Predictive water and sewer asset management for prioritizing capital investments in Cranberry Township

PI: Sean Qian
Co-PI(s): Burcu Akinci
University: Carnegie Mellon University

Cranberry Township owns and operates the public water and sewer infrastructure. Due to aging and deteriorating water and sewer pipelines and frequent repair/replacement to meet the desired performance of assets, residential sewer bills increased about 26% in 2014 and water bills jumped about 50% in 2015. According to the 2018 Cranberry Township budget summary, the township recognized the needs for efficient water and sewer infrastructure management program. This is a typical challenge for most Pennsylvania communities with aging and overused utility pipelines. As such, it is critical to predict the performance of water and sewer assets in the near future, and to plan for capital investments to maintain the desired serviceability for those assets.

In this research project, we partner with the Cranberry Township to develop an effective asset management system that provides not only the current asset information, but more importantly, the predicted asset performance in the next few years, as well as recommended decision making for capital planning. This project will open a new venue to utilize multi-source data to establish a more accurate pipeline deterioration model. Those data sets include, but are not limited to, utility usage, traffic volume, weather, pipeline inspections, past pipeline failure, pipeline locations, pipeline information (age, materials, length, etc.). An accurate pipeline deterioration rate will significantly improve the decisions on pro-active inspections and preventative pipeline repair/replacement plans. It also has great potential to improve the efficiency of asset data collection and management, data integration, data visualization, and contract tracking and management for a small PA community like Cranberry Township. In addition, the research will be able to retrieve data related to the roadway assets and maintenance schedules to coordinate schedules between construction projects of both roadways and pipelines.