Coming Into Focus

CTAM Success Online & In Classroom Reveals Growing Emphasis on Asset Management

Across the United States, water and wastewater utilities continue to deal with challenges ranging from aging infrastructure, water loss and drought management to water resource recovery and combined sewer overflows amid increasing regulations. For municipalities, oftentimes many of these challenges occur simultaneously. Even as new technology continues to be implemented to help monitor the condition and operation of assets, a process to streamline utility management and finances can be of great benefit. The growing acceptance and implementation of asset management initiatives has become a focus in solving these problems.

In particular, the Certification of Training in Asset Management (CTAM) program has served as a comprehensive educational tool for utility leaders since 2010. Thanks to CTAM, these utility managers can not only become better equipped at managing utility principles and concepts for buried infrastructure, but also become certified in this area.?? ?

The CTAM program was developed by the Buried Asset Management Institute-International (BAMI-I) in conjunction with the Trenchless Technology Center (TTC) at Louisiana Tech and Indiana University-Purdue University at Indianapolis, and in partnership with?UIM: Water Utility Infrastructure Management?journal. The program is hosted by the Trenchless Technology Center.

The Buried Asset Management Institute (BAMI) was first established in 2003 in the Department of Watershed Management (DWM) for the City of Atlanta. It was a concept developed by then Atlanta Mayor Shirley Franklin, DWM Commissioner Jack Ravan and Dr. Tom Iseley, founder of the Trenchless Technology Center and eventual BAMI-I chair. The following year, the program transitioned to a non-profit organization and became the Buried Asset Management Institute-International (BAMI-I). It was then selected for an EPA cooperative Agreement Grant in 2006, the grant program being completed in 2008.

Overview of CTAM Courses

The first CTAM course, CTAM-100, was first launched in 2010. This course is an introduction to asset management concepts ? with special emphasis on its application to buried assets associated with water and sewer systems. The success of CTAM-100 led the program administrators to broaden its initial scope and provide more detailed training in an expanded sphere of utility system concerns. Three additional training courses were then developed, beginning with the launch of CTAM-200 in June 2013.

CTAM-200 focuses on a utility?s buried assets such as pipes, manholes and valves that are ?out-of-sight and out-of-mind.? The course introduces the internationally accepted ?Total Asset Management Plan? concept and terminology and focuses on modifications to address current North American priorities, such as developing a basic Buried Asset Management Program for water and wastewater infrastructure. In this effort, the course provides guidance for program design and implementation; long-range planning; selecting data collection methods; data storage and access; database management; and asset condition assessment.

This year, BAMI-I released the CTAM-300 and 400 courses in July and August, respectively. CTAM-300 is focused around managing an asset management program and covers organizational, legal and budgeting considerations; developing priorities, key performance indicators and risk-based budgeting; capacity, management, operation and maintenance; asset worth value (GASB 34) and life-cycle analysis; and manhole, lateral and pipeline inspection, mapping and rehabilitation methods.

CTAM-400 covers the financial aspects of funding asset management plans, including: financial challenges and developing real-world strategies; accounting principles (GAAP), reporting (GASB 34) and budgeting; level of service (LOS), capital improvement plans (CIPs), and life-cycle costing; strategic planning techniques including internal and external financing tools; public-private partnerships (P3s), design-build and energy performance contracting; and case study examples.


All CTAM course are now available online. Registrants have six months from the time of enrollment to complete each CTAM course. Each course takes an average of 20 hours to complete depending on the individual?s background and experience. CEUs/PDHs are not issued until each course and its exams are completed. Each course is independent of the others; however, it is recommended that they be taken in sequence.

Upon completion of the CTAM program, each student is awarded a Certificate of Completion, and can apply with BAMI-I for the opportunity to be identified as an Associate Water Asset Manager (AWAM). After four years of relevant asset management experience, another application can be submitted to BAMI-I to qualify to become a Professional Water Asset Manager (PWAM). All courses must be completed prior to applying for AWAM or PWAM certification.?AWAM certification does not require renewal. The PWAM certification requires renewal on a four-year rotation.

To bring continuity to this certification process, BAMI-I recently formed a new Certification Board (CB) with Richard Thomasson, BAMI-I vice chair, serving as the CB Chair. Also serving on the Certification Board are Kurt Wright, SDG Engineering and CTAM-400 chair; Jim Harris, independent consultant and CTAM-300 chair; Ronald Thompson, Southeast Engineering + Consulting; and Tod Phinney, Souder, Miller & Associates. ?

BAMI-I?s CTAM program has been developed by professionals in the industry for professionals in the industry who are?interested in achieving water utility infrastructure management excellence.?In particular, Dr. Iseley, chair of the BAMI-I Board of Directors and director of the Trenchless Technology Center, has been the driving force behind CTAM.

?I believe developing and implementing asset management programs is essential in meeting the future challenges of our utilities,? says Iseley. ?You can have great pipeline condition assessment data and the greatest technical solutions, but without an effective asset management program to ensure that best business practices are being applied, the most appropriate solutions will probably not be selected to solve the most critical problems at the best cost.?

Live Training

This summer, the CTAM 300 and 400 courses were presented for the first time in a live training session in Raleigh, N.C., Aug. 17-20, billed as ?Asset Management Training for Water Infrastructure.? The Trenchless Technology Center, in partnership with BAMI-I, hosted the four-day event, covering one course level per day in a classroom format. Upon completion of the four courses, participants received designation as an Associate Water Asset Manager (AWAM) plus 30 hours of PDH credits. The four-day training drew more than 30 participants of professional engineers, service providers, professors and research professionals, public utility employees, state government officials and asset management professionals.

A unique feature of CTAM is that the courses are developed by the industry with assistance from academicians for the industry. Another unique feature is the commitment to make it useable by the small and medium utilities as well as the largest utilities. The target market for CTAM is decision makers at the middle and upper management levels. To date, more than 600 individuals from 14 countries have enrolled in the CTAM program and 37 individuals have received AWAM certification.

For more information on BAMI-I, please visit To register for CTAM courses online, please visit

Andrew Farr is the associate editor of UIM.?

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *