Using Asset Management to Dynamically Drive a CIP

Authors:

  • Josh Farmer, PE - Hazen and Sawyer

Many utilities throughout the United States are facing the reality that their underground sewer assets are deteriorating and many have reached the end of their useful lives. In addition, many are struggling to reduce overflows caused by excessive I/I and blockages from roots and grease. It is almost impossible to know, during a capital budgeting process within a master planning cycle, where all such issues systematically arise and how the origins of these issues can be effectively addressed. Initial budgetary targets are usually located in or near known trouble areas with large concentrations of reactive repairs. Beyond these initial targets, planning and budgeting for further proactive maintenance and repairs is difficult due to the fact that most utilities do not have a good understanding of the condition of the collection system. Utilities therefore struggle to understand how much to spend, where to spend, and when to spend (beyond the initial, more obvious targets), complicating the capital budgeting process.

However, by taking an Asset Management approach and using powerful Asset Management tools, utilities can develop a framework and plan of action to develop a dynamic understanding of system condition, then prioritize where activities should be focused first and commit costs only as critical condition areas are identified. The Asset Management Approach enables a utility to adapt its spending and priorities based on the ever increasing base of system knowledge. Therefore, a true Asset Management approach is a flexible and adaptive framework for developing and refining budgets, providing a valuable measure of continuity and adaptability to the master planning process and allowing the process to do more than create plans that sit on shelves.

This presentation will illustrate the asset management-budget refinement process through two case studies. One is the Continuous Sewer Assessment Program for Sanitation District No. 1 of Northern Kentucky which was developed in 2007 and started implementation in 2008. The second is the Jefferson County Asset Management Program which is currently being developed and implemented.

In April 2007, Sanitation District No. 1 of Northern Kentucky (SD1), which serves over 97,000 customer accounts in Campbell, Kenton, and Boone Counties, entered into a Consent Decree with USEPA Region 4 and the Kentucky Division of Water (KDOW) to address CSOs and SSOs in the sewer system. The Consent Decree required the District to conduct a CMOM self to document their degree of compliance with CMOM requirements. One result of the audit and compliance evaluation was the development of an aggressive and comprehensive Continuous Sewer Assessment Program (CSAP) which included a prioritized and integrated assessment, cleaning and rehabilitation/replacement decision making algorithm. Predictions were made at the beginning of the program for rehabilitation needs based on limited information. After 5 years of implementation, the program has enabled SD1 to have much better understanding of the overall condition of the system and has reduced blockage related overflows by 70%. However, the direction of the program is being reevaluated based on actual results and rehabilitation budgeting is being reassessed now that more than half of the entire system has been inspected. This presentation will discuss the initial set up of the program and the reevaluation and refinement 5 years later.

The second case study is the Jefferson County Asset Management Program. The goal of the Jefferson County Asset Management Program is to develop a set of tools and procedures using the latest technologies that will empower and enable Jefferson County to reduce overflows with a very limited budget. The developed Asset Management Program will allow Jefferson County to prioritize preventative and corrective measures related to the sanitary sewer collection system in order to get the best “bang for the buck”. Most current overflows are caused by blockages from roots and grease. Therefore, a large priority is prioritized and effective cleaning. The program includes the development and use of innovative tools to conduct an overall risk analysis to prioritize this cleaning and to systematically inspect the system to identify opportunities to reduce I/I and overflows. Other highlights include:

• Graphical tools to assist with prioritization of the problems and assist with resolution of problem areas.

• Decision support tools to develop a prioritized rehabilitation plan.

• Flow data analysis tools to efficiently manage and analyze flow data so that prioritization for SSES activities can be done.

• Training and SOPs to empower staff to be more efficient and effective.

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

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