Wachs Water Services Receives Contract to Help Renew Aging Water Distribution System

Jun 14, 2011

Wachs Water Services, a leading provider of solutions for the management of aging water infrastructure in North America, announced a service contract worth up to $6 million over a renewable multi-year period awarded by the Water Services Department of Kansas City, Missouri (KCMO) to perform asset location, operational condition assessment, and GPS location mapping services of more than 35,000 water main valves in the Kansas City water distribution system.

Valves are installed in water mains to control the flow of water. However with a high percentage of water mains reaching the end of their useful life in many urban areas, the operability of valves has become one of the most critical concerns for utilities dealing with sustainability, main breaks, repair and replacement activities.
Working closely with the Kansas City Water Department (KCMO), Wachs Water Services will be primarily focused on improving the reliability of the small and large valves in the water network and creating an accurate information knowledge base for each asset that is accessible to all water utility stakeholders, including engineering, operations and field personnel.
"The Kansas City Water Department (KCMO) has taken another big step toward ensuring water distribution sustainability and we are proud to be supporting the utility in their efforts," said Cliff Wilson, President, Wachs Water Services. "More and more utilities are discovering that gaining control of their water network and obtaining accurate system information is the critical first step in results-oriented asset management. Wachs Water Services has a proven track record, with successful programs in over 200 utilities, including Baltimore, Washington D.C., Atlanta and Houston."
According to the Environmental Protection Agency, there are about 240,000 water main breaks in the United States each year. The U.S. Geological Survey estimates that these water main breaks waste more than 1.7 trillion gallons of water at a cost of about $2.6 billion annually. An additional challenge facing utilities today is the operability of aging water main valves to help control and minimize the consequences of these main breaks. Wachs Water Services has seen an average initial water main valve operability of only 60% in more than 500,000 inspections nationwide. This means that up to 40% of a utility's water main valves are likely to be inoperable and either cannot be located, accessed or opened/closed.
"Aging water networks are becoming more challenging to manage with each passing year," added Wilson. "The good news is that with the support of Wachs Water Services, utilities are boosting their water main valve operability as high as 97% and achieving significant and measurable efficiency gains as well."
As water distribution infrastructure continues to age, the fastest route to sustainability is accomplished through addressing the operability of valve control points and renewing information assets. With this restored level of control, utilities can prioritize and address the remainder of the system such as water mains. Pipeline valves and information assets can be improved in the short-term and renewed at a fraction of the cost of long-term water main replacement projects.

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