Break Rate Analysis Tool
  • Location
  • Years
  • Data
  • Reports


This Break Rate Analysis Tool was developed by the Southwest Environmental Finance Center (SW EFC) to compare annual main breaks from your system to the US/Canadian average break rates for 7 pipe materials published by Dr. Steven Folkman in 2012 and 2018. These studies clearly demonstrate that the average failure rates for different pipe materials vary dramatically, from a low of 2.6 failures/100 miles/year for polyvinyl chloride (PVC) to a high of 34.8 failures/100 miles/year for cast iron (CI) in the most recent study.

This tool uses data you provide about the material makeup of your system and the number of breaks by material to calculate a theoretical, weighted-average break rate for your system based on the study averages – in other words, the break rate for your system if all of the pipe materials were breaking at the US/Canadian averages.

The tool then calculates a “Break Rate Index” (BRI): a non-dimensional index we developed that is simply your system’s actual break rate/mile/year divided by the theoretical, weighted-average material-specific break rate. If a system-wide BRI = 1, the system pipes are breaking at the US/Canadian average. If a system-wide BRI < 1, then the system pipes are breaking at a rate lower than the US/Canadian average. A system-wide BRI of 2 means that the system-wide, break rate is twice the material-weighted average US/Canadian break rate.

Because we have found that many systems with low overall break rates, nevertheless, have higher (or lower) than average break rates on some materials, you will also be presented material-specific BRIs for any pipe materials that you entered. The material specific BRIs are interpreted just like the system-wide BRI. If, for example, the BRI for CI pipe is 0.5, the break rate on CI pipe in the system is half the US/Canadian average.

This tool is designed for use by US and Canadian drinking water distribution systems but can be used by any system to compare their break rates to US/Canadian averages. It is not unusual for a system Total BRI to be < 1 and for certain materials to have material BRIs significantly higher than 1.

Your results will be presented in an easy to real dashboard with a dial gauges displaying the system wide, and material specific BRIs, and a comparison of the percentage of breaks on each material to the percentage of the system that material makes up.

Please note that we are collecting data with this tool for research purposes, namely the entered pipe and break data, size of population served, and the state in which you are located if you submit that information. No IP addresses or other identifying information is collected. If you wish to opt out of data collection you can still use this tool. Simply leave the state/province field blank.

Unit of Measure (mandatory field)

Length of pipe may be entered in miles or feet. This will be used when entering total system breaks by pipe type when you reach the break rate data entry page. If you find that you have seleted one unit of measure and decide to change, you can return to this page to select another. Any data entry already saved on the break rate data entry form will be converted and available when you revisit that page.

Unit of Measure for Pipe Length

Utility Location

Location and population severd are not required fields. If you would like to assist the SW EFC in its ongoing break rate analysis research, this information would be helpful. If you would prefer to keep this information private, simply leave these fields blank.

Select your State

Select Your Province

What size population do you serve?