Utilities management - from a contractor's perspective
Jan 28, 2008
Even though local authorities are often blissfully unaware of it, their sewerage systems are often characterised by a collection of technical horrors such as:leaking sewerscollapsed sewersfatigued and rapidly deteriorating pipesinsufficient capacity of existing sewers.
- sewerage manholes will overflow into the streets, onto private properties and into the basements of buildings
- the reaction from ratepayers will be to condemn the town councillors for their neglect and to relegate South Africa to third-world status, now that the invisible underground infrastructure displays very visible effects
- sewage outcropping on the surface carries serious health risks: waterborne diseases such as hepatitis and HIV
- raw sewage pollutes watercourses and urban lakes, which soon turn green when algal growth erupts
- due to the infiltration of groundwater into leaking sewers, heavy rainfall can similarly lead to widespread flooding, also with the above health and environmental risks.
- just because there have not been any real disasters in recent times which might have highlighted an impending crisis, there is not enough emphasis on underground infrastructure and its importance – since it is out of sight and out of mind
- the local authority still does not have any long term planning initiatives, such as an integrated development plan incorporating a municipal spatial development framework
- the local authority does not have skilled technical personnel who could identify areas for rehabilitation and propose appropriate trenchless solutions
- even if the local authority has skilled staff, they often resist the introduction of new technologies.
- innovative technology is often imported and considered too expensive
- due to widespread unemployment, labour-intensive operations are often favoured.
- trenchless construction will be implemented en masse, resulting in the entry into the market of many unskilled contractors
- trenchless solutions will be perceived as the miracle cure for most municipal problems, resulting in incorrect diagnoses of defects and the implementation of wrong trenchless applications.
- develop a basic plan of action to assess the current state of affairs regarding the underground assets of the local authority
- allocate dedicated funds to the maintenance and repair of underground infrastructure, including funding for investigation and design by competent professionals
- be aware that in certain instances international expertise may be required in implementing the appropriate trenchless solutions.
- deliver excellent and efficient service wherever TT solutions are implemented · continuously educate municipal managers and decision makers with regard to the benefits of TT
- promote awareness of possible TT solutions and their implementation – let TT become a household term in the town council
- whenever the opportunity presents itself, highlight and document the current state of the underground infrastructure – this will ensure that the politicians and the decision makers accept accountability as these issues of impending failure of infrastructure become public knowledge
- subscribe to the publications of international trenchless societies and stay abreast of the latest TT developments
- actively support the development of standards and codes of practice for TT to ensure that no rogue operators discredit the TT industry.
- TT is less intrusive
- in view of the indirect costs of digging trenches, such as traffic delays due to obstructions, the use of scarce resources such as mined fill-material for backfill of trenches, the WHY DIG TRENCHES WHEN YOU CAN GO TRENCHLESS environmental impact caused by construction plant and the site footprint – TT actually costs less
- TT leads to short construction periods – it’s the efficient and effective solution
- TT avoids the health and safety risks associated with open trenches and heavy construction plant
- the widespread use of TT will promote further enhancements, innovation and invention in the construction industry.
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