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September 10 - 13, 2023

Sheraton Philadelphia Downtown Philadelphia, PA Visit Event Website

Monday, September 11
4:30 pm

The City of Huber Heights, Ohio, operates a water distribution system of 205 miles of predominantly cast iron and ductile iron pipe. While their system was already experiencing a relatively high break rate before 2019, the break rate from 2019 through 2021 doubled the prior 10 years. The City needed to unravel the mystery of what caused the spike in breaks.

Utilizing the City’s GIS pipe attribute data and break database, and leading-edge failure forecasting software that predicts break rates, the City tested their theories about possible causes of the spike in breaksThe City had commissioned three new booster stations, decommissioned one of its two water treatment plants, and commissioned a new softening process at its primary plant, all of which impacted flows, pressures, and water quality over the last five years. They obtained answers using robust analytical tools that allowed for significant interaction.

After completing the analytics, a proactive watermain replacement strategy was recommended to significantly reduce breaks and the associated impacts, providing customers with a more reliable drinking water supply. Through the customized analysis in the break prediction software and GIS, recommendations for operating the distribution system and treatment plant to better control finished water quality and pressures were possible, and the break rate is already declining without any pipe replacement.

To build the replacement plan, the City chose not to rely on industry standard values for predicting pipe life because those values can vary widely and lead to wildly inaccurate predictions of when pipe should be replaced. Instead, the City leveraged its comprehensive pipe attribute data set and empirical break database to identify its riskiest pipes.

The City’s GIS contained over 99 percent population of attribute data for installation date, diameter, and material, and working with the City, estimates of the remaining attributes were conducted. The 12 years of break in the database were all associated with a corresponding pipe. A significant effort was undertaken to ensure the accuracy of break data, with the City performing a review of watermain break work orders for the full decade.

Asset and break data were imported into the online break-prediction platform, specifically designed to make pipe-by-pipe failure predictions leveraging machine learning algorithms. Before performing the analyses, the software guides the user through a series of quality control steps to verify and improve data quality and assure the most accurate predictions. Faulty data is flagged, and the user can either correct the data quality issues or remove them from the analysis.

Predicted break information is coupled with each pipe’s consequence of failure data generated based on proximity to roads, water, structures, and service to critical customers. With a listing of pipes prioritized by risk, the City evaluated the resultant break rate and risk associated with various proactive watermain replacement investment levels and zeroed in on an affordable annual expenditure that will stabilize the break rate.

B&N Presenter:

Kevin Campanella, PE

Tuesday, September 12
1:30 pm

Take one look under the hood of a new car and you will marvel at the complexity of modern equipment compared to that of yesteryear. The same is true of equipment at utility facilities. New assets are more complex, as are the tools, processes, and skills available to maintain them. Maintenance programs must be modernized to keep up. Gone are the days of installing it, fix-it-when-it-breaks, and hoping that the time between those two events is as long as possible. Hope is not a plan!

Additionally, because modern equipment is complex, breaking into assets to perform preventive maintenance can have an adverse effect, decreasing asset reliability and expected asset life. Over 50 percent of asset failures are caused by the same preventive maintenance that was designed to remedy failures!

This presentation illustrates a plan for modernizing a maintenance program using practical case-study examples from experience at several large utilities, including Anchorage Water and Wastewater Utility, MSDGC, and Columbus Department of Public Utilities (DPU).

People: Many municipal utilities segregate their staff into functional groups, such as engineering, operations, and maintenance. These groups frequently operate in silos. However, an effective and modern maintenance program requires all disciplines to work together. Engineers must incorporate reliability into their designs. Operators must sound the alarm when assets first show signs of potential failure. Maintenance staff must have the training and capability to utilize technologically advanced devices to diagnose asset problems and identify the most appropriate corrective action. For all staff, a more structured and analytical approach is needed. Organizational structure and job classifications within an organization may need to be updated to hire or train the required specialized skill sets and place them in positions in which they can most effectively succeed at improving asset reliability.

Tools: While the thought of wastewater facility maintenance staff pointing an ultrasonic device at a pregnant woman to detect potential birth defects is absurd, their use of ultrasound to detect asset defects is revolutionary and a necessity in a modern maintenance program. Partnered with oil analysis, thermography, and vibration, ultrasound allows maintenance staff to detect asset defects far earlier than the human senses could. Predictive technologies can prevent minor asset defects from becoming major asset failures. Doing so has major benefits – downtime and repair costs are decreased, and safety, equipment availability, and reliability are all increased.

Another benefit of using predictive technologies to get in front of potential asset failures before they happen is the ability of operations and maintenance staff to get out of reactionary mode (which can be highly stressful) and into a lower-stress culture of proactivity. 

B&N Presenter:

Kevin Campanella, PE

Wednesday, September 13

This session will feature the officers and subcommittee chairs of the AWWA Asset Management Committee, who will update the audience on Committee activities. The Committee will introduce asset management "hot topics" for consideration and allow the audience to ask questions and lead the discussion about those topics. Committee members will be present to lead discussions.

Kevin will review the work of the committee on implementing asset management technology and facilitate discussion. 

B&N Presenter:

Kevin Campanella, PE

Kevin Campanella, PE, Director, Utility Planning

Director, Utility Planning