City of Laredo Modernizes its Asset Management System (Source: Water Finance & Management)

Jun 5, 2020

By Travis Michel

The City of Laredo, Texas, has an extensive water and wastewater infrastructure system comprising more than 2000 miles of pipelines, two water treatment plants, six wastewater treatment plants, 75 lift stations, 19 storage tanks and booster stations, and greater than 12,000 manholes.

Over the years, the City utilized a combination of SCADA, maintenance logs, spread sheets and paper ticketing forms to manage daily service requests and routine maintenance activities for tracking historical information, such as pipe breaks, valve maintenance, manhole cleaning, etc. With the work order information spread across various forms, e-mails, texts and conversations, this led to communication gaps between different workforce levels, inefficiencies in generating accurate reports, and difficulties in tracking labor and materials costs.

“If a work order status wasn’t updated and someone from the management needed to check the status, they had to go search for the person who had the information,” said Adrian Gause, CFM, administrative planner for the City of Laredo Utilities Department. “So, locating the information became quite cumbersome.”

In 2015, a new director, Riazul Mia, P.E., started with the City’s utilities department, after collaborating with the department for many years as a director in another City department. He saw the need to modernize its asset management program and centralize its work order system to better understand its equipment, labor and material costs, thereby, the cost of operation. One of the more efficient methods to develop a program is to invest in professional development curriculum, notes Gause. A few of the City’s employees enrolled in classes offered by the Buried Asset Management Institute – International (BAMI-I).  Staff also attended the Water Asset Management Conference in Boston to learn about current practices and develop a peer city network.

Subsequently, in May 2016, the City hired Lockwood, Andrews & Newnam, Inc. (LAN), a national planning, engineering and program management firm, and NewEdge Services, LLC, an asset/work management consulting firm, to implement the City’s asset management program.