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Asset Management for Water and Wastewater Professionals

Jim Newton, P.E., DEE

Asset management consists of the following five steps:

  • Taking an inventory. Before a facility, whether drinking water or wastewater, can manage its assets, it needs to know what assets they have and what condition they are in. This information will help the facility schedule rehabilitations and replacements of your assets.
  • Prioritizing assets. The water or wastewater system probably has a limited budget. Prioritizing the assets will ensure that the facility allocates funds to the rehabilitation or replacement of its most important assets.
  • Developing an asset management plan. Planning for the rehabilitation and replacement of a facility’s assets includes estimating how much money will be needed each year to maintain the operation of the system. This includes developing a budget and calculating the required reserves.
  • Implementing the asset management plan. Once the facility has determined how much money it will have to set aside each year and how much additional funding (if any) it will need to match that amount, the facility needs to work with its management and customers and with regulators to carry out the plan and ensure that the facility has the technical and financial means to deliver safe water to its customers.
  • Reviewing and revising the asset management plan. Once the facility has developed an asset management plan, the facility should not stick it in a drawer and forget about it! The asset management plan should be used to help the facility shape its operations. It is a flexible document that should evolve as the facility gains more information and as priorities shift.

  • Asset management will help a facility improve the management of its system by:

  • Increasing its knowledge of its system, this will allow the facility to make better financial decisions. This is useful information when considering options to address various system challenges such as meeting regulatory requirements or upgrading system security.
  • Reducing system “down-time” and the number of emergency repairs, since the facility will have planned for the replacement and rehabilitation of its assets.
  • Prioritizing rehabilitation and replacement needs and providing time to research cost-effective alternatives.
  • Showing investors and the public that it is using its money effectively and efficiently, which may make them more likely to increase investment or tolerate rate increases.
  • Giving it greater access to financial assistance. Some funding sources give applicants extra credit (higher priority ratings) for having an asset management plan or a capital improvement plan.

  • The US EPA is emphasizing asset management as a way to ensure the sustainability of both drinking water and wastewater systems. The EPA has developed a variety of asset management documents. This course is based upon the following EPA documents:
  • “Asset Management: A Handbook for Small Water Systems”, EPA 816-R-03-016, September 2003.
  • “Taking Stock of Your Water System”, EPA 816-K-03-002, October 2004.
  • “Setting Small Drinking Water Rates for a Sustainable Future”, EPA 816-R-05-006, January 2006.
  • “Asset Management: A Best Practices Guide”, EPA 816-F-08-014, April 2008.
  • “Asset Management for Local Officials”, EPA 816-F-08-015, April 2008.
  • “Building an Asset Management Team”, EPA 816-F-08-016, April 2008.

  • This course includes a multiple-choice quiz at the end, which is designed to enhance the understanding of the course materials.

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    NY PE & PLS: You must choose courses that are technical in nature or related to matters of laws and ethics contributing to the health and welfare of the public. NY Board does not accept courses related to office management, risk management, leadership, marketing, accounting, financial planning, real estate, and basic CAD. Specific course topics that are on the borderline and are not acceptable by the NY Board have been noted under the course description on our website.