Do You Really Know Your Assets?

By Suzanne Zitzman GISP

The northeastern U.S. has some of the oldest subsurface utility networks in the nation. Materials used 50 to 100 years ago are not the same as we use today when constructing utilities such as water, sewer and stormwater systems, and many of these materials may be approaching the end of their lifecycles. Older utility networks such as these can be somewhat of an unknown when owners are evaluating the location, condition and risk of failure of their assets.

Knowing Your Assets is a Must in 2020

Utility owners must comply with certain regulations that protect our communities from pollution and toxic environments. The Clean Water Act of 1972 is one of many regulations put forth by our government to protect the environments in which we live. The need for knowing your asset’s functionality and life expectancy is essential and can be done through the implementation of Enterprise Geographic Information System (eGIS) applications.

Asset Life Expectancy

Since certain environmental conditions can shorten the life expectancy of your assets, state, county, and local governments provide publicly consumed eGIS data. These data are typically state- and county-level data that are environmentally constrained datasets. For instance, data related to acidic soils and flood prone areas are examples of datasets that can assist utility owners in evaluating environmental conditions surrounding their aging infrastructure. By using eGIS applications, assets in such locations can be assigned high-risk values of pass or fail, or numeric scoring of 1 to 100. As data is compiled within the eGIS program, analysis is performed to provide the utility owners a thematic map and report of assets deemed high probability of failure.

Assessment and Assistance

During the assessment process of known environmental risk areas, eGIS mobile applications can be deployed to take a deeper dive into the actual assets’ current state by performing high-level inspections. Building your eGIS program on Environmental System Research Institute (Esri) software and web applications make field data collection tasks easy. For example, rolling out Esri’s Survey123 and Collector for ArcGIS app for data collection and inspection of stormwater outfalls can satisfy the mapping and outfall inspection requirements of the NYSDEC SPDES for MS4 WQIP program. There are also grant opportunities available to help get your stormwater responsibilities in compliance.

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