A participant posed the question below:
“Dealing with several decades of deferred maintenance in few written records can be quite complicated. How can we implement asset management when we do not even know the true extent of our utility’s assets that exists in the field or their true aging condition, especially for buried assets?”
And I think if you go back to Ross’s answer to the last question, I think that would be a good starting point.
You may not know the true extent of your buried assets. You may not know exactly the condition but you might know as he mentioned, whether it’s on the first third of its life, the middle third or the last third of its life, so was it put in relatively recently.
In which case, it would be on the first third of its life and was it put in maybe a couple of decades ago. Maybe on the middle third of its life, or was it put in, 60, 70, 80 years ago, it’s on the final third of its life.
To give you that starting point of what are your dealing with, because you’re not going to know the true extent of all of the assets that are in the field but you can have some idea of when they were first put in.
And just talking to operators about what their experience is when they dig up those buried assets can give you some insights into how bad the assets are.
When they dig them up to make a repair, you know, what did they encountering? What did the pipe look like? How are they behaving? Are they structurally failed?
Do they have difficulty putting a clamp on it to make a repair because the pipe does not have structural integrity? Or is it fairly easy for them to do that? If they actually have to cut a piece of pipe out to replace it, what does it look like, inside, outside?
So kind of combining the two things. You know the first approach that Ross talked about is just listing out the major pieces of assets that you have. Like you have the wells, you have the tanks, you have the pumps, you have pipes, that sort of thing.
And then just making your best estimate of whether it’s in the first third of life, middle third or last third. Kind of gets you started with at least the rudimentary idea of what the condition like. And then supplementing that with fieldwork.
Fieldwork in the sense that you’re going to talk to the operators and people who are out there. And talk to past operators as well, if you still know who they are and you can still contact them.
Don’t overlook talking to past operators about what they’ve seen because that will help you even think about well, how bad was it when, you know, John was our operator compared to now when Fred is the operator. How are things looking and it’s been 10 years and why it was a whole lot better with John and Fred, so maybe it’s getting worse quickly.
So you try to supplement your initial estimate of where you are in the lifecycle of these assets by what the people in the field are actually finding, to kind of give you a starting place of where to go, which is sometimes the best you can do if you don’t have a lot of records, if you don’t have a lot of information from the past, if you’re starting with your best judgment on you know what’s going on under the ground or what was happening over time.
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