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Water Science & Technology Vol 67 No 12 pp 2712–2718 © IWA Publishing 2013 doi:10.2166/wst.2013.176

Assessment of detection limits of fiber-optic distributed temperature sensing for detection of illicit connections

Jaap Nienhuis, Cornelis de Haan, Jeroen Langeveld, Martijn Klootwijk and François Clemens

Royal HaskoningDHV, Barbarossastraat 35, P.O. Box 151, 6500, AD, Nijmegen, The Netherlands E-mail: j.g.langeveld@tudelft.nl
Delft University of Technology, Department of Sanitary Engineering, Faculty of Civil Engineering and Geosciences, P.O. Box 5048, NL-2600, GA, Delft, The Netherlands
Municipality of Breda, P.O. Box 90156, NL-4800, RH, Breda, The Netherlands


Distributed temperature sensing (DTS) with fiber-optic cables is a powerful tool to detect illicit connections in storm sewer systems. High-frequency temperature measurements along the in-sewer cable create a detailed representation of temperature anomalies due to illicit discharges. The detection limits of the monitoring equipment itself are well-known, but there is little information available on detection limits for the discovery of illicit connections, as in mixing of sewers, and attenuation also plays an important role. This paper describes the results of full-scale experiments aiming to quantify the detection limits for illicit connections under various sewer conditions. Based on the results, a new monitoring set-up for (partially) filled sewer conduits has been proposed.

Keywords: detection limit; DTS; foul sewer; illicit connections; temperature monitoring; storm sewer

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