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Triadelphia Reservoir

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In 2007, WSSC Water began installing Acoustic Fiber Optic (AFO) cables to detect the sounds associated with pre-stressed wire breaks on PCCP sections while the pipelines are in service. Once installed, the AFO system continuously monitors the integrity of all the pipes and provides notification to trained personnel if a potential problem is detected in any pipe section.

WSSC Water has a total 145 miles of PCCP ranging from 36” – 96”. As of 2022, 110 miles of WSSC Water’s PCCP is monitored with AFO, making it the longest, active monitoring system in the United States. The Commission also conducts planned inspections. PCCP ranging from 48” – 96” is inspected every 5-6 years. Pipe that is 36” – 48” is inspected every 7-8 years.

Because the design of the pipe, AFO is effective only for PCCP, not for other types of pipe in the system such as ductile iron or cast iron.

In the past decade, inspecting and monitoring WSSC Water's large diameter water mains has been a major priority. This team effort is crucial to the viability and sustainability of our primary mission…delivering water to our customers. The new methods are highly sophisticated and WSSC Water is at the forefront of ever-changing technology. Think of it as CSI – but for pipes.

Last Modified: February 17, 2022, 12:45 pm EST