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From the City of Fort Wayne website:

City Utilities Engineering Program Manager Mike Hicks and Water Pollution Control Maintenance Program Manager Karen Morris presented information about Fort Wayne’s efforts to maintain and manage the sewer and water infrastructure at the annual Underground Infrastructure Management Conference in Indianapolis. The organization’s magazine picked up the story and made it the cover for December.

From the article:

[…] Because of the age and design of the oldest sections of the system, the City has been plagued for years with combined sewer overflows (CSOs) into its three rivers, as well as multitudes of sewer backup and basement flooding occurrences. Residents grew frustrated with the level of service, and in 1996 formed a Sewer Advisory Group to demand changes. Â

[…]

Inventory

  • The City has 1,300 miles of combined, sanitary and relief sewers;
  • Large diameter sewers are classified as any sewer greater than 37 inches and comprise approximately 5 percent of the collection system;
  • Medium diameter sewers are classified as being between 16 and 36 inches in diameter, and comprise approximately 14 percent of the collection system;
  • Small diameter sewers are classified as being between 8 and 15 inches in diameter, and comprise approximately 81 percent of the collection system.

[…] As part of the City’s effort to provide more outstanding service, it committed to televising its large diameter sewers in 1996. As the videos were reviewed, the City assigned a condition assessment rating to those sewers. Prior to this, the Water Pollution Control Maintenance (WPCM) department performed sewer televising on a primarily reactive basis. However, it soon became obvious that becoming more proactive was the only way to identify sewers needing repair or replacement before a complete failure occurred.Â

[…] What the staff found most alarming is that in 2048, over 3.5 million linear feet of sewers will be over 75 years of age. Today, the average age of sewers undergoing rehabilitation is 71.

The analysis did not stop at that discovery. It was also found that 80 percent of all collapses and subsequent sewer repairs were done on small diameter sewers. Thus, the focus on large and medium diameter sewer televising began to shift to small diameter work.

SRRP next took a “snapshot in time” of the collection system from 1995 to 2003. All basement floods and backup complaints were plotted on quarter section maps at the exact address where the backups occurred. The sewer segments around where the backups occurred were then highlighted for future televising. Of the 458 quarter sections in the City, 352 of these had a sewer problem. However, once all of the problems were plotted, it was identified that the top 100 quarter sections had 76 percent of ALL the reported problems in that eight-year period. After a pilot project was done to clean and televise approximately 22,000 linear feet of those small diameter sewers located near basement backups, the result was that over 70 percent of those sewers needed to be rehabilitated.

SRRP has proven that certain problematic areas in Fort Wayne with chronic maintenance problems should be addressed and rehabbed prior to those sewers deteriorating to the point of collapse or prior to the point where CIPP lining is no longer an option. Rehabilitation has proven to be much more cost-effective than waiting until failure occurs.

[…] One of the many benefits of having a comprehensive inventory of the sewer collection system is being able to look at the collection system as a whole, and deciding where best to use limited resources and money.

The analysis of the sewer pipe ages speaks for itself – the collection system is going to age and no one – not a Mayor, City Council, Engineer or citizen – can stop it. But collection system owners can slow down the aging process using the best asset management practices available. In Fort Wayne, when the young children of today are in their 40s, they will be facing 12 to 13 times more sewers over 125 years of age than today. The City is determined not to ignore the collection system and allow that happen. Instead, using a comprehensive asset management program to determine the repair and rehabilitation of the worst sewer segments allows the City to wisely operate and maintain collection systems as efficiently and effectively as possible.

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