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For more than 20 years, the Fairfax County, Va. Department of Public Works and Environmental Services has had an active financial planning and management program in place to ensure that the County's Integrated Sewer System's (the System) financial needs are met. From its inception, the financial management program has focused on providing managers with the information necessary to optimize financial decisions.

The County, like many utilities, has planned for capacity needs going well into the future. Now, with much of the necessary infrastructure in place and ready to serve customers, the County is transitioning from a Capital Improvement Plan (CIP) that includes a number of upgrade/expansion projects to a CIP focused on Renewal and Replacement (R&R) projects designed to maintain the System's performance. Historically, large CIP projects have served as the vehicle for identifying and funding R&R projects, especially at the County's treatment facility. With the anticipated reduction of these projects over the next several years, the Wastewater Management Program (WWM) needed to develop a new process for identifying and budgeting R&R projects to ensure the System's financial performance, level of service, and environmental compliance are maintained on an ongoing basis.

Since the WWM was already in the process of reviewing its asset management practices and moving towards an integrated approach, the R&R program was built into this program. To address capital planning needs and look at existing asset management practices, WWM's directors created a 10-person core Asset Management Team tasked with initiating the development and implementation of an Asset Management Program with the initial goals of:

Improving R&R and other capital planning and budgeting

Supporting a structured condition management program

Leveraging existing practices to minimize the impact of the program on staff;

Integrating information systems to better support management decisions

Documenting the program to support future training and succession planning

Through a series of facilitated workshops, the team developed an approach and program that best achieved these goals.

Document Type: Research Article


Publication date: January 1, 2006

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