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An increase in the number of pipe failures and water loss has led to the idea that water and wastewater assets – the majority of which are buried pipelines – need to be replaced entirely. With existing capital budgets, it isn’t possible for utilities to replace their entire asset inventory while maintaining the same level of service, leaving a massive funding gap between what is necessary to replace assets and what utilities can afford on capital improvement programs.
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the American Society of Engineers (ASCE) estimate that the funding gap related to buried infrastructure in the United States ranges from US$200 billon to US$1 trillion over the next 25 years. In order to help utilities bridge this gap and manage their aging assets, Pure has developed the Assess and Address® approach to maximize capital budgets and extend the useful life of pipelines. The approach focuses on assessing pipelines to identify specific problem areas that need renewal.
Through more than 14,000 miles of pipe assessment, Pure has found that more than 96% of pipelines are in good condition leaving less than 4% of requiring renewal. By determining the actual condition of pipelines, utilities can avoid the unnecessary replacement of pipelines with remaining useful life while improving the reliability of their system by avoiding pipe failures and reducing water loss.
THE SMART BUSINESS APPROACH: ASSESS & ADDRESS™
Historically, there have been few methods to assess the condition of pipelines, forcing utilities to operate these critical assets to failure. The complete replacement of assets is not only difficult, but wasteful, since the majority of pipelines have remaining useful life. Pure’s suite of inspection tools and engineering analysis allow for the comprehensive assessment of critical pipelines to determine their actual condition. This provides utilities with actionable information to make sure capital programs focus on the areas that are most in need. Coupled with Pure’s team of pipeline engineering experts, utilities are able to understand the condition of their assets to make defensible decisions.
Based on return on investment (ROI) studies, an Assess & Address program can often be implemented for roughly 5 to 15 percent of the replacement cost. This approach has been effective for some of the largest water and wastewater service providers across the United States, who have safely and efficiently managed pipeline assets in favor of replacement.
A study by the Water Research Foundation (WRF) estimates the average cost of a single large-diameter pipe failure is between US$500,000 and $US1.5 million, without factoring in additional costs from litigation or damage to the environment. Small-diameter pipe failures cost on average US$10,000 per failure. In addition, billions of gallons of treated water are lost every year from leaks and pipe failures, representing a massive financial burden on service providers.
In many cases, the savings from avoiding a a few pipe failures can pay for an assessment program. Reducing pipe failures and water loss also contributes to a positive public image for the utility.
In addition to a suite of inspection technologies that provide actionable condition data, Pure has an industry-leading engineering team that specializes in the management of water and wastewater networks; we have more than 200 engineers and scientists dedicated to providing expertise to the industry.LEARN MORE