A Formalized Asset Management Approach to Long-Term Capital Planning and Asset Management

Authors:

  • Ryan Nagel PE, ENV SP - Hazen and Sawyer
  • H.L. (Lenny) Matthews, Jr. PE - City of Norfolk, Department of Utilities

Introduction
The City of Norfolk, Virginia’s Department of Utilities, similar to other public utilities across the country, was facing capital rehabilitation and renewal demands that were soon going to be outpacing corresponding revenue growth. The City recognized the need to proactively reduce overall utility risk and to more accurately plan for long-term capital needs. In order to accomplish these objectives, the City leveraged its largest and most complex facility, the Moores Bridges Water Treatment Plant (MBWTP), as a means of jumpstarting its efforts to establish a more formal, data-centric asset management approach to capital improvement project identification and prioritization.

The MBWTP is a conventional water treatment plant located near the Lake Wright area of Norfolk. With a plant capacity of 108 million gallons per day, it provides treated drinking water to the cities of Norfolk and Virginia Beach, part of the Norfolk Naval Station, and a portion of Chesapeake. The first construction on the Plant site occurred in 1873 with subsequent renovations in the 1950s and 1990s.

Due to the age, size, and magnitude of capital needs at the MBWTP, the City decided to initiate a detailed asset evaluation of the facility, to not only plan for and mitigate pending infrastructure risk to the City, but also to leverage as a pilot and overall guide to conducting similar evaluations of the City’s entire water and wastewater infrastructure assets.

Main Text
The primary goals of the Moores Bridges Asset Evaluation were to identify detailed 30-year capital improvement program elements related to the Plant, along with a current financial valuation of the facility. This presentation will discuss the series of tasks that the City completed that were designed to more accurately estimate the effective useful life of Plant assets based on available asset information and condition inspection:
• Asset Inventory Analysis – the City conducted a desktop asset inventory analysis, reviewed historical operating reports, and conducted site visits to
verify/develop the inventory of Plant assets necessary to appropriately assess risk, determine asset valuation and associated replacement costs, and identify long-term capital needs.
• Risk Assessment – leveraging mobile data collection software and tools, the City evaluated physical and performance conditions of Plant assets to identify any known process, hydraulic, or condition issues that impact cost, efficiency, or operations and identified overall consequence of failure for Plant assets.
• Asset Valuation – the City reviewed asset initial cost information, verified useful life and remaining useful life of Plant assets based on the risk assessment results, determined overall replacement costs of Plant assets, and developed a high-level cost estimate for the construction of a new, comparable water treatment facility of similar capacity to the Moores Bridges Plant.
• Capital Improvement Program Development – the City conducted a risk analysis of Plant assets and prioritized necessary annual renewal and replacement projects using a detailed financial forecasting tool.
• Risk Assessment Training and Documentation – in order to sustain the program into the future, the City ensured that its Operations and Maintenance
(O&M) staff were equipped to identify the current state of repair and operation of the Plant assets as influenced by age, historical maintenance, and service/operating conditions by providing classroom and field training covering the risk assessment methodology, forms, tools, and documentation of the assessment methodologies as Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs).
CMMS Data Enhancement – the City integrated all risk assessment data developed as part of the Moores Bridges Asset Evaluation into its computerized
maintenance management system (CMMS) and provided data update training to its O&M staff.
• Financial Model Training – the City provided hands-on financial forecasting model training to the staff responsible for the development and prioritization of the City’s capital improvement program.

Conclusion
The Moores Bridges Asset Evaluation conducted by the City of Norfolk allowed it to: (1) more accurately plan for long-term capital needs at the Plant; (2) proactively address water infrastructure risk to the City at its largest facility; and (3) lay the groundwork for a more formalized, data-centric, asset management approach across Public Utilities. The Moores Bridges Asset Evaluation helped the City to establish a more focused effort at taking the next large infrastructure planning and improvement step to ensure that a proactive asset management culture and strategy are in place to foster capital optimization and financial and infrastructure sustainability well into the future.

For more information, please contact the author at rnagel@hazenandsawyer.com.

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