Water Main Rehabilitation

Buried No Longer

Water Main Rehabilitation

The nation’s water infrastructure, especially the underground pipes, is aging and in need of significant reinvestment. Like many of the roads, bridges, and other public assets on which the country relies, most of our buried water infrastructure was built 50 or more years ago, in the post-World War II era of rapid demographic change and economic growth. In some older urban areas, many water mains have been in the ground for a century or longer.

Given its age, it comes as no surprise that a large portion of US water infrastructure is approaching, or has already reached, the end of its useful life.  [Buried No Longer Report 2012]

Focus On:

Asset Management

Trenchless Technologies: Pipe Bursting

It was common practice in the last century to design pipeline systems for 50-year service lives. However, in the interest of keeping rates affordable for customers, many water systems did not always charge the full cost of service, which includes pipeline renewal and replacement. Although many factors influence a pipeline's longevity (e.g., soil corrosivity, installation conditions, backfill material, compaction, and pressure surge events), all water pipelines will need to be replaced at some point.

Pipe Bursting

Pipe bursting is a well-established trenchless method for replacing an existing pipeline with a new pipeline that is the same or larger diameter.


Structural Classifications of Pressure Pipe Linings

This Committee report focuses on the primary issues of problem definition and quantitative tests to facilitate product system structural classification for pressure pipe renewal applications.  

This report expands on the definitions of Class I through Class IV pipe linings providing engineering guidance for nonstructural systems typically used for pipe protection to fully structural replacement requirements.

Read More

Condition Assessment of Water Mains

As their infrastructures age, utilities are increasingly challenged to maintain levels of service while keeping water affordable to all. Water main condition assessment helps utilities meet this challenge by identifying more precisely where money is best spent, leaving in place pipelines that have adequate integrity, and preventing the unnecessary failure of others.

M77 Condition Assessment of Water Mains provides technical information to aid utility managers and engineers in making informed decisions, along with practical information about how methods can be deployed. 

Learn More

AWWA Standards for Pipe Rehabilitation

The American Water Works Association first published consensus documents in 1908. Today there are more than 180 AWWA Standards reflecting the state of the industry. As new technologies emerge, new Standards develop.  The Standards listed below are of a sampling of available guidance on water main rehabilitation.

Technical Guidance


AWWA Manuals


AWWA Standards

Go to our bookstore for a complete list of ANSI-approved standards on valves and hydrants.


Opflow | JournalAWWA | AWWA Water Science

To read the full text, click on the article links below, then login following the “Login with AWWA” button. You must be a current member to read the full text.

You may also search additional articles on this or other topics published in the JournalAWWA, Opflow and AWWA Water Science

Water Infrastructure Conference and Exposition

Join us as AWWA hosts the Water Infrastructure Conference & Exposition, an event focused on solutions to infrastructure challenges.  This conference addresses essential asset management planning and programs, the latest on lead service line issues, water loss, operation and maintenance best practices, and reinvestment strategies.  Critical infrastructure protection through emergency preparedness planning and enhanced physical and cyber security measures are also covered.

AWWA Annual Conference and Exposition 

AWWA's Annual Conference and Exposition is where the most current industry topics, issues, and trends will be discussed. The professional program features subject matter experts covering a range of key water topics to address your challenges.

AWWA Policy Statements

AWWA's policy statements are brief statements on protecting and improving water supply, water quality, management, and the interests of the public and the environment. They are written by consensus, subject to review and comment by AWWA committees, councils, and members. Because they represent AWWA's position on these matters, they are approved by the AWWA Executive Committee of the board of directors. 

Technical Committee Engagement

AWWA members are recognized globally for their industry expertise and their generosity in sharing that expertise for a better world through better water. AWWA members participate in committee activities, developing conference programs, writing technical manuals, developing standards, creating educational content and contributing to AWWA publications. Committee members primarily interact through conference calls, emails, and face to face meetings at conferences and events. Access more information on volunteering for an AWWA committee.

The following committees are active in addressing water main rehabilitation:

  • Water Main Rehabilitation
  • Condition Assessment
  • Asset Management