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The Utility Management Toolset: How Virginia Beach Positioned For Consent Order Compliance

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The City of Virginia Beach Department of Public Utilities (City) entered into a Regional Sanitary Sewer Overflow (SSO) Special Order by Consent (Consent Order, effective September 2007) with the Virginia Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) which required significant funding to achieve compliance. The Consent Order requires flow monitoring, sanitary sewer field investigations, prompt repair of certain defects, hydraulic model development, development of a prioritized rehabilitation plan, and development of a Regional Wet-Weather Management Plan. The Regional Wet Weather Management Plan is to be developed in conjunction with the 14 other localities in Tidewater Virginia. The Consent Order compliance costs were estimated to be 45 million over a 6-year period from 2007 through 2013.

At the time the City entered into the consent Order, they were operating with a 15 million/year water and sanitary sewer capital improvement program (CIP). The CIP funds were used primarily to conduct refurbishment and replacement (R/R) of the City's existing 405 sanitary sewer pumping stations and 1,400 + miles of gravity sewer, and there was a belief amongst the utility staff that the reinvestment level was too low to sustain the infrastructure. On top of the underfunded CIP, the Consent Order financial impacts could consume as much as 50% of the City's available capital funds. This paper will describe the details of the development of the replacement planning and criticality models and discusses how these utility management tools were used as part of the City's Strategic Planning to obtain funding and prioritize spending in an effort to sustain the infrastructure and support regulatory compliance.

Keywords: Infrastructure funding; Replacement planning; consent order compliance; risk-based criticality; strategic planning

Document Type: Research Article


Publication date: January 1, 2010

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