City of Tacoma, Washington

City of Tacoma Improves Budgeting and Capital Projects


A City Committed to Sustainability and Resilience

On the banks of Puget Sound and in the shadow of Mount Rainier exists Tacoma, Washington. The city is home to approximately 211,000 residents, making it the third largest in the state of Washington. Tacoma’s vision is one focused on stewardship and resiliency, as outlined the Environmental Services Department strategic plan: “We believe everything we do supports healthy neighborhoods and a thriving Puget Sound, leaving a better Tacoma for all.”

Tacoma’s Environmental Services Department has been developing an Asset Management Plan (AMP) since 2015. As AMPs become increasingly important and are a foundation to preventative maintenance planning, it is critical to have the right solution in putting together an effective asset management program. To do this, the City of Tacoma relies on Innovyze’s InfoAsset Planner to conduct risk analysis on its wastewater and surface water collection system assets and to prioritize maintenance needs. The result? A clearer picture of which assets need to be serviced, and when, and an accurate cost estimate based on extensive calculation of risk.

The Challenge

Consolidation of Data, Reduction of Manual Input

Teresa Dressler is an Engineer and has worked for the City of Tacoma for 18 years, focusing on the city’s wastewater management system. The system itself consists of two wastewater treatment plants, which treat billions of gallons of wastewater each year, multiple pump stations, and more than 700 miles of sewer pipe. Her colleague, Kali Legg, an Environmental Specialist, has been with the City since 2011, focusing on the surface water system. This includes four pump stations, more than 22,000 catch basins, over 500 miles of public stormwater pipe, and numerous detention ponds/structures. Together, Teresa and Kali are curating Tacoma’s AMP to ensure responsible and efficient management of their respective systems’ integrity. When asked what problems they faced before their implementation of InfoAsset Planner, Teresa and Kali stated in agreement, ”We had spreadsheets everywhere.” When they needed answers to questions such as which assets are in sensitive or risk-prone areas like a wetland, or under a rail network, they found that “we had to manually build spreadsheets and at times questioned if the work was even getting done.” They needed to address these issues and began searching for the right tool.

It's given us a place to put a lot of data - so that we can improve our budgeting and capital projects.

The Solution

A Clearer Determination of Risk and Maintenance Priorities for Now and the Future

Teresa and Kali’s team spent some time looking for the right software. They were relieved to find something that was “exactly what we needed, exactly what we wanted – and was something we did not have to develop”. It turns out that InfoAsset Planner was the right choice for administering Tacoma’s AMP. With InfoAsset Planner, risk management is streamlined by taking ArcGIS and CCTV data and employing advanced modeling technologies to generate Likelihood of Failure (LOF) and Consequence of Failure (COF) for each infrastructure asset. Working within custom parameters, risk analysis is used to generate a decision tree that can identify high priority action items based on data and logic. Kali stated, “We have so much information, so many assets, it was hard to know where to start, where to even look. [This software] helped highlight high-risk assets. We can identify maintenance and capital projects using it as our guide.”

They were especially thrilled at InfoAsset Planner's customizable risk scenarios. “It's helped identify data issues, places where data needed to be cleaned up, and places where data was lacking,” Teresa and Kali added. Looking to the future, Teresa and Kali are working on a 100-year risk assessment plan to proactively address future stresses on their collection system infrastructure. By using InfoAsset Planner, they are empowered to more easily determine the Remaining Useful Life (RUL) of different assets based on variables such as age, pipe material, condition, and location. InfoAsset Planner can then generate a complete risk matrix of LOF and COF to determine a risk score. In doing so, the City of Tacoma can prioritize future needs and resource allocation for repair and rehabilitation projects in both the city’s stormwater and wastewater systems for years to come.

The Result

Efficient Deployment of Maintenance to Save both Time and Money

Teresa and Kali acknowledged how InfoAsset Planner has helped them shift from reactive decision-making to identifying which assets are in greater need of surveys and interventions. In closing, Kali summarized their success with InfoAsset Planner: “[It’s] given us a place to put a lot of data – so that we can improve our budgeting and capital projects. It’s not sitting in buckets where we don’t know what to do with it. Having a place to consolidate all of the data together has been very useful.” While Teresa and her team are still doing some corrective maintenance, as their wealth of data continues to be consolidated in InfoAsset Planner they will be able to more easily shift towards preventative action to save both time and money.

Looking for an Asset Management solution?