July 2016, Vol. 71 No. 7


Interceptor Condition Assessment Program Spurs Environmental, Economic Benefits

The Fort Worth (Texas) Water Department earned a 2016 Texas Environmental Excellence Award – the highest environmental honor in the state – in the category of Innovative Operations/Management for its Interceptor Condition Assessment Program (ICAP), This new technology allows for more effective inspections of the 262-mile matrix of large-diameter sanitary-sewer pipes which lie beneath the streets of Fort Worth along the Trinity River.

Catastrophic failures and collapses of large-diameter sewer pipes are a financial burden, as well as an environmental concern, and make keeping track of the integrity of the matrix beneath the city quite a daunting task. Over the course of the past 10 years, Fort Worth has relied on age, records of operations and other documented activities to assess the health of the interceptors, with inspections and improvements limited to costly bypasses and extensive cleaning in order to facilitate the inspections with the help of remote cameras. The most notable shortcoming of this expensive and laborious maintenance was its inability to accurately assess the severity of pipe degradation.

The solution was a promising new technology incorporating HDTV with both sonar and laser technology to develop a better picture of the health of each leg of the system, that allowed inspection of the interceptors in almost half the time of previous inspection protocols. The better lens allowed for a better assessment, and data was compiled to score the inspected pipe based on remaining useful life.

Since its inception, the city of Fort Worth’s ICAP has inspected 49 percent of interceptors with the new technology, allowing the city to prioritize replacement and repair more efficiently than ever before. The program’s primary goal is preventing the environmental threat of collapses. ICAP estimates this technology has resulted in 59 percent fewer sewage overflows, significantly reducing environmental impacts. In addition, the financial benefit has been overwhelming.
Historically, maintenance was scheduled from manhole to manhole. However, the specificity of information ICAP is able to provide to the city allows Fort Worth to concentrate only on segments in need of repair, saving millions of dollars in unnecessary replacement. The program also allows the city to strategically schedule pipe cleaning based on lines with demonstrated restricted flow. That alone is anticipated to save the city more than $15 million over the next decade.

Fort Worth’s implementation of ICAP is the largest-known implementation of the technology worldwide. The proactive approach to environmental protection will continue to serve as an innovative model system for cities across the globe. www.teea.org.

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