Exfiltration from sewers is widespread and emerging legislation may require water service providers to identify, and rectify, its sources in sewerage systems. This paper describes exfiltration test apparatus and a series of experiments undertaken using sewage to gain a better understanding of the influence of sewage solids and sediments on leakage rates. An overview of the results obtained is given, which demonstrates that most previous estimates of exfiltration leakage rates were too high due to a lack of appreciation of the “self-repairing” action of sewage and sewage associated solids. Exfiltration rates of 0.1% of the sewer flow or 0.001 l/s have been recorded for defects up to 6 mm wide.

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