840 Series Surge Suppressors


Water Main Breaks and Associated Problems

Pipe breaks within a distribution system occur for a variety of reasons: age, damage, corrosion, poor installation workmanship, incorrect product application and others. Frequent, inexplicable pipe breaks within a water distribution system is an indicator that forces within the pipe system are excessive and a threat to the infrastructure. Any one break is a random
occurrence, but repetitive, reoccurring breaks suggests conditions within the pipe system are a danger and that actions should be taken to reduce or eliminate the risks.

One of the most common conditions within a distribution system is Water Hammer. Also known as fluid hammer, water hammer is a pressure surge or wave that results when a fluid (water)
is forced to stop or change direction suddenly (momentum change). Water hammer commonly occurs when a valve is closed suddenly at an end of a pipeline system and a pressure wave propagates in the pipe.

Water Hammer conditions occur most often during:

  • Sudden Valve Closure (fire hydrants, power failure, etc.)
  • Pump Failure
  • Check Valve slam (due to sudden deceleration, a check valve may slam shut rapidly, depending upon the
    dynamic characteristic of the check valve and the mass of water between a check valve and tank).
  • Rapid expulsion of air from a vent or partially open valve
  • Unexpected pipe breaks or damage – construction damage, traffic accidents, ground shift
  • Severe changed in elevation or grade

Distribution systems are exposed to water hammer and surge conditions and these two forces can result in excessive vibration with in the system, fitting failure, displacement and pipe wall ruptures (i.e. breaks).