NASSCO Partners for Better Asset Management

More than ever, sound asset management practices are critical for underground infrastructure
NASSCO Partners for Better Asset Management

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With the White House administration’s proposed budget cuts, including the significant 31 percent cut to the EPA, it is more important than ever to understand the value and importance of asset management as it pertains to the preservation of our underground infrastructure.

By the time this article is published, the proposed cut could mean $2.6 billion less in EPA spending than last fiscal year. While the proposed
budget does increase state revolving funds by $4 million over last year, these cuts include, among other things, the diminished enforcement of EPA regulatory programs, which could have a significant impact on EPA consent decrees focused on elimination of sanitary and combined sewer overflows. This is happening at a time when the ASCE Report Card gave us a “D+” for our deteriorating wastewater infrastructure.

While regulatory programs are important to guide and keep our industry accountable, it is ultimately up to the system owner to make the most of available funding and manpower to best sustain their systems. To this end, municipalities understand the need for an effective asset management program now more than ever, and NASSCO is doing its part to support this effort. Two ways we do that are through the Pipeline Assessment Certification Program and industry partnerships.

PACP and asset management

As part of our mission to set standards for the assessment, maintenance and rehabilitation of underground infrastructure, since 2002 NASSCO has trained over 28,000 professionals in PACP to standardize data collection protocol for CCTV pipeline inspection. PACP Version 7.0 now includes content that describes how PACP inspection results can be used to help define risk in the development of an asset management plan for pipe networks. Appendix D of PACP Version 7.0, titled “PACP Based Risk Management” provides suggested procedures that can become an integral part in developing an asset management plan for utilities.

In the asset management framework, risk is defined as the likelihood of failure (LoF) or the chances of a negative impact occurring, multiplied by the consequence of failure (CoF) related to a specific asset. The PACP quick rating can be modified to determine LoF values for pipelines. Rules for calculating LoF provide a set of values that allow for the complete range of PACP ratings, to include a flag if no condition assessment data is available.

The CoF score for an asset is determined in terms of the “Triple Bottom Line,” which refers to economic, social and environmental costs. Economic factors are typically expressed in dollars and include property damage, repair cost and production loss. Social cost is the impact on society due to asset failure. Environmental cost is the impact to ecological conditions resulting from asset failure. For example, a 56-inch trunk sewer that crosses a stream will have a higher CoF than an 8-inch sanitary sewer at the top of the system that only serves one resident. For consistency, CoF is assigned on a scale similar to the LoF scale, and will take location and demographic information into consideration, including relative network position, location of pipe, environmentally sensitive features, service to customer, and accessibility for maintenance and inspection. The ultimate goal is to achieve sustainability in a manner that balances social, environmental and economic costs.  

While appendix D of the manual is not included in the syllabus of NASSCO’s PACP class, all PACP trainers have been provided with the training materials and can review these procedures in detail to quantify a utility’s risk.

Industry partnerships

Now more than ever it is critical that we come together as an industry to focus on spending money smarter through effective asset management. NASSCO’s Asset Management Committee has developed important industry partnerships to achieve this goal. They have worked closely with Buried Asset Management Institute International and the Trenchless Technology Center at Louisiana Tech. Recently, NASSCO teamed with the Center for Underground Infrastructure Research and Education in the development of a new textbook, Pipeline Infrastructure Renewal and Asset Management.  

In coordination with the Trenchless Technology Center, NASSCO is updating the Trenchless Assessment Guide for Rehabilitation, a program that evaluates different trenchless technologies for a variety of applications, to include asset management programs. In addition to incorporating the latest trenchless rehabilitation technologies, the new release will also provide a mechanism to incorporate PACP data to help define the most accurate range of rehabilitation options.

Our continual updates to educational tools such as PACP, and partnerships with TTC, CUIRE and other organizations, will work to educate,
support and encourage system owners and operators to implement a solid asset management program to proactively maintain their systems.


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