Heather Himmelberger and Ross Waugh discussed the questions that were sent before the webinar. One of the questions was:
Somebody wants to start an asset management plan, what do you tell them?
Great. So, where we are going to start is actually at the very basic question. We’ve got quite a few questions coming in along the lines of where do we start, how do we begin, how do you set up an asset management program, what’s the best way to start if you’re a small system?
So, a lot of questions along those lines of just where a perfect starting place is.
So, Ross, I’ll throw that question out to you. Somebody wants to start an asset management plan, what do you tell them?
Well, I’m of the age that I grew up with the “Sound of Music,” so I would take Julie Andrews’s advice, which is to start at the very beginning. I think Ms. Heather and I were discussing this before the webinar begins.
One of the good things to do is find an area where you’ve got a problem that needs solving.
And that might be a pump, or it might be some valves. It might be a well, a bore, or a well, or it could be a tank.
Start where you’ve got some urgent needs or some problems and do some inventory or some condition assessment or maybe some work history and gather that up. Do a little study on that, and that will get you going.
It will help you get the systems and processes in place to start your asset management. But you are also reporting back to your management or your board or your municipality.
They’d go, hey, that was good, and that solved our problem. We’ve now got a path forward, and I think you’ve had a perfect example, Heather.
Yes, we worked with many utilities where they are very small, and we tried to encourage them to think of something that would help you.
So, what would make your life a little bit better? What would make you sleep a little bit better at night?
And so just a couple of examples. One utility had a bunch of valves, and it turns out some of their valves turned to the right, and some of their valves turned to the left.
And you can imagine the problems that might occur if people out to operate the valve and you’re not sure whether it’s a right valve or a left valve. And you don’t know which way to turn it.
So, you’re going to break a lot of valves that way and cause yourself a lot of trouble.
So, please think of the extra work you create by either breaking the valve or trying to spend a lot of time figuring out which way they turn.
So, for them, a really good starting place was, let’s go out and figure out.
- Which valves turn which direction?
- Where are the valves?
- How many turns it takes?
- What direction do they go?
And then they painted the inside of the valve can lid a specific color. So, if it was turning to the right, it is one color; if it turns to the left, it was another color.
So, you can imagine how much time and effort you’re going to save by having that information now available to you.
So they had an inventory. They had a map, and then they have these painted valve cans.
Now the time they save by not having to fix a lot of valves, by not having to spend a lot of time figuring out which way they turn, can be used for something else.
Maybe the next thing is I want to know where my meters are or know where my pipe is. So, you can start small and keep building from there.
You don’t have to do everything at once if you don’t want to. Other people start with like a meter inventory. And think about, do I know where all my meters are?
So that gets you into revenue issue. Like, is every customer having a meter and paying? And you might think the answer is yes, but not always.