Asset management of wastewater networks

Ugarelli, Rita Maria (2008) Asset management of wastewater networks, [Dissertation thesis], Alma Mater Studiorum Università di Bologna. Dottorato di ricerca in Ingegneria idraulica: scienze e tecnologie dell'acqua, 20 Ciclo.
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Asset Management (AM) is a set of procedures operable at the strategic-tacticaloperational level, for the management of the physical asset’s performance, associated risks and costs within its whole life-cycle. AM combines the engineering, managerial and informatics points of view. In addition to internal drivers, AM is driven by the demands of customers (social pull) and regulators (environmental mandates and economic considerations). AM can follow either a top-down or a bottom-up approach. Considering rehabilitation planning at the bottom-up level, the main issue would be to rehabilitate the right pipe at the right time with the right technique. Finding the right pipe may be possible and practicable, but determining the timeliness of the rehabilitation and the choice of the techniques adopted to rehabilitate is a bit abstruse. It is a truism that rehabilitating an asset too early is unwise, just as doing it late may have entailed extra expenses en route, in addition to the cost of the exercise of rehabilitation per se. One is confronted with a typical ‘Hamlet-isque dilemma’ – ‘to repair or not to repair’; or put in another way, ‘to replace or not to replace’. The decision in this case is governed by three factors, not necessarily interrelated – quality of customer service, costs and budget in the life cycle of the asset in question. The goal of replacement planning is to find the juncture in the asset’s life cycle where the cost of replacement is balanced by the rising maintenance costs and the declining level of service. System maintenance aims at improving performance and maintaining the asset in good working condition for as long as possible. Effective planning is used to target maintenance activities to meet these goals and minimize costly exigencies. The main objective of this dissertation is to develop a process-model for asset replacement planning. The aim of the model is to determine the optimal pipe replacement year by comparing, temporally, the annual operating and maintenance costs of the existing asset and the annuity of the investment in a new equivalent pipe, at the best market price. It is proposed that risk cost provide an appropriate framework to decide the balance between investment for replacing or operational expenditures for maintaining an asset. The model describes a practical approach to estimate when an asset should be replaced. A comprehensive list of criteria to be considered is outlined, the main criteria being a visà- vis between maintenance and replacement expenditures. The costs to maintain the assets should be described by a cost function related to the asset type, the risks to the safety of people and property owing to declining condition of asset, and the predicted frequency of failures. The cost functions reflect the condition of the existing asset at the time the decision to maintain or replace is taken: age, level of deterioration, risk of failure. The process model is applied in the wastewater network of Oslo, the capital city of Norway, and uses available real-world information to forecast life-cycle costs of maintenance and rehabilitation strategies and support infrastructure management decisions. The case study provides an insight into the various definitions of ‘asset lifetime’ – service life, economic life and physical life. The results recommend that one common value for lifetime should not be applied to the all the pipelines in the stock for investment planning in the long-term period; rather it would be wiser to define different values for different cohorts of pipelines to reduce the uncertainties associated with generalisations for simplification. It is envisaged that more criteria the municipality is able to include, to estimate maintenance costs for the existing assets, the more precise will the estimation of the expected service life be. The ability to include social costs enables to compute the asset life, not only based on its physical characterisation, but also on the sensitivity of network areas to social impact of failures. The type of economic analysis is very sensitive to model parameters that are difficult to determine accurately. The main value of this approach is the effort to demonstrate that it is possible to include, in decision-making, factors as the cost of the risk associated with a decline in level of performance, the level of this deterioration and the asset’s depreciation rate, without looking at age as the sole criterion for making decisions regarding replacements.

Tipologia del documento
Tesi di dottorato
Ugarelli, Rita Maria
Dottorato di ricerca
Settore disciplinare
Settore concorsuale
Parole chiave
asset management life cycle costs analysis asset life o&m capital investment wastewater
Data di discussione
20 Maggio 2008

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