Streamline - Summer 2012 - (Page 19)
BY FRANK NADEAU, WASTEWATER TECHNICIAN I
WHY ASSET MANAGEMENT?? Do you know what you own? Sure we all know about the buildings, the water treatment facility, the wastewater facility, the police station and vehicles, etc. But, in actuality that’s only a part of the whole!
After ﬁnding out how much I own and how long it should last, I have to determine the replacement cost and begin to develop a means to pay for it.
On the water side, we have a pump, either down in a well or drawing water from a lake or river, a lot of pipe getting to the treatment facility, the treatment facility itself, some more pipe getting the water into the storage tanks, the storage tanks, with their associated valves, controls, and other ancillary equipment; then more piping valves, hydrants, etc., in the distribution system. On the wastewater side, we have a huge amount of pipe and manholes, pump stations getting the sewage to the treatment plant, then the treatment facility. From there, there is more pipe to the outfall. Most of the value of the water
WE OWN A LOT MORE THAN MEETS THE EYE! 1. To Begin Asset Management: Inventory We have to know what we have in order to manage it. How much pipe is there? What types – cast iron, ductile iron, Orangeburg, asbestos-cement, concrete reinforced concrete, galvanized, copper, terra cotta, plastic, or ﬁberglass? How many pump stations? Air release valves? Check valves? Control valves? Treatment equipment? 2. Next: Condition Assessment In order to know the present value of material, we need to know its condition. That becomes difﬁcult when we don’t know the age and usage. This is especially difﬁcult with buried assets; however, there are tables that give us expected lifetimes for most of what we own. Once we know when it was installed and how long it should last, then we can assign an expected lifetime before replacement. It may be necessary to consult with retired workers to determine the age of some assets. Then we apply the life expectancy table to each item. Comparing the age and life expectancy will tell us when we have to have the dollars in pocket for replacement or repair.
and wastewater systems is in the ground, out of sight, and we all know what is said about that. Stop and think about that for a moment. How far do you live from the water treatment facility and the wastewater facility? All of that pipe costs a great deal of money and the cost of pipe is only a small fraction of the cost of putting it in the ground. And to top that, when that pipe wears out (and it will), it will have to be repaired or replaced. Back in the ’30s and ’40s when a lot of water and wastewater systems were installed, it was no problem to dig up a dirt street and run a 2-inch water line. Now with paved streets, curbs and gutters, sidewalks and the modern landscaping, the cost has skyrocketed.
3. Prioritize the assets Is the risk of failure of the 2” valve that controls the water to three houses on a cul-de-sac as critical as the 8” valve that controls the water to the hospital? Or is the risk of failure of a pump station with three pumps as high as a pump station with one pump? A method of prioritizing is to use likelihood-of-failure/ consequence-of-failure model. If something has a high likelihood of failure but the consequence (cost, amount of risk, etc.) is slight, then it carries a low priority. If the likelihood of failure is high and the consequence is great or expensive, the priority is high. 4. Now what do I do? After ﬁnding out how much I own and how long it should last, I have to determine the replacement cost and begin to develop a means to pay for it. Typically, this is a capital improvement fund and is an integral part of budget and rate setting functions. Many of our councils, boards, supervisors and other elected people were elected promising not to raise rates for service, which has resulted in trying to meet 21st century regulations and costs with 20th century assets and rates. This will not work. It reminds me of the old saying, “The faster I go, the behinder I get.”
We have to educate our political bodies to the fact that “out of sight” is not out of mind. And just expecting the tap to give us clean water and flushing the commode will make it go away, just doesn’t make it magically happen.
Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Streamline - Summer 2012
From the President
From the Executive Director
Summer Conservation Considerations
Southampton County: A Story of Progress
Board Members Quiz
Conference 2012 Highlights
The Town of Lebanon-One Small Step for Man
Drakes Branch Distribution System Upgrade
A Proper Rate-Virginia RATES Program
Missing Water Found
Throwing My Loop
Do You Know What Your VRWA Benefits Are?
Welcome New Members
Board of Directors
Index to Advertisers/Ad.com
Streamline - Summer 2012