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Asset Management and Condition Assessment: Knowing Your System

When asked by the Water Research Foundation™ (WRF) lack of resources is the utility manager’s most cited reason for not conducting condition assessments, or doing less than they would like, on their buried assets.

Condition assessment is an important tool that could ultimately help close the infrastructure funding gap:

  • By helping to find pipe that is likely to fail vs. pipe that is merely old
  • By providing a better understanding of the true condition of your system
  • By determining the condition of older pipe that may not need to be replaced merely due to age

Most high-level replacement estimates are based on age. Using age may result in good pipe being replaced unnecessarily. Using condition assessment often results in a small percentage of suspect pipe that actually needs to be replaced.

Condition assessment can help provide a better understanding of the probability of failure. Although every failure is different, a typical small break can result in direct costs to the utility of over $10,000 and a large break can cost the utility upwards of $500,000 – and this doesn’t take into consideration the societal costs that are only sometimes paid by the utility – such as:

  • Reduced fire-fighting capability
  • Public transportation
  • Water Outage
  • Traffic
  • Property damage

The main factor influencing these costs is shutdown time – not diameter!
Wachs Water Services can provide condition assessments – that at their foundations can help close the funding gap, promote sustainability and help utilities make informed decisions and prioritize repairs and renewal projects.

*Source: Water Research Foundation™ Condition Assessment of Buried Assets

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