Officials and administrators are responsible for the health of the communities they serve. This requires quality piping systems that provide clean drinking water and sanitation. In today?s current economic climate with reduced funding and higher demands, municipalities and public works agencies across the United States are facing increasing strain to meet the health and environmental needs of their communities while also being fiscally responsible. ?

Asset management can and should be a part of a public agency?s strategy to provide quality economical infrastructure.

What Is Asset Management?

Asset management provides a way for officials and administrators to manage infrastructure capital assets while minimizing the total cost of ownership and operation. It allows public officials to continue to deliver service levels that a city?s customers ? your community members ? require.

With asset management, system components are regularly maintained over long planning cycles. This means providing continued maintenance to pipelines, manholes and other structures before they reach the point of failure. This way, costs are planned and well-distributed over the life of the asset, avoiding significantly higher emergency repair or replacement costs every time a water main breaks or a sewer pipeline collapses.

According to various agencies, including the U.S. Environment Protection Agency (EPA) and the American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE), cities across North America have aging and deteriorating water and wastewater systems, resulting in increasing issues each year related to emergency problems like sinkholes, water main breaks, flooding, water leakage, sewer spills and beach closings.

The direct costs of emergency repairs average three to four times the direct costs of planned repair. Cracked and leaking water pipes, for instance, result in roughly 7 billion gallons of water lost each day (ASCE Infrastructure Report Card). These costs contribute to the bottom line for public utilities, possibly resulting in increased fees and rates for end users.

According to Chuck Voltz, Senior Vice President for Insituform, ?Utility owners and managers are being asked to do more every day. With funding and other resources, asset management programs help those responsible for utility systems identify how best to allocate valuable resources when renewing infrastructure.?
Asset Management Solution

Asset management can be used as a tool to help municipalities gauge the health of our infrastructure.? This gauge helps determine the value of replacing and repairing that infrastructure ? balancing the cost of deterioration and the benefit of regular maintenance ? while helping to avoid the emergency situations outlined above.

As a substantial portion of our underground infrastructure has now outlasted its design life, results are not only costly but can be possibly catastrophic. Water loss, inadequate flow capacity, water quality issues and failures all contribute to higher repair, insurance and maintenance costs. ?

The costs of pipeline failures also include social costs associated with pipe breaks ? like traffic delays, negative publicity and overall inconvenience to residents and businesses. While they may not always carry a set dollar amount, they can add significantly to the direct costs of emergency repair. The ratio of social costs to direct costs can vary widely depending on the location of the failure. For instance, a break in an environmentally sensitive area would result in substantially higher direct costs and social costs.

Insituform has its own version of the asset management process to assist municipalities in making smart decisions when it comes to the maintenance of their pipeline systems. Insituform calls it the Pipeline Integrity Management Process. The process starts with identifying the goals and objectives of each system to create a custom solution for each customer. The result is a circular, sustainable process that can be applied across a variety of systems over a long period of time.

  1. Determine Goals and Objectives
  2. Take Inventory of Assets
  3. System Review and Planning
  4. Schedule
  5. Execute
  6. Compliance and Monitoring
  7. Assessment
  8. Review Processes

What are the Goals and Objectives? Regulatory compliance? Profitability? Health of the pipeline system? Customer satisfaction? The steps we take during the processes below are based on the goals and objectives of the city.? ?

Inventory of Assets. What assets are included in the system? This question can be answered using various methods, but one cost-effective tool is the use of wireless robots to gather data and obtain an accurate view of a system. Several new systems require less time and money when compared to traditional methods requiring expensive trucks and monitoring equipment.

System Review and Planning. What are the threats to the system and how do we mitigate them? In this step, we find out exactly what is wrong with the system. Asset management software and data obtained from the inventory stage help us compile a comprehensive view of the assets. Which pipes need immediate work and for which parts of the system can we put off rehabilitation?

Schedule Maintenance. Once a complete picture of the system is obtained, resources for required repair and maintenance can be more wisely allocated – stretching allocated dollars in order to first address the most critical issues based on costs savings, risk of failure, and impact of any projected failures.

Execute Project. After review and scheduling, quality project execution can take place. Arguably the single most important aspect of the integrity management process, execution involves the actual implementation of pipeline inspection, maintenance and repair. This portion could include the use of cured-in-place pipe (CIPP), modified sliplining using cost-effective HDPE, coatings or various other types of trenchless technologies.

Trenchless methods can be a good choice when other utilities are in the area, lines are deep or run through polluted areas, regulated quality standards are desired and environmental sustainability is a top goal. Use of trenchless technology increases structural integrity of the pipeline, reduces costs of emergency maintenance, eliminates joints and causes less community disruption.

Compliance and Monitoring. Following the successful execution of pipeline rehabilitation, it is integral to evaluate and determine whether the project successfully addressed the goals and objectives established early in the asset management process. In other words, did the plan work?

Assessment. The assessment stage, a continuation and ongoing byproduct of compliance and monitoring, builds on the findings of the previous step. Or in simple terms, is the plan still working?

Review Processes. At the end of the pipeline integrity process, we must review. Here, we ask whether any processes need to be changed for better results in the future, bringing us back to the beginning of the circular process and preparing us for the next cycle of pipeline integrity management.

Asset Management Across the Country

A number of municipalities and public works agencies across the country are engaged in ongoing asset management programs. One example is the Clark County (Nev.) Water Reclamation District (WRD) Capital Improvement Program. Clark County is currently involved in the systematic planning, scheduling and implementation of the cleaning of more than 2,000 miles of collection system pipe. The County first cleaned and inspected the pipe, using the data collected to prioritize the repair, rehabilitation or replacement of existing pipelines. WRD plans to inspect and clean the entire system within a six-year period. This translates into almost $50 million worth of rehabilitation over a five-year period, with the end goal of rehabilitating about 3 percent, or 60 miles, of the sewer system over 10 years. So far, the County has rehabilitated more than 37,000 feet of its system with CIPP.

Other cities with active asset management programs span across the country, including Fort Wayne, Bloomington and Indianapolis in Indiana, Cincinnati, Ohio, St. Louis, Mo., Sacramento, Calif., Honolulu, Hawaii, Hartford, Conn., and Phoenix, Ariz.

The asset management plans in place by these cities, and others, benefit the communities they serve by keeping assets in working condition, preventing future infrastructure failure, saving time, lowering future costs for emergency repairs and distributing the cost of maintenance over the lifespan of infrastructure.

Regardless of whether you are using a planned and tested program like the Pipeline Integrity Management Process, the key to any successful asset management program is identifying your system?s needs, addressing those needs and then evaluating the process and results for the future. In this way, planning and well-executed rehabilitation programs can become a part of the maintenance of any utility system, making the most of your community?s resources and valuable assets.

David A. Goldwater manages the sales, marketing and business development efforts for Insituform Technologies Inc. in the Central Region of the United States, covering 19 states.? Prior to joining Insituform, Goldwater worked in the political sector in both Texas and Indiana, including serving as an aide to former Indiana Governor Frank O?Bannon. During this time, he had the opportunity to assist in the creation and implementation of legislation and public policy focusing on health and environmental issues.

City of Atlanta Turns to CIPP

The City of Atlanta?s Department of Watershed Management has awarded Insituform Technologies Inc. two contracts with a combined value of $15.9 million for the rehabilitation of sewer pipes in Atlanta neighborhoods as part of the City?s Clean Water Atlanta Program.

Jim Newkirk, General Manager for Insituform?s East Region, noted, ?Insituform has rehabilitated approximately 150 miles of sewer pipelines for the City of Atlanta since 1989. We have dedicated resources to the City in order to help them meet the demands of the Clean Water Atlanta Program.? As the general contractor on this project, Insituform will utilize local minority contractors for various aspects of this project.

The project will rehabilitate more than 65,000 feet of small diameter sanitary sewers across the Atlanta area. Work on this project was expected to begin in January 2010 and take approximately 15 months to complete.
?The Department of Watershed is tasked through the Clean Water Atlanta Program to rehabilitate hundreds of miles of sewer. These two contracts play an integral role in helping the City of Atlanta meet its goals and control the expenses of the system overhaul so those costs are not passed on to Atlanta residents,?? Newkirk said. ?We are prepared to proceed immediately and look forward to working with the City on these contracts.?

Referring to the City?s efforts to comply with U.S. EPA consent decree mandates for Atlanta?s water systems, former Atlanta mayor Shirley Franklin recently said, ?Hundreds of dedicated employees and experienced professionals work to ensure that the City?s Clean Water Program meets federal standards and that the City fulfills its obligations to repair and upgrade our century old water/sewer system. I am extraordinarily proud of the City?s commitment to Clean Water and to its management of this complex $4 billion program.?

The Insituform cured-in-place pipe process is Insituform?s core technology and an affordable solution used to reduce infiltration, restore structural integrity and increase flow capacity.

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