kansas city water

KC Water Removes Guesswork on Asset Repair and Replacements

Being the largest city in the state of Missouri, the geographic area of Kansas City is 318 square miles and is home to approximately 500,000 people. KC Water manages the City’s water distribution, wastewater collection and treatment, and stormwater systems.

Their service population includes 173,000 residential and business and 32 wholesale water customers, as well as 27 inter-jurisdictional sewer customers.

The asset network at KC Water is comprised of 2,800 miles of water mains, several pumping and storage facilities, and one water treatment facility that serves the entire customer base.

The sewer asset network includes 2,800 miles of sewer mains, as well as multiple wastewater pumping stations and treatment facilities.

The Challenge: an Aging and Complex Network

As is common with many North American utilities, the underground water and wastewater pipe network in Kansas City is aging while population and demand continue to grow. 

“We have cast-iron water mains that date back to the early 1900’s,” Melanie Jollett, Senior Registered Engineer, noted.

Hear firsthand from KC Water about their success in our recent Q&A: Water Talks.

These aging assets have led to water main breaks, sinkholes, and, in some cases hastened the deterioration of adjacent assets not associated with the water system.

KC Water is also subject to a federal Consent Decree of $4B over a 25- year period to reduce wet-weather overflow volume from their sanitary sewer network.

This combination of factors drove the asset management team at KC Water to develop and implement high-fidelity asset management plans with the goal of sound financial and environmental stewardship. 

“To us, the prioritization of resource distribution is incredibly important,” Scott Parker, Utility Asset Manager, said.

The Solution: Bringing Together Information and Defining Risk

In the past, the teams at KC Water used separate software solutions to put together their prescriptive asset management plans. Now, they have a universal source of truth for their asset R&R prioritization with InfoAsset Planner.

KC Water selected a solution that helps them meet the requirements of the Consent Decree, while also prioritizing rehabilitation and replacement (R&R) on assets that may have a higher business risk exposure (BRE).

“We needed something that had cross-departmental value. Something that could be used for our annual sewer rehabilitation program as well as our water main replacement plans,” Parker noted. “We saw that InfoAsset Planner could do that for us,” he added.

Figure 1. ArcGIS Online dashboard displaying potential project
areas by BRE as defined in InfoAsset Planner

The Result: Improving Systems of Record and Prioritization

InfoAsset Planner gives KC Water’s asset management team a single tool that brings together all their relevant asset data and analyzes it for better R&R initiatives. “It helps us easily build likelihood of failure and consequence of failure scenarios. It brings in all of our information from our relevant systems and is easily repeatable,”  Parker said.

“We use InfoAsset Planner to create a better digital representation of our systems as they currently sit. This helps improve the information going into our other systems of record by showing where the gaps are,” he added.

To easily visualize and communicate their plans - and with the help of a consulting firm, Burns & McDonnell - the sewer management team at KC Water has a clear, geospatially represented dashboard of the high-risk large diameter sewer assets as defined by their BRE framework in InfoAsset Planner (Figure 1).

Figure 2. InfoAsset Planner prioritized water main replacement plans

For their water main replacement plan, InfoAsset Planner provides a clear roadmap for R&R (Figure 2). “Starting from scratch, we identified 28 miles of mains to be replaced. These recommendations helped gain stakeholder buy-in for continued asset management plans that are defensible, and repeatable at KC Water,” Jollett said. 

“It is easy for us to share information to other departments within the City. We can compare our main replacement projects with the pavement repair projects identified in Public Works. We can coordinate our projects to reduce the disturbance to roadways.” Jollett noted. “We just used different GIS layers. This transfer of information is one of the coolest outcomes,” she added.

“Now we have a more complete view of where the risks in our system live,” Parker said. “InfoAsset Planner gives us that ability to see things in a way that we did not have before,” he added.

The Future

Looking ahead, KC Water will continue to use InfoAsset Planner to inform their sewer line and water main replacement programs.

“We’re looking at over $20M a year in sewer repair and replacement projects that will be linked to InfoAsset Planner,” Parker said. They are also evaluating extending InfoAsset Planner’s use for their stormwater network.

“We’d like to bring in some results from InfoWater, our hydraulic model, and look at pressures, velocities, and headloss curves in the mains to determine if we need to upsize pipes instead of just replacing them,” Jollett said.

Ultimately, InfoAsset Planner has helped consolidate and analyze the relevant information for KC Water’s water distribution and wastewater networks. They continue to operate efficiently, and with their community’s best interest in mind. “We are creating priority around what matters to our organization and to the population that we serve,” Parker said.

Learn more about InfoAsset Planner