The City of Raleigh Public Utilities Department (Raleigh Water) maintains the water and wastewater infrastructure for 600,000 customers in Raleigh, North Carolina, and six surrounding communities. Raleigh’s drinking water distribution system originally dates to 1887 with the construction of the City’s first water treatment plant. Additionally, the utility has documented a number of cast iron pipes installed as part of the original system throughout the heart of downtown Raleigh.
Raleigh water had been an early adopter of data-driven approaches to assessing risk and prioritizing pipeline intervention based on existing industry best practices. Even so, with an extensive network of 2,340 miles of pipeline comprised of more than 88,000 individual pipe segments, some of which date back more than 100 years, efficiently managing risk had become an increasingly difficult challenge. The utility determined that its current strategy was resulting in valuable time and energy being expended to replace assets prematurely, while leaving higher-risk areas of the network in place.