United States cities are suffering from aging infrastructure, from bridges to highways and sewers. Aging water and sewer systems are a major concern that’s been amplified by Hurricane Harvey and Irma.
Sewer systems were unable to properly manage the overflow of water, causing untreated sewage to pour into the streets and people’s homes.
Flash floods are causing similar issues in cities where the infrastructure might date back to the late 1800s or early 1900s. Cities are often underfunded, leaving the cities to repair sewer lines and “do their best” to correct systems that are past their useful lifespan.
1. Service Line Warranty Programs
Cities are teaming up with utility companies to offer residents service line warranty programs. Phoenix residents have saved over $1 million with similar programs. The warranty is voluntary, but it has reduced water line repair costs.
Taxpayers pay less in taxes, helping add to general fund programs and save the city money.
The programs also generate local revenue through the use of local contractors and companies that are dispatched to make repairs. It’s a mutually beneficial program that aims to help both Phoenix residents and the city itself.
2. Bidding Wars with Contractors
Cities have multi-million dollar projects that plumbers want to fulfill. There is a lot of money at stake, and it makes sense to use the potential to make millions as leverage for the city. Martinsville is a prime example of how a bidding war among contractors led to $3.8 million in savings.
Officials and consultants estimated the city to pay $11.4 million to repair a major sewer line.
Four contractors bid on the project, with the lowest bid being $7.97 million. The bidding process didn’t result in a local contractor getting the job, but city officials are happy that a local contractor is a subcontractor for one of the bidding companies.
Bids can be part of any business transaction or service, and they can be used to keep costs low.
3. Trenchless Pipe Repair
Digging up roadways, blocking streets and causing a city to lose revenue from closures. Cities are starting to use a new technology to repair sewers: trenchless pipe repair. This method is less invasive and effectively creates a new pipe inside of the existing, older pipe.
The process is being used often so that roadways don’t need to be disturbed.
And the good news is that the costs are kept slightly lower or on par with replacing an existing piping system.
4. Sewer Camera Inspections
Hundred-year-old infrastructure will have a lot of buildup, clogs and even tree roots growing in the system. The problem is that before camera inspections, cities spent a lot of money on the mere “guesses” of plumbers.
Camera inspections have changed everything.
Plumbers can now look deep into the sewer system and assess the situation. They can even determine if a pipe is so far past its lifespan that it needs to be replaced rather than repaired. It’s a cost-saving way to judge the potential of a repair over a replacement.