Over the last year, our utilities team has been working with Prince George County in Virginia on a three-phased approach to optimal asset management. Asset management is the systematic approach to managing and maintaining a city or county’s complete inventory of water and wastewater infrastructure.
Phase one of this partnership required developing a robust and complete asset inventory for the county. First, our team reviewed the County Master Plan and all available as-built documents for wastewater and potable water facilities to begin documenting a full list of assets. Once there was an initial asset list compiled, our team spent one week traveling across the 282 square mile county to locate and confirm all of the county’s assets within their water treatment sites, wells, booster pump stations, wastewater pump stations, water towers, and all water and wastewater related infrastructure.
With a full picture of the county’s assets, we moved into phase two.
Phase two chiefly involves developing and implementing a computerized maintenance management system (CMMS).
Features of the CMMS will allow the county to budget more efficiently by providing a more accurate picture of the state of the infrastructure. The system keeps record of every asset, the asset’s condition, the asset’s repair history, and it can alert personnel to upcoming maintenance. These systems can even provide predictive information to help personnel decide when to repair an asset versus replacing it. The CMMS also acts as a work order system. The ability to assign upcoming maintenance and inspection helps keep everyone involved organized and on the same page. With the organized record keeping that comes with the use of the CMMS, the county will also be able to better plan for their personnel and financial needs.
This CMMS stores a tremendous amount of information to make future work on the county’s system more effective, thus saving Prince George time, and potentially, resources.
Phase three of our approach to Prince George County’s waterworks, currently underway, includes physical and performance condition assessments of all assets. The second part of the phase three work includes determining the criticality of each asset which indicates the importance of the individual asset to the functionality of the water or wastewater system as a whole. Combining the information from the physical condition assessment, performance condition assessment, and the criticality of all assets will allow the county to prioritize where their resources are spent in terms of which assets need maintenance, repairs, or replacements.
Additionally, with a full picture of the state of their infrastructure, the county can anticipate issues before they happen. By understanding what areas are at the highest risk, a locality can prioritize its repair or replacement.
Not only will asset management help the county, it will also benefit the citizens that live there. With the knowledge of the future repairs needed and a time frame for those repairs, municipalities can adjust their rates slowly, and in advance of major renovations, thus saving customers unexpected price hikes and preventing unexpected outages.
Our work with Prince George County to build an asset management system will benefit local officials, employees, and citizens for years to come. The county will have a full scope of their infrastructure and its condition at their fingertips to better prepare and budget for future maintenance. Citizens will benefit from fewer interruptions to their water service and an overall healthier waterworks system.
“I love that with proper asset management, municipalities can prepare for success for years to come,” says Utilities Division Manager Adrianna Dimperio, PE. “Not only can they plan years ahead for repairs and replacements, but they can use that information to inform their rates, thus saving customers unexpected price jumps. It’s a win-win.”
This blog post is part of a series exploring projects and services that have helped clients realize their goals while preserving time and resources. Click here for additional blog posts in this series, which covers a variety of engineering challenges.