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Through EPA's proposed Capacity, Management, Operations, and Maintenance (CMOM) program, a great deal of attention is being given to sanitary sewer overflows (SSOs) and sewer systems, particularly sewer collection systems. EPA's goal is to minimize and eventually eliminate SSOs – this is the primary “driver” behind the CMOM program. The CMOM program has been a voluntary program in EPA's Region IV since 1998 and includes eight Southeastern states. EPA has invited selected utilities from all eight states to participate and currently there are about 100 utilities engaged in the voluntary program. Subsequently, other utilities in the Southeast are beginning to develop CMOM programs in anticipation of invitations into the voluntary program to get a head start on a proposed national rule and also because of the value it brings to sewer system operation regardless of regulations.

CMOM could become a national mandate if a rule is published for public comment and finally implemented. This nearly happened in January 2001 but was pulled back by the new Bush Administration. (In December 2001 EPA's Assistant Administrator for the Office of Water gave the go ahead to finalize a draft rule for public comment.) Even without the rule, there is a growing interest in CMOM by state regulators and wastewater utilities. Both view it as an excellent way to approach proper wastewater operations and long-term maintenance of wastewater infrastructure, in particular collection systems.

The CMOM program as developed in Region IV has 152 individual program elements that address the entire scope of wastewater management, operations, and maintenance. Utilities are to address these elements and customize them to fit their particular circumstance, keeping in mind the goal of preventing sanitary sewer overflows. While this number may seem overwhelming, in reality, it involves activities that are familiar to wastewater utilities. For example, training constitutes 6 of the 152 elements and may involve on-the-job training, short courses, or more formal training such as college or vocational school classes, depending on the nature of the work performed. More specifically, smoke testing training is a CMOM program element that could be fulfilled by four hours of instruction and 80 hours of on-the-job training.

Other CMOM program elements include such activities as safety; industrial pretreatment; engineering programs; and maintenance of gravity lines, pump stations, force mains, and plants. The 28 engineering program elements are likely to be the most expensive for utilities because they include such activities as sewer condition assessments, sewer rehabilitation, and capacity enhancements. These items will cost billions of dollars nation-wide and will have significant impacts on utility budgets in the future.

A key point is that EPA expects thorough and readily accessible documentation of the utility's CMOM program. In fact, there are 24 program elements that address information management systems, reporting, and record keeping to track and evaluate operation and maintenance, customer service, system performance, and rehabilitation.

This paper describes how a Computerized Maintenance Management System (CMMS) can help utilities fulfill CMOM program requirements and provides examples of how a well-chosen CMMS can help meet various CMOM data collection and information management needs. Utilities will find that an information system such as a CMMS is essential to document and later report on work throughout their wastewater system.
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Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: 01 January 2002

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