Quantitative impact assessment of sewer condition on health risk

Marco van Bijnen*, Hans Korving, Jeroen Langeveld, François Clemens

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review

7 Citations (Scopus)
36 Downloads (Pure)


Due to a variety of contaminants in floodwater, exposure to urban pluvial flooding may pose a health risk to humans. In-sewer defects may cause increased pluvial flooding, possibly increasing health risks. This paper addresses the impact of in-sewer defects on urban pluvial flooding and, subsequently, on infection probabilities for humans. As such, it provides a necessary input for risk-informed sewer maintenance strategies in order to preserve the hydraulic performance of a sewer system. Critical locations in sewer networks can be safeguarded through detecting changes in hydraulic properties of the sewer system, by using monitoring equipment or alternative inspection methods. Two combined sewer systems in The Netherlands with different characteristics are studied. The catchment-wide average infection probability was calculated using Quantitative Microbial Risk Assessment (QMRA) and flooding frequencies from Monte Carlo simulations with a hydrodynamic model. For the studied catchments, it is concluded that the occurrence of flooding is significantly affected by sediment deposits and, consequently, the infection probability as well. The impact of sediment deposits on infection probabilities depends on sewer systems characteristics and varies within the catchment. The results in this paper also demonstrate that further research on the relationship between flood duration and infection probabilities is required.

Original languageEnglish
Article number245
Number of pages18
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 2018


  • Health risk
  • Hydrodynamic modelling
  • Sewer maintenance
  • Urban drainage
  • OA-Fund TU Delft


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