Pierce County was a runner up for The Institute of Asset Management’s 2016 “Asset Management Team Achievement Award.” An organization from the United Kingdom ultimately won the award on Nov. 23.
The county was recognized by the international organization for its efforts to use asset management in its roadside drainage maintenance and mowing programs. Asset management programs optimize resources in a way that meets a community’s needs at the lowest long-term cost.
“This recognition is the culmination of more than 10 years of work by the Public Works Department to transform the way it manages and maintains roadside drainage systems and vegetation,” said Pierce County Executive Pat McCarthy. “As our infrastructure ages and budgets shrink, our employees are finding ways to be more cost effective and efficient in the way they take care of our roadway system. Pierce County is honored to receive international recognition for our efforts.”
The Public Works Department’s Road Operations Division uses spatial software called ARCGIS Online to maintain a database of drainage facilities such as pipes and storm drains, perform regular assessments and create work orders. This information helps the division prioritize the maintenance needs of these facilities. For example, employees were able to identify how storm drains connect to determine the lowest – and therefore dirtiest – points, and adjust drainage system cleaning and roadway sweeping plans accordingly.
The department also uses data, such as weather patterns and maintenance records from previous years, to determine how often roadsides around the county need to be mowed each spring and summer. This has allowed crews to target areas with the most overgrown vegetation. Additionally, road crews are able to use ARCGIS Online to track where vegetation was cut, identify and potentially remove obstacles that could damage equipment if blocked by vegetation, and identify which equipment should be used on different roadside segments.
By using asset management principles to improve its roadside drainage maintenance, the Road Operations Division met new stringent regulatory requirements under the National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System permit without requiring additional staff or equipment. The improved program also helped reduce roadway flooding around the county by focusing maintenance efforts on drainage facility that handle the highest volume of water and debris.
The Institute of Asset Management, which was established in 1994, “is the professional body for those involved in acquisition, operation and care of physical assets, especially critical infrastructure - and particularly for professionals worldwide dedicated to furthering our knowledge and understanding of Asset Management,” according to its website. It is “a not for profit membership organization that exists to advance for the public benefit the science and practice of asset management.”
Bruce Wagner, Public Works road operations manager
Anne Radford, Public Works public information specialist