Operation and Maintenance Practices and Training

Operations and maintenance (O&M) strategies are a key component to minimizing the cost of asset ownership. A systematic approach to O&M practices can maximize the use and value of existing assets. Providing formal training programs, tools and technology are also needed to ensure staff are equipped to effectively manage today’s complex asset base.

Maintaining Assets

All utilities practice some level of systematic maintenance and provide for repairs when needed. Depending on the complexity of a utility’s infrastructure, maintenance programs can range from relatively simple manual systems to sophisticated computerized maintenance management systems (see Chapter 4 for discussion of CMMS and other tools). A well-planed maintenance program has several benefits:

  • Assets performed at optimal levels, reducing service disruptions due to asset failure
  • The cost of asset maintenance can be quantified
  • Maintenance practices can be correlated to a level of service
  • A balanced program can be developed that optimizes maintenance vs. renewal and replacement

Assessing Current Practices

One of the important initial steps in implementing asset management is to assess current O&M practices within the utility. This will help the utility objectively understand its strengths and weaknesses and provide a basis for developing priorities for improvement. Through a systematic approach, a “Gap” analysis can be performed to help better quantify the status of current practices. The “International Infrastructure Management manual” lays out an approach for conducting this type of an assessment.

This chapter of the Resource Guide compiles a list of references and other data sources as well as case examples related to operation and maintenance practices.

Resource List

1. Colbert, John; Fortin, John; Regan, Ted. “A New Maintenance Strategy for the Wastewater Industry” WEFTEC 2002.

2. Salo, John “Incorporating Asset Management Principals into Design” NEWEA Conference 2003

3. Smith, Ricky “Best Maintenance Practices” Maintenance Technology Magazine. http://www.mt-online.com/articles/1102_bestpractices.cfm

4. Wireman, Terry “Optimize Maintenance/Asset management Policies” Maintenance Technology Magazine. http://www.mt-online.com/articles/0604wireman.cfm