Earthquake Impacts on Water and Wastewater Utilities

An earthquake is caused by the shifting of tectonic plates beneath the Earth’s surface. Ground shaking from moving geologic plates collapses buildings and bridges, and sometimes triggers landslides, avalanches, flash floods, fires and tsunamis. The strong ground motion of earthquakes has the potential to cause a great deal of damage to drinking water and wastewater utilities, particularly since most utility components are constructed from inflexible materials (e.g., concrete, metal pipes). Earthquakes create many cascading and secondary
impacts that may include, but are not limited to:
•Structural damage to facility infrastructure and equipment

•Water tank damage or collapse•Water source transmission line realignment or damage

•Damage to distribution lines due to shifting ground and soil liquefaction, resulting in potential water loss, water service interruptions, low pressure, contamination and sinkholes and/or large pools of water throughout the service area

•Loss of power and communication infrastructure

•Restricted access to facilities due to debris and damage to roadways


  • gplus
  • pinterest

Author