New Ohio legislature mandates that all public water systems in the state be required to have an asset management plan in place by October 1, 2018. Here's what you need to know to prepare.
If you're not familiar, Ohio enacted new legislature in June of 2017 mandating that all public water systems in the state be required to have an asset management plan in place by October 1, 2018. The goal is to improve water quality across Ohio's 4,000 public water systems, with a focus on reducing phosphorus in Lake Erie's Western Basin by 40 percent come 2025.
Here's what you need to know to get started, with additional resources below.
What's meant by "asset management"?
This is how the US EPA defines it:
"Asset management is the practice of managing infrastructure capital assets to minimize the total cost of owning and operating these assets while delivering the desired service levels. Many utilities use asset management to pursue and achieve sustainable infrastructure. A high-performing asset management program includes detailed asset inventories, operation and maintenance tasks, and long-range financial planning."
Who does this affect?
It affects a wide range of people in Ohio, namely those working on city council or advisory boards, as well as those affiliated with GIS and water distribution.
Why should we care?
First, you don't want to be deemed non-compliant come October 2018. Second, there are many benefits to an asset management plan beyond compliance. With an effective plan in place, you'll be able to conquer preventive maintenance before any assets fail, as well as put together a proper, data-backed case for why capital investments are needed.
Should I be doing something now, or wait until October?
Don't wait. The time to start prepping for this mandate is now. That's because proof of compliance will require data, and that information doesn't pop up overnight. It can take months to collect the data the EPA will want to see. Not only that, setting up your asset management plan isn't a quick turnaround. While it isn't that difficult if you have the right approach and software, it does take time and effort to form an organized, effective plan. Start now and save yourself the headache come October.
What will future requirements be?
Here's what the Ohio EPA lists:
- Inventory of assets. Certain assets will be required to have in the inventory, while the depth of the inventory can be determined by the water system, and information regarding status, location and age should be collected for each asset
- Evaluation of assets. Each asset on the inventory would have a condition assessment to help determine when it may need to be repaired or has reached the end of its useful life
- Level of service. From a list of suggested topics, water systems will be required to develop and track at least three levels of service
- Metrics. Pre-determined by the state, metrics are measures to be tracked and reported annually by the water system. Metrics will differ by type of water system. Some examples of these metrics include: operating budget or ratio; non-revenue water; repair, rehabilitation or replacement tasks per year; breaks per mile of distribution and summary of completed capital improvement projects
- Operation and maintenance programs. Written programs that include testing and maintenance protocols and schedules that are written in enough detail that an operator unfamiliar with the system would be able to run it
Where can I learn more?
More information can be found through the Ohio EPA (check out their asset management guides) or by reviewing the official Ohio legislature.