Lifeline Damage and Fire: Kocaeli, Turkey Earthquake, August 17, 1999
by Charles Scawthorn, Senior Vice President EQE International, Inc.
Lifeline damage was moderate to major, as follows:
Electric power failed within minutes of the earthquake, but was generally restored to most areas within several days. Substations did not appear to be damaged, nor transmission lines or towers, except where the lines crossed the fault. The photograph at right shows a tower pulled over due to the conductors being put in tension at the fault crossing (right lateral fault displacement--fault is to north, or left, of the tower).
Telephone service continued with only minor disruptions, and cell service was reportedly uninterrupted.
Gas there is no domestic underground gas piping in the area. It is unknown as of this writing if there are bulk transmission lines in the area.
Rail rail lines were buckled at fault crossings, but repairs were quickly effected, and rail service restored within several days.
Highways roads and highways were generally undamaged except for several highway bridges intersected by traces of the fault where this put the bridge in tension, spans were pulled off their beam seats, and the spans collapsed. The main motorway connecting Istanbul and Ankara passes along the north shore of Izmit Bay and close to Adapazari in general, it was undamaged.
Water The main source of water is the recently constructed Izmit Water Project, built and operated by Thames Water. It is the largest privatized water project in the world as of this writing, and replaces a variety of low quality sources for the various municipalities in the area. The wholesale system, which begins in the hills south of Yuvacik at a 60 million cu. meter reservoir impounded by a 40 m. high clay core earthen dam, was constructed in the early 1990s. The dam is uninstrumented, and experienced only very minor settlements, although the reservoir is reported to have experienced a 2 m. amplitude seiche. Water is conveyed approximately 4 km. from the dam to a water treatment plant, via a steel pipe of 2.2 m. diameter.
The water treatment plant is 440 million liter/day capacity (110 mgd) and employs a standard treatment process of aeration, flocculation/sedimentation, sand filtration and chlorination. Buildings, in-ground concrete balancing reservoir and equipment were undamaged, with the exception of fiberglass piping in the clarifiers, which are cantilevered downward approximately 3 m. In basins which were not in use at the time, and empty, these trident pipes cracked and/or broke at their upper (base) end. However, sufficient capacity remained for the plant to operate. Daily demand at the time of the earthquake is 2,500 l/s but, following the earthquake, demand increased to 3,200 l/s, which was attributed to leakage along the transmission line. Downstream of the plant, water is conveyed to retail customers via a 2.2 m. spiral-welded steel pipe, which was reportedly undamaged except at clean-out connections at low points, where flanged fittings appear to have cracked at perhaps a dozen locations. The transmission line was being scheduled for a one day outage for Aug. 26 (ie, nine days after the earthquake) for repair of these leaks.
Approximately one km. downstream of the plant, the steel transmission line crosses the fault trace. This location was inspected and found to have approximately a 2 m. right lateral offset but, while some water flowing to the surface was observed (it was raining at the time, however), the pipe was reportedly undamaged at this location.
Impacts of the earthquake on water retailers and urban distribution pipe networks are unknown in detail as of this writing, but it was known that the retailers in general were able to store water in their local distribution reservoirs, but were unable to distribute it due to numerous breaks in the distribution system. Potable water needs were being served by tanker trucks supplied from the Izmit water treatment plant and from several naval vessels in the Bay, and by bottled water.
Wastewater no information was available at the time of writing.
Fire Following Earthquake
A number of ignitions occurred in building collapses, but these were generally confined to the building of origin, due to the prevalent non-flammable building materials. The most dramatic fire was at the Tupras oil refinery, where it appears that two separate fires initiated during the earthquake, as follows:
- A fire initiated in the Crude Unit, a primary processing plant in the Refinery, as a result of the collapse of a 90 meter tall, 10 meter diameter, reinforced concrete stack. The collapse of this large stack into the middle of the units caused extensive destruction, released fuel and was the primary cause of the fire within the process unit.
- A second fire initiated in the Naptha tank farm, independent of the crude unit fire. It appears that this fire initiated as a result of sparks created by bouncing of the floating roof in one of the tanks, during the earthquake. The sparks ignited the Naptha. Such floating roof tanks are common in petroleum facilities, world wide.
- The crude unit fire was initially brought under control relatively quickly. However, the collapse of the stack also broke the pipeline from the burning Naptha tank, upstream of the block valve. This resulted in an unstoppable supply of fuel and the re-ignition of the fire in the crude unit.
- The tank farm fire enveloped 6 tanks, with the ensuing heat damaging other tanks as well.
- The fire in the tank farm spread to an adjacent cooling tower, destroying it. A second cooling tower was destroyed by the ground shaking itself.