4 Keys to Maintaining Stormwater Infrastructure

Posted on Wednesday, September 14th, 2016 by
In Stormwater, tagged in

The state of public infrastructure is an area of concern for many citizens, and while it is hard to say whether infrastructure failures are rising in frequency, it is clear these cases are drawing greater attention. Although the public call for an increased focus on infrastructure is growing, funding and implementing infrastructure improvements is an ongoing challenge at local, state, and federal levels. In fact, funding for infrastructure management has failed to keep pace with the need, leaving many government agencies in a precarious spot as infrastructure systems continue to age.

At the local level, there are many examples of infrastructure management challenges. Of particular concern, because it is typically buried underground, is stormwater infrastructure. We have seen the challenges that arise when stormwater infrastructure approaches the end of its service life. For example, many local communities are seeing corrugated metal pipe (CMP) installed 40-50 years ago starting to fail, causing collapsed pipes and sinkholes, which lead to costly emergency repairs. In addition to the expense, these failures can also result in traffic closures and upstream flooding. When this happens, communities must face the reality their stormwater systems need greater attention than they have been given.

We’ve identified four key components to address the challenges of stormwater infrastructure management.

  • Develop dedicated funding sources for inspecting, maintaining, and repairing or replacing existing systems.
  • Use tools to map the existing stormwater system, document maintenance, and schedule repairs.
  • Dedicate resources for regular inspection and maintenance of your stormwater system.
  • Be strategic by combining stormwater maintenance or repair with other infrastructure improvement projects. This may require coordination between multiple departments or jurisdictions.

Implementing these four components will help communities maximize the service life of a stormwater system and identify potential problems before they become major issues. But, putting these components into practice can require a change in mindset to acknowledge the need for change and build a consensus committed to a robust stormwater infrastructure management approach. With our years of experience assessing, repairing, and constructing stormwater infrastructure systems, Affinis can help communities implement these four key components to address the challenges faced in managing a stormwater infrastructure system.

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