Infrastructure Assessments for Sanitary Sewer Utilities

Walden Helps County Officials to Better Plan for Future Expansion and Cost Savings

Utility Infrastructure Assessments are a part of Walden’s Business and Transaction Advisory Services.  These studies are comprehensive and help identify the ability of utility systems to remain operational, successful and grow.   

Although the requirements and circumstances will vary, Walden Environmental Engineering is capable of performing a comprehensive assessment of infrastructure capacity, performance levels and regulatory standing, issues and potential future liabilities of water and wastewater systems in areas that are targeted for sale, acquisition, merger, consolidation or regionalization for better profitability and service levels for customers. 

Infrastructure Assessments can be the most comprehensive method of determining the capacity or concerns of utility systems. This information is crucial for considerations of growth and economic development. From a residential development perspective, it allows planning agencies to get a clear picture of how many homes can be added to a neighborhood and still be within capacity. From a broader, commercial perspective these assessments can be valuable in showcasing site readiness to site selectors.

Huntington County, Indiana, Regional Sewer Districts Study

The Walden office in Fort Wayne, Indiana was retained by BCS Management, Inc. to assist with the review and assessment of several water and wastewater facilities serving four regional districts and the community of Mount Etna located in Huntington County, IN.  The project required a comprehensive assessment of the infrastructure capacity, performance levels and regulatory standing, issues and potential future liabilities of the selected water and wastewater systems in those far reaching communities.  County executives, economic development agencies and planning professionals sought this information to better determine the opportunities for growth and cost savings.  

The review and assessment helped to confirm the ability of each of the systems to grow and expand, consider cooperative consolidations or other efficiencies and service offerings.

The Process

Information Review

Walden reviewed the available information already collected regarding each area facility, its performance and regulatory standing with local, state and federal agencies.  Walden also discussed each area with the client regarding existing conditions, concerns and goals for each area. 

Site Visits

After the initial review, Walden performed site visits of each of the Districts and Mount Etna to review each of the wastewater and water systems and available regulatory records, reports, agreements, previous studies and to interview knowledgeable staff or other resources.

Database Review

The next step was to review utility and regulatory databases, regulatory files and other state and federal resources and contact regulatory staff and agency inspectors to acquire necessary information to complete the assessments of each of the Districts and Mount Etna.

Analysis of Information; Compile Results

Walden prepared tables, asset listing and descriptions, photograph logs, assessments and current performance levels of facilities at each of the Districts and Mount Etna regarding hydraulic capacity, treatment efficiencies, pollutant removal success and promulgating regulatory programs that may require upgrades to existing facilities.

Reporting

Walden completed the study by preparing a report of our findings and results describing the existing facilities and capacities of the Districts and Mount Etna.  Walden assisted with a technical presentation to County officials as well as each of the represented communities and districts.  This presentation included questions and answer discussions of the results and contemplation of future steps and impacts. 

The Results

After a comprehensive assessment, Walden did not find any significant failures or indications of environmental or regulatory liabilities in each of the reviewed systems. Each of the systems were facing certain specific challenges, but they were not uncommon for the utility industry. Walden determined that each system has capacity for the consideration of growth, environmental stewardship or public health improvements.

Because of this study, Walden was able to confirm that there are no apparent reasons to discontinue the consideration of consolidations, regionalizations, shared services and/or asset agreements or other cooperative ventures in the best interest of the customers in the community. 

Elected officials, utility leaders, economic development agencies are using this report to better plan for their communities’ future. 

Need a better grasp of the issues and opportunities within your own utility infrastructure and systems?  Reach out today to our water and wastewater utility experts and let Walden help you improve your community. 

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