better understand areas were failing sewers may contribute a disproportional amount of nutrients and other pathogens to surface waterways.
Read the article in Landscape and Urban Planning.