The Woodman Report II

Submitted on 2014/04/09 at 5:44 am
by: R. Woodman …..

utilitesThe city has spent considerable dollar amounts on R&R and capital projects in the past few years. There have been improvement projects at the water and waste water plants, quite a few sewer lift stations replaced every year for quite some time. On the water side many improvements have made for regulatory compliance reasons concerning disinfection byproducts. Most of this work was accomplished through water operations and maintenance division personnel working together designing, specifying and installing the systems with a little help from vendors and contractors thus saving the city big bucks. The water plant has received some prestigious awards recently due to the work of these good employees. The sludge processing area was just rehabbed. High service pumps have been rehabbed or replaced. We have spent money on telemetry, control and security systems.
We need work in some sewer gravity systems that has been deferred for years while things you can see above ground get done. If you defer 2 or 3 lift station replacements each year you can use that money for sewer rehab. I have tried to get the people that call the shots to do this for several years. Instead of replacing 5 to 8 lift stations per year you could do 4 and spend it elsewhere. The master lift station on Williamson needs to be replaced and upsized. The wet well is too small to handle the volume. It could be constructed at the Williamson reclaimed storage tank site.
We have problems in some of our sewer force main systems on the west and southwest areas of town. The lines are plugging up due to low constant velocity in the lines causing solids to settle in the lines. We installed flushers with reclaimed water in a few locations to flush the solids out of the force mains. This saves money on line pigging. The city needs to schedule R&R of infrastructure in the CIP budget. The sewer collection crew should have video from inspections that can be used to get started. They need to assign a theoretical useful life to everything to establish an R&R schedule for the CIP budget, than revisit and do an assessment of scheduled work annually as you do your budget preparations so you can determine if things can be deferred or moved out to a later time. Set priorities based on what you know from your inspections and assessments, Be prepared to spend the money where it is needed. The city needs to provide the personnel and tools to run the programs needed to maintain it’s infrastructure. You can’t run from that it will catch up with you and bite you in the ass. This is utilities 101. We have been basically spending close to the minimum required by law and regulatory compliance on infrastructure.
There are many publications concerning the basic programs that all utilities should have. We have employees that know what needs to be done but are afraid or unmotivated to get involved. Anyone that manages utilities should be familiar with these programs and should lead there people to establishing and running them.
As far as reclaimed goes what happened to the assessment that the manager hired someone to do? What happened with the council reclaimed workshop? The lake filter project? If you want some good ideas on what to do with reclaimed water talk to the regular employees. You won’t get good answers from management. Management has no practical or working knowledge of our systems.

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