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The City of Scottsdale's Buried Pipeline Asset Management Program Optimizes Data Management for Improved Decision-Making

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The City of Scottsdale embarked on a journey to complete a comprehensive asset management program, In order to plan for the long-term stability of their above- and below-ground infrastructure including pipeline assets worth 4.8 billion. The buried pipeline part of the program largely consisted of three components: ongoing measurement of pipeline asset condition, utilization of that data to classify assets by condition and risk of failure, and making financial arrangements to repair or replace assets that pose an unacceptable risk to the City.

A major hurdle that must be overcome to implement any pipeline asset management program is to manage the large amounts of data describing each pipe, its condition, and risk rankings, and then summarize this information for financial planning. Records of pipeline material, installation date, or other useful information are usually incomplete. Pipe failure or condition rating data is often not complete, not linked to the specific pipe, and not in a form that correlates pipe failures with their cause. Even if this information was complete and correct, the large volume of data makes it difficult to identify priorities for repair or replacement. Good data is necessary to measure the condition of pipe assets, to understand the condition of the overall system, and to track improvements to overall pipe condition.

One organizational approach that cities and utilities use to provide leadership for successful asset management programs is to not wait for complete, accurate data or the ideal software program to manage the process. Asset management programs are unique to each city's assets, data, level of service goals, and resources. The City of Scottsdale chose to proceed by collecting and organizing the data, and by setting up the processes for asset management. The City may choose to use an internally developed software program or a commercially developed program to perform asset management tasks. By embarking on the asset management program, the City has gained valuable insights into the functionality that would be helpful for their own program. These insights were gained by first developing a prototype with the desired functionality using the readily available ArcGIS from ESRI and Microsoft Excel. The City has been using its own, internally developed program to perform many operational and asset management tasks. This program, called the “Asset Management Dashboard (AMD) ”, already had graphical, analytical, and database capabilities. Furthermore, the AMD was accepted by the operations and maintenance staff, and is used daily. The City realized that they could incorporate the functionality prototyped in GIS and Excel into the AMD, and thus improve operational efficiency by enhancing an existing program for comprehensive pipeline asset management.

This paper explains the process of developing the asset management program and discusses major components of the program. Lessons learned from the process so far are provided, along with a discussion of items that the City will need to address as the asset management program proceeds. This paper will demonstrate how other cities could use a similar approach to implement asset management.

Keywords: Asset Management; Capital Improvement Program; Condition Assessment; Criticality; Linear Assets; Repair and Replacement; Risk

Document Type: Research Article


Publication date: January 1, 2010

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