Water Environment Federation (WEF)

A preventive maintenance program lifts the veil on asset management

In 2002, the City of Columbus, Ohio and the State of Ohio entered into a consent order agreement requiring Columbus to “develop and implement a program to address the capacity, management, and operation and maintenance of its sewer system.” One condition of that consent order requires the City to “conduct routine preventive operation and maintenance activities for its sewers” to minimize overflows and basement backups. Prior to consent order issuance, a vast majority of Columbus’ operation and maintenance (O&M) activities were reactive. Preventive maintenance (PM) activities were limited to known, recurring problem areas called essential preventive maintenance (EPM) areas, which receive maintenance on a scheduled cycle to address chronic problems and reduce the risk of overflows or basement backups. How DOSD is improving their maintenance operations for their collection system presents an excellent example of optimizing maintenance strategies for all of a utility’s assets. The evolution of PM activities implemented by Columbus to improve collection system performance and reduce backups is detailed herein. The increasing role that Asset Management principles are playing to meet consent order requirements and improve operations at Columbus’ Division of Sewerage and Drainage (DOSD) , including the PM requirements, is also described herein.

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