Condition assessment activities can be more than just a window into the current state of your infrastructure. Combining condition assessment activities with asset inventory and management projects can help minimize costs and maximize benefits for a water utility. Utilities can leverage condition assessment activities to develop Inflow and Infiltration (I&I) abatement programs, budget and prioritize Repair and Replace (R&R)-related projects, update Capital Improvement Plans for municipalities, develop asset management programs, and update or generate accurate GIS models.
Combining condition assessment activities with these types of projects is a “Find and Fix” strategy, which can be extremely useful in wastewater or stormwater collection systems using services such as flow monitoring, smoke testing, utility hole inspections, night flow isolations, and CCTV investigations.
These projects are often driven by regulatory requirements such as consent orders or bills such as Senate Bill 53. Using these types of investigatory methods and technology provides a targeted approach to identifying deficiencies within collection systems, thereby reducing Inflow and Infiltration (I&I) entering the system. In addition, combining multiple objectives into a single project stemming from a condition assessment within your collection systems means that tax money is being spent efficiently and strategically to maintain existing infrastructure.
What specific benefits would I see from performing condition assessment activities within my collection systems?
Benefits to this approach include:
- Reduced flows to be treated at wastewater treatment facilities (WWTFs)
- Increased system capacity
- Increased system reliability and resiliency
- Reduced risk of Sanitary Sewer Overflows (SSOs)
- Reduced risk of regulatory consent orders and violations
- Targeted spending of capital budgets for R&R activities
In my work within the water/wastewater industry, I have seen the benefits of identifying these deficiencies through condition assessment activities. While performing condition assessment activities in the field, using GPS receivers and documenting system connectivity and asset attributes allows our team to use this information within our GIS group to update or completely construct asset inventory databases within GIS from scratch. We also leverage this information to provide R&R recommendations, cost estimates, and project prioritization based on risk and the consequence of failure. This targeted approach has resulted in current and future cost savings for our water/wastewater clients.
Combining condition assessment activities with asset inventory and management projects is truly the best way to stretch a utility’s budget, providing the most information while minimizing additional costs.