Liquefaction fragility of sewer pipes derived from the case study of Urayasu (Japan)


The damage on supply and drainage water networks is a serious cause of economic disruption for urban systems affected by earthquakes. Among various concerns, the ruptures of sewer pipes and manholes generated by liquefaction determine a particularly severe sanitary hazard and require extensive, costly and time-consuming repairs. Quantitative risk assessment carried out with the characterisation and geographical mapping of seismic hazard, subsoil susceptibility, physical and functional vulnerability of the exposed elements, enables to estimate losses, identify weaknesses, inspire strategies to mitigate the impact of earthquakes and improve resilience. The present study deals with the physical vulnerability of sewer pipelines. Empirical fragility functions are derived from the evidences of liquefaction induced in Urayasu (Japan) by the 2011 Tohoku-Oki earthquake (Mw9.0). The spatial distribution of seismic signals, subsoil characteristics, pipes and surveyed damages are reconstructed in a GIS platform. An articulated methodology is developed to correlate variables and compensate their limited spatial correspondence, exploiting the complete coverage of the area with terrestrial settlements measured by LiDAR and their strong correlation with damage. Finally, ruptures of pipes are probabilistically quantified adopting a common liquefaction severity indicator as engineering demand parameter and measuring the efficiency of relations with statistical tests.

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Adapted from (Konagai et al. 2013)

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Adapted from (Yasuda et al. 2012)

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The present research has been carried out thanks to the contribution of the EU funded project LIQUEFACT “Assessment and mitigation of liquefaction potential across Europe: a holistic approach to protect structures/infrastructures for improved resilience to earthquake-induced liquefaction disasters” (Project ID 700748 funded under the H2020-DRS-2015). Authors are deeply indebted to Professor Susumu Yasuda and Professor Kohji Tokimatsu for their fundamental support and cooperation.

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Baris, A., Spacagna, R.L., Paolella, L. et al. Liquefaction fragility of sewer pipes derived from the case study of Urayasu (Japan). Bull Earthquake Eng (2020).

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  • Liquefaction
  • Sewerage
  • Subsidence
  • Vulnerability
  • Validation