Most buried potable water distribution systems in colder regions of Alaska rely on pitorifices to provide circulation between the water main and service connections for freeze protection. Pitorifices are scoops which project into the main. When water is circulated in the main, they create a differential head which induces flow through dual service lines. Pitorifices have provided an inexpensive and simple alternative to installing a small pump at each service to provide circulation. However, very little information was available on the hydraulic performance of these devices. The objectives of this study were to: (i) develop techniques to measure pitorifice performance in the field; (ii) characterize performance of commonly used pitorifice shapes with different insertion depths and relative sizes in full-scale testing; (iii) develop an improved shape; (iv) research the competing technology of small pumps; and (v) present the information in a way that is useful to engineers. An inexpensive device for field checks of both differential head and flow rates at service lines was developed and the use of a low head loss meter was initiated. Methods and results of field studies in four different water systems are presented. Five commonly used pitorifice shapes and four new shapes were evaluated. The best shape was found to be one of the existing shapes, which is also one of the easiest to produce but not the most popular. It was also determined using a larger service line size can be cost effective. Test results are graphed and a theoretical framework is provided for designers. Smaller, energy efficient pumps may provide a cost effective alternative to pitorifices in some situations. Requirements for small pumps used for circulation in place of or to supplement pitorifices are given. Performance test results for different pumps are presented, most of which have not been used previously for service line circulation. Pumps with significantly lower operating costs than those in current use are identified. Several of these pumps were installed in services for long term testing.
Thesis (Ph.D.) University of Alaska Fairbanks, 1995
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