Calibration of hydrodynamic model-driven sewer maintenance

Marco van Bijnen, Hans Korving, Jeroen Langeveld, Francois Clemens

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review

1 Citation (Scopus)


Sewer performance is typically assessed using hydrodynamic models assuming the absence of in-sewer defects. As a consequence, hydraulic performance calculated by models is likely to be overestimated, while the real hydraulic performance of the sewer system remains unknown. This article introduces the concept of ‘hydraulic fingerprinting’ based on model calibration to identify in-sewer defects affecting hydraulic performance. Model calibration enables detection of changes in hydraulic properties of the sewer system. Each model calibration results in a set of model parameter values, their uncertainties and residuals. The model parameter values also incorporate the antecedent condition of the catchment of the event calibrated and are therefore less suitable to identify in-sewer defects. The residuals on the other hand, and more specifically their absolute values, statistical properties and the correlation between residuals at different monitoring locations are suitable as indicators of the occurrence of in-sewer defects. This allows the application of ‘hydraulic fingerprinting’ based on model calibration, where the ‘fingerprint’ is defined by the model parameters and the residuals. The concept of ‘fingerprinting’ is demonstrated for the combined sewer system ‘Tuindorp’ (Utrecht, the Netherlands). The results show that ‘hydraulic fingerprinting’ can be a powerful tool for directing sewer asset management actions.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1-19
Number of pages19
JournalStructure & Infrastructure Engineering: maintenance, management, life-cycle design & performance
Publication statusPublished - 2016


  • Hydrodynamic modelling
  • urban drainage
  • sewer systems
  • monitoring
  • maintenance
  • calibration


Dive into the research topics of 'Calibration of hydrodynamic model-driven sewer maintenance'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this