Challenge # SAM1R06 CO


A.  Challenge Scope

Develop Guidance and Decision Support tools for Communicating and Implementing a Strategic Asset Management Program (SAM) for Wastewater Facilities and Estimating Assets Performance and their Residual Economic Life. (See attached visual depicting the scope of the SAM Challenge)

B.  Key Challenge Goals

The main goals and objectives are as follows:

The SAM Challenge will also seek a strategic partnership with leading national and global asset management partners (Water Research Foundation, GWRC, UKWIR, WEF, CSIRO, and others) to gain synergy and coordination in SAM establishment, and develop a sustainable web-based database for compiling and benchmarking case studies of SAM implementation experiences and lessons learned. (In this context, the currently available WERF-developed SIMPLE -- Sustainable Infrastructure Management Program Learning Environment -- web portal would be used as a convenient platform for housing the database. See attached visual indicating the various core processes of SAM on which SIMPLE knowledge base is built.)

C.  Implementation Timeframe

The SAM Challenge will be implemented as a multi-year research program spanning the time period, Yr 2007 through Yr 2010. It will provide ample opportunities for asset management partners to undertake collaborative research in several SAM areas with co-funding and other forms of support. The Challenge will be implemented through a series of annual Task Orders that will specify the scope of work for execution.

D.  Desired Outcome

The results from this research will:

E.  Research Teams

To facilitate implementation and management, the SAM Challenge has been organized into five research ‘Tracks’ as shown in the attached SAM visual. The two selected Research Teams to carryout the SAM Challenge include:

Following paragraph summarizes the involvement of the EMA Team and the Virginia Tech Team relative to the five Tracks. Section II (Scope of Work) provides the details on the tasks involved in each Track under the Task Order being executed.

G.  Summary Description of Research Tracks

What follows is a brief summary of the key tasks involved in each Track. Detailed tasks and deliverables for each track are articulated in the proposals of the two selected Research Teams -- EMA-GHD-MWH Consortium and Virginia Tech —and will be spelled out in individual Task Orders:

Track 1. Stakeholders Communication Framework and Tools (EMA Team): This research track encompasses internal and external stakeholder communication about a utility’s asset management drivers and their overall SAM program. It is focused on two major tasks:

Before wastewater and water utilities can fully adopt and successfully implement SAM, decision makers such as elected and appointed officials and other stakeholders need to clearly understand the benefits, costs, and value SAM offers a community. The Research Team’s approach will build on – not reinvent – work already accomplished by other public education programs on asset management. Working closely with key public sector partners – the U.S. Conference of Mayors (USCM) and International City/County Management Association (ICMA) – the Team will conduct focus groups and surveys to determine perceptions and identify barriers.

Track 2. SAM Benchmarking and Case Studies (EMA Team): This research track embraces activities aimed at developing a benchmarking framework for SAM that will assist utilities to benefit from “best practices” that cover the technical aspects of SAM as well as organizational, technology, and communication practices. The benchmarking approach will determine the areas of study of “best practices” that provide the most benefit for utilities. Potential benchmarking partners (both national and international) will be identified and invited to participate in the screening benchmarking process. The Research Team will evaluate the SAM processes and practices of the selected utilities, in order to develop case studies and lessons learned in the application of asset management principles and best or leading-edge practices. Detailed evaluations of practices will be made based on structured site visits. Leading strategic asset management practices will be documented.

Track 3. Decision Support tools and Implementation Guidance (EMA Team): This is organized around two major elements:

It is intended to inventory and review available SAM tools. Sources will include agency practitioners, academics, research organizations, and professional associations as well as non-commercial software. The Team will also draw on internal databases of known products and will systematically search for leads on available tools, especially through Internet search tools. Within the cost constraints, new tools will be developed or existing tools will be leveraged to suit requirements. The initial batch of key tools slated for development include: Gap Analysis tool (‘SAMGAP’ tool, with potential Water Research Foundation co-funding), Benefit-Cost Valuation tool for better asset management decision making (with GWRC/UKWIR/Water Research Foundation co-funding), Risk Management Tool (with GWRC/UKWIR, Water Research Foundation, WSAA co-funding), and Condition Assessment Selection tool. Additional tools will be prioritized as the SAM Challenge implementation proceeds.

Track 4. Prediction of the Remaining Asset Life (EMA Team and Virginia Tech Team): This track involves investigation and development of techniques, tools and methodologies for the prediction of the remaining economic life of utility assets (both buried and aboveground). The EMA Team will study the aboveground assets and the Virginia Tech Team will investigate the buried assets. (EMA will also assist Virginia Tech in assembling international data on buried assets). In the short-term, the two Research Teams will define the state of practice on prediction of performance/decay curves via a literature and tool study. The approach of Virginia Tech also involves data mining of detailed asset information on the buried assets which are more complex to predict than the aboveground assets. In addition to structural and environmental factors, the Virginia Tech Team will also study the impact of operational/functional and economic factors on pipe failure. It is intended to develop a standard procedure for performance/condition rating and the study will employ advanced artificial intelligence techniques and/or mathematical modeling methodologies for deterioration models. The investigation and development of techniques, tools and methodologies for the definition and utilization of the remaining economic life of utility assets will be undertaken in such a way as to provide a stepwise development of concepts and protocols. Track 4 will also develop methodologies for setting up and maintaining a national/global database for performance/decay curves and condition assessment correlations.

Track 5. SIMPLE Web Site Enhancement, Communication and Outreach: This track encompasses three key activities relating to (i) ensuring technical compatibility of the contents or the outputs (documents, tools etc. being developed under the SAM Challenge) with the platform of the SIMPLE website and periodically posting Challenge outputs into the SIMPLE website; (ii)establishing a secure, dedicated web site (‘Team Room’) to be used by the Research Team personnel, Issue Area Team members and WERF/Water Research Foundation/Co-funders; and (iii) conducting outreach activities (stakeholders webcasts, meetings etc.).

H.  Challenge Deliverables Overview

Each track emphasizes near-, medium-, and long-term tasks that reflect: (i) priorities discussed at the recent Program Area Meetings organized by WERF; (ii) inquiries from WERF subscribers; and (iii) recommendations of the cofounders for delivering products beneficial to the waters sector utilities.

Following Table lists each research track’s deliverables by timeframe. As noted earlier, the scope of work for each Task Order will have a detailed list of tasks and deliverables.