There is little doubt that America’s infrastructure is aging, and in some cases, operating well beyond its originally intended lifespan. With labor costs representing up to half of the cost of pipe replacement, the key to cost-effective water and wastewater utility strategies revolves as much around labor-saving installation efficiency as it does around the physical performance of a particular material. Here is a look at historic failure rates, causes, and factors to consider when replacing existing water distribution and sewer networks.
Inflow and infiltration (I&I) are ongoing concerns for many wastewater utilities. Even with diligent maintenance of infrastructure, there are limits to what can be controlled. One example of that is leakage in the lateral service lines connecting the sewer utility’s main to sewer customer buildings. Here is how one municipality took advantage of federal and local funding to encourage nearly 2,500 customers to upgrade deficient connections in their lateral service lines — to the tune of more than $4 million.
The trend of losing top-tier water-treatment employees to retirement has been receiving enough press recently that water treatment plant (WTP) and wastewater treatment plant (WWTP) managers are starting to plan ahead. Having to groom and certify mid-level employees to fill top-tier spots is difficult enough. Finding qualified and interested prospects to fill in entry-level positions is getting even harder.