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The Town of Framingham, located about 20 miles west of Boston, serves as a metro-west hub with a population of 67,000 and a diverse collection of commercial, retail and industrial businesses. The Town's aging sewer system is quite expansive covering 235 miles of sanitary sewers and 48 pumping stations, which serve portions of several neighboring Towns as well as its own population. Wastewater is conveyed to the Massachusetts Water Resource Authority's (MWRA) system and the Deer Island Wastewater Treatment Plant for treatment and disposal. Over the past several years, combinations of events have led to the Town's need to take a comprehensive look at how it is managing its wastewater assets:

increasing costs to operate and maintain its system;

increasing demand from in-Town developers and from neighbors for more capacity;

excessive flows during storms result in sewer system overflows (SSO);

inadequate and outdated maps and records; and

loss of institutional knowledge from early retirements.

Compounding these problems, the MWRA imposed a municipal permit limit for sulfides on the Town due to downstream pipe corrosion in the MWRA's system. In response to these issues, the Town decided to undertake a Comprehensive Wastewater Management Plan (CWMP) that had two primary goals:

Through technical assessments of pipe condition, infiltration/inflow analyses, hydraulic modeling, sulfide/corrosion analyses, develop a multi-year Capital Improvement Program (CIP) to improve the system based on priority needs.

Develop an Asset Management system that will enable the Town to operate, maintain and sustain its system in a more efficient, effective and responsive way.

In the process of meeting these objectives, consideration is also being given to EPA's Capacity, Management, Operations, and Maintenance (CMOM) program since these objectives and this program are closely aligned.

To begin the process, the first step involved developing a GIS map of the 235 mile collection system to locate, inventory, and assess the components of the sewer system. About 40 miles of the system was identified as the “spine” of the system and included critical path force mains and trunk lines. This part of the system was mapped and evaluated in detail using field observations, while the evaluation of the rest of the system relied on existing paper records and the use of global evaluation criteria such as age.

To assess the capacity of sewers (the “C” in CMOM), a detailed growth management analysis was made to estimate the flows from proposed developments and from in-filling in sewered areas. Also, a design storm was selected to predict the quantity of infiltration and inflow. These flow estimates were then input into a hydraulic model application, called XPSWMM, to assess the capacity of the system “spine”. These projected flows were also used to assess the capacity of the pumping stations. In addition, an evaluation was made to determine if pumping stations could be combined or eliminated with gravity sewers using a life-cycle cost analysis.

To assist in determining priority of needs, the VUEWorks Asset Management system was called on to perform Risk Assessment based on ratings for failure consequences and probability of failure as derived from the practice of Advanced Asset Management. In this analysis, typical consequences of failure are matched with the probability of failure determined from information gathered about each asset (such as age, capacity, I/I, sulfides, and condition) to calculate a Utility Risk Factor (URF). With this information in the database, the Town gains the ability to query the database with such questions as, “Which assets are most likely to cause health and safety issues due to capacity failure?”

For field staff, the Asset Management system provides significant time savings over past processes by providing a web-enabled interactive map that allows staff to conveniently find information while inside a vehicle through a wireless connection. Field staff can also record work activities, submit updates, and access scanned plans. Office staff can also apply tools built into the software against data stored in the system to prioritize maintenance activities and capital improvements.

Because the CWMP is currently ongoing, this paper highlights what has been done to date and where the program is going in terms of CMOM compliance, incident tracking, coordination with other Town infrastructure (roads, water and storm drainage), customer services, Work Order Management, GPS tracking, emergency response, and integration with other systems.

Document Type: Research Article


Publication date: January 1, 2005

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