Data collection is only the beginning of an inspection program. That data also must be usable.
One of the challenges with a sewer asset CCTV program is taking the data collected in the field and making it easily usable across all levels of your organization. Whether you are a small utility with no IT staff or a large utility with dedicated staff that oversees an asset management program, GIS, and other systems, making CCTV field data easily usable can be a challenge. Management, operations, engineering, and consultants all want different information in different ways.
For most of my career I have seen a focus on data collection and many utilities have done a great job performing CCTV inspections whether it is with an in-house crew and program or it is subcontracted. Most utilities are now using NASSCO’s PACP program universally to collect and rate the data in the field and this has been a tremendous step forward for the industry. But I am now seeing a strong desire to do more than just collect data. There’s a desire to integrate the data into other systems across multiple levels of the utility and make it highly usable. This is how I feel a utility can get the most bang for its buck.
PACP was designed with a high-level utility management plan in mind but also with a simplicity that makes it usable and realistic. PACP collects "defects" into two categories — structural and O&M — which allows defect reporting to look at things individually or collectively. This data is used to generate a pipe segment’s likelihood of failure (LoF). Fast forward to my point: One of the things we at Ted Berry Company have seen is needed is a comprehensive understanding of the entire process from data collection in the field, to PACP defect coding, to PACP ratings like the overall quick rating and calculating total LoF, as well as the complexities of integrating that data into existing asset management plans and systems like CityWorks, Hansen, Maximo, and others, and using GIS to tie all the data together geographically.
This is how we at Ted Berry Company help utilities accomplish this:
- We have six dedicated mainline CCTV trucks in New England all with NASSCO PACP operators collecting data and coding defects. Our mainline trucks are equipped with transporters to get our cameras where they need to be and include robots, boats, skids, and about everything in between to inspect pipe from 4 inches to 120 inches and greater. We also have dedicated mainline lateral launch systems that allow us to provide comprehensive lateral inspection programs for I&I, pre-paving projects, and pre-construction damage prevention programs (especially for natural gas work).
- We have a full-time Technical Services Department that performs QA/QC review of CCTV data as well as daily, weekly, and monthly reporting for individual projects. Reports often include customized reports requested by the utility. One utility recently asked, "We have a chemical root control program and have Duke's coming to do root treatment. Can you provide us a ‘root report’ for all the lines inspected in 2015-2016?" An hour later we provided them with a customized root report showing only root defects, the pipe segments I.D., pipe type, pipe size, street location, and GIS points that they could deliver to their contractor.
- Our Technical Services Department performs data integration by taking the PACP database and integrating it into the system that utility uses. (Like GIS or CityWorks.)
- We have the ability to code older CCTV data that was not done in PACP that may exist on VHS, DVD, or another medium and set up an initial asset database. We call this data conversion and I have always been under the belief that if you have data, it should be usable.
- We have the ability to map small systems using GIS and Trimble technology as well as link data across platforms.
- We have the ability to perform a comprehensive risk analysis and mathematical grading of individual assets using our proprietary risk tool. This helps us develop the CoF (consequence of failure) and by using the LoF from the PACP database generate a total asset risk.
I love what I do and enjoy helping utilities large and small move their asset management program forward. If you would have told me when I was a kid I would get to play with robots, inspect pipes, own all kinds of cool trucks, and work with the amazing people I do, I never would have believed you.
About the Author
Matt Timberlake is president of Ted Berry Company in Livermore, Maine.