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To address growing concerns of its board members and staff, the Inland Empire Utilities Agency (IEUA) hired PBS&J, a consulting engineering firm, to inspect, assess and develop a capital improvement plan for approximately 50 miles of its large diameter wastewater system and 5 miles of force mains that convey non-reclaimable wastewater or “brine.” IEUA required the task to be completed within eight months so as to meet an annual budgeting cycle deadline. The team began with outdated as-built drawings, incomplete electronic records for the manholes and pipelines, and a reliance on the institutional knowledge of the operations staff. Identifying the access points for two force mains proved to be particularly challenging. All of this work demanded coordinating traffic control within six (6) jurisdictions, each with its own unique permit requirements. Also, IEUA, for the first time, specified digital video and database submissions for the inspection and assessment work, which created new electronic data management and storage challenges for IEUA.

Using the project data, PBS&J developed a five-year and a ten-year capital improvement plan, identifying when and where repair, rehabilitation and replacement is needed to avoid catastrophic failure. Optimizing the improvements and estimating the costs for future years resulted in a plan that IEUA staff is now using to prepare its annual budget and obtain funding. Another major result included the recommendation to establish a routine inspection and maintenance programs. Some of the other issues resolved during the project include:

Managing and storing the electronic mapping and inspection data received by IEUA;

Data integration with GIS for the creation of new and more accurate maps using the inspection data;

Coordinating efforts among staff, consultants and contractors to meet the project's aggressive schedule; and

Having the flexibility to adjust expectations based on information that became available as the project progressed.
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Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: 2007-01-01

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