There are about 35 miles of storm sewer lines and 1,225 holding basins in the city of Bradford, and the Bradford Sanitary Authority has been constantly working to clean and assess everything.
“The stormwater fee is being used,” said Steve Disney, executive director of the Bradford Sanitary Authority. “It goes straight back into the system.”
This assessment work will show agency officials where to direct funds for repairs within the system.
“We want to be proactive and not wait for a hole or other obvious situation, we want to find the problem and address it before it becomes a bigger problem,” Disney said.
The evaluation of the rainwater and sanitary facilities began in early 2021. 20 years had passed since the last evaluation for the sanitary facilities. For the rainwater system, it has never been fully evaluated.
“These assessments consist of a thorough cleaning, rinsing, vacuuming, and dirt removal,” Disney explained. “Once the mains, sumps and manholes have been properly cleaned, the agency’s crew inserts an underground camera system into the main and records a video inspection of all underground facilities.”
He explained that the agency’s crew was certified through the Pipeline Assessment Certification Program using NASSCO standards – the National Association of Sewer Service Companies. This certification trains personnel in the proper methods and terminology needed to consistently and consistently assess the condition of buried assets, he said.
“Each asset — mains, tailings, manholes, etc. — will receive a rating and conditional rating ranging from excellent to very poor,” Disney continued. “Based on these assessments, the various assets are ranked and prioritized for future repairs or replacement if necessary. The assets that need urgent attention are immediately scheduled for repair/replacement.”
He also gave a bit of history about the rainwater system. Since Bradford’s incorporation in 1879, the city, along with various developers, industries, and landowners, have installed stormwater infrastructure to collect runoff stormwater and direct it to discharge points along Tunungwant Creek.
“It is estimated that the average age of Bradford’s current stormwater infrastructure is at least 80 years old,” Disney said. “The composition of the rainwater collection system is estimated to be 75% tile pipe, 20% concrete pipe and 5% plastic pipe.”
Nothing lasts forever and many of the pipes, inlets, shafts and culverts are reaching the end of their useful life.
“They are expected to need repairs and, in many cases, complete replacements over the next 25 years,” Disney said.
A rather daunting task. However, BSA staff have received training and equipment to create a full digital map of the system and detailed system features as part of their GIS asset management program, Disney said.
“Asset management is a systematic approach to minimizing the costs of owning, operating and maintaining infrastructure. It’s about optimizing the way the agency spends its budget funds to ensure they get the best possible return on investment,” he said.
“Asset management programs help to create an inventory of all stormwater systems and document their condition. In the past, crews had to rely on paper charts (often from the 1940s), and these charts sometimes lacked vital information. With the new digital maps, health authorities have a clear picture of where facilities are located and what condition they are in. That way, they can determine what repairs are needed, prioritize those repairs, direct resources where they’re needed most, track work as it’s completed, and measure the results, he added.
Disney stated, “Proper maintenance of an asset requires funding, without the funding we simply cannot adequately care for such a large, aging system. I want everyone to understand that we take this matter very seriously, our crews are doing an excellent job of conducting the assessments, evaluations and repairs. They are very proud of our community and want to do their best work every day.”