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A Methodology For Simultanteously Prioritzing CSOs and Aging Infrastructure

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While many CSO municipalities are confronted with EPA mandates to mitigate water quality impacts from combined sewer overflows, these same cities have aging sewer infrastructures that require significant investment. Often it is a difficult choice between the lesser of two evils: fix the system deficiencies before they become failures or mitigate the CSO overflows to achieve regulatory compliance. Under the threat of regulatory enforcement and fines, priority is given to the CSO problem. As the aging infrastructure goes unattended, it continues to deteriorate and will eventually fail, resulting in costly reactive emergency responses. The cost to repair and renew the existing infrastructure (both CSO and non-CSO) needs to be understood and factored into the affordability analysis for the CSO Long-Term Control Program. Without understanding the risks, costs, and timetable needed to stave off system failures, a municipality faces further regulatory actions from the inevitable Sewer System Overflows (SSOs) that will likely result when that aging pumping station or force main fails.

Using asset management Best Practices and risk assessment tools, a municipality can arm itself with the information and data it needs to prioritize those assets at greatest risk (based on probability of failure and consequences of failure); identify the full costs of system management and affordability; and develop a phased approach to address both CSOs and aging infrastructure.
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Keywords: Aging infrastructure; Combined Sewer Overflows (CSOs); Sewer System Overflows (SSOs); affordability analysis; asset management; consequences of failure; key assets; probability of failure; risk; triple-bottom-line

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: 2010-01-01

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