Asset Inventory/ Mapping and Condition Assessment
The first step in managing utility assets is to complete a comprehensive inventory of system components (i.e., pipes, valves, tanks, pumps, wells, treatment facilities, hydrants, and any other components that make up the system). Once identified and catalogued, the next critical steps are to locate or map the assets, determine their condition, and establish the remaining useful life of each identified and catalogued component.
Inventorying and mapping may occur in stages based on the level of detail of the system components included. These stages could include:
- Basic/ threshold (where the key components of the system are inventoried and mapped, such as water mains and trunks and pumps);
- Intermediate (more detail such as motors of pumps identified in first stage);
- Advanced (for example, laterals to water mains and trunks included)
The purpose of this Asset Management component is to ensure that most system assets have been inventoried and that their condition and remaining useful life have been considered and documented. Having an inventory of assets that includes both spatial location and condition will help inform future management and capital project decisions. Put simply, this endeavor serves as the essential bridge that can demonstrate how the utility arrived at priorities within its O&M and Capital Improvement Plans and Financial Management Strategy.
- Asset Identification:
- Locate/Identify the assets.
- Develop a numbering system or nomenclature (unique identifier) that will facilitate identifying the asset, or reverse lookup, at a future date;
- Determine the remaining life and value of the assets;
Determine the energy use of the assetsThe best method of gathering information about energy use by an individual asset is actual metered energy usage; however, most utilities don’t have energy meters on each piece of equipment that uses energy and some utilities may only have one master energy meter that indicates overall energy use. In these cases, estimates will have to be made of asset energy use based on load, performance factors, equipment efficiencies, operator experiences, manufacturer’s data, and reference guides. A particular reference guide that may be helpful is EPA’s Energy Star Program.
- Developing an Asset Inventory:
Once the answers to the questions in the previous section are determined (what assets the water system owns, where each component is located, what condition it is in, and what type and how much energy does it use), the information must be organized in an asset inventory.
- Asset Mapping:
Mapping of a system’s inventoried assets is another critical component of asset management. It is strongly recommended that each utility map its inventoried horizontal assets (such as interceptor pipelines and collection system lines or mains and laterals) in an
acceptable digitized GIS formatDigital mapping shall conform to the “New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection Mapping the Present to Protect New Jersey’s Future: Mapping and Digital Data Standards,” in N.J.A.C. 7:1D, Appendix A. Guidance related to the mapping and digital data standards is available at the DEP’s website at https://www.state.nj.us/dep/gis. The Department will provide its GIS theme coverage(s), associated metadata and digital data transfer standards, as established at N.J.A.C. 7:1D, Appendix A, at the request of the applicant.. Linking an asset inventory with digitized geospatial data of system assets allows for a detailed mapping of the system that offers many benefits:
- Allows the utility to quickly and easily locate assets for inspections, maintenance, and protection/recovery during or after an emergency/event;
- Promotes effective decision-making;
- Reduces time, energy and disruption (e.g. roadway excavation/detours) that otherwise would be spent attempting to locate certain assets;
- Enhances personnel succession planning – institutional knowledge of system assets often leaves with personnel as they move on to other positions or retire;
- The GIS format is consistent with the Department’s mapping and data record system.
The asset inventory or part of an AM Plan should identify how up-to-date asset maps can be accessed.
- Condition Assessment/ Remaining Useful Life:
Determining the original life span as well as the useful (remaining) life of each infrastructure component is essential for prioritizing asset improvements and cash reserve needs. Infrastructure asset characteristics, such as the date of installation, construction materials, repair history and environmental conditions, allow for a qualified assessment of the condition of the system’s components and how much longer they may reliably be expected to remain in service. In order to do this, an estimate of the remaining useful life of each of the inventoried assets is needed.
The useful life of each infrastructure component can be determined by using the manufacturer’s recommendations or estimates from industry guidance for specific types of components. The useful life values can be adjusted based on the specific circumstances and experiences of the utility such as the component’s service history and current condition. The relative condition of each of the inventoried assets can be assessed by using a ranking scale based on extent of deterioration or ability to be repaired/ serviced. For example, on a scale of 1-5, 1= new or excellent condition; 3=moderate deterioration