CATT Continues Buried Infrastructure Analysis
July 1, 2015In 2014, the second Annual Canadian Municipal Buried Infrastructure Survey was conducted by the Centre for Advancement of Trenchless Technologies (CATT). The purpose of annual survey is to obtain information on the Canadian trenchless industry as well as municipal water, wastewater and storm water distribution networks.
Survey participants included 125 municipalities from across Canada, which is up from the participants in 2013.
Figure 1 shows that the 2014 survey has participation from across Canada. Although the majority of the survey participants, 71 percent, are from Ontario, Alberta, Quebec, British Columbia, New Brunswick and Nova Scotia showed increased participation in this survey. The respondents include large municipalities (population size more than 300,000) 52 percent, medium municipalities (population between 50,000 to 300,000) 30 percent and small municipalities (population less than 50,000) 18 percent.
Key findings from the 2014 survey are listed in this story, and a detailed 2014 survey report is in production and will be made available on CATT’s website catt.ca, in the fall of 2015.
The percentage of watermains and wastewater in age is shown in Figure 2.
For small and large municipalities about 60 percent of watermains are between 30 to 50 years old whereas about 70 percent of watermains are in this age category for medium size municipalities. Small municipalities show the highest percentage (22 percent) of watermains in the 50- to 70-year age group while medium and large municipalities have approximately 11 percent of watermains in this category.
For small and large municipalities, the percentage of watermains older than 70 years are 11 percent and 15 percent, respectively. The survey shows that generally wastewater pipelines are older than watermains.
According to the survey, 46 percent of the large municipalities have budgeted more than $6 million in 2014/15 fiscal year for rehabilitation and/or replacement of their water distribution networks.
The survey asked the respondents specifically about the critical issues related to their buried pipelines infrastructure. The key comments are provided below.
• Watermains: Close to 67 percent of the respondents from small municipalities reported improving water quality as critical or very critical issue whereas about 70 percent of the respondents from medium and large municipalities indicated reducing the number of annual watermain breaks as critical or very critical.
• Wastewater Pipelines: 100 percent of the respondents from small municipalities categorized inflow and infiltration (I/I) as critical or very critical. About 70 percent of the respondents from medium municipalities reported infiltration and pipe collapse as critical or very critical issues. Close to 67 percent of the respondents from large municipalities indicated I/I and flow capacity as critical or very critical.
• Storm Water Pipelines: About 63 percent of the respondents from small municipalities reported I/I as critical or very critical while more than 55 percent of the respondents from medium municipalities indicated flow capacity and pipe collapse as critical or very critical. Large municipalities reported flow capacity and surcharging issues as critical or very critical.
When it comes to asset management, 62 percent of medium municipalities and 55 percent of the large municipalities have separate asset management group in their organization. For 69 percent of the responding small municipalities, water/wastewater operations groups are responsible for asset management.
Usefulness of Trenchless Technologies
Survey respondents were also asked to rate the usefulness of trenchless construction methods.
• Cost-effectiveness: About 66 percent of the respondents from the large municipalities reported trenchless construction to be cost-effective or very cost effective while 30 percent of the respondents from the small and medium municipalities indicated it to be cost-effective or very cost-effective.
• Depth of Pipeline: 69 percent of the respondents from the large municipalities found trenchless construction to be effective or very effective for deep pipelines whereas 55 percent of the respondents from the small and medium municipalities reported it to be effective or very effective.
• Reducing Urban Congestion: About 69 percent of the respondents from the large municipalities categorized trenchless methods to be effective or very effective in reducing urban congestion while only 40 percent of the respondents from the small and medium municipalities indicated it to be effective or very effective for reducing urban congestion.
• Environmental Impact: 75 percent of the respondents from the large municipalities consider trenchless construction to be effective or very effective in regards to environmental impact whereas 55 percent of the small and medium municipalities reported it to be effective or very effective.
Cost and lack of sufficient knowledge/training are the major barriers for trenchless construction. Additionally, consultants’ lack of knowledge and contractors’ availability are noted as significant barriers.
The importance of education and training is highlighted by 61 percent of the respondents rating it as very important.
Survey response with respect to satisfaction with consultants and contractors is rated on a scale of 1 to 5 with 1 = poor and 5 being very satisfied. Results show that consultants have the highest rating for open cut projects (3.12/5) and lowest for innovative design (2.5/5). Contractors rated higher performance than consultants (3/5 or greater for all categories) and had the highest rating for trenchless projects (3.88/5). It should be noted that contractors were rated 3.13/5 for innovative design which is greater than the consultants.
The Third Canadian Municipal Buried Infrastructure Survey will be available this fall and will take about 15 minutes to complete. For 2015, CATT hopes to continue the increase in participation in the Annual Canadian Municipal Buried Infrastructure Survey across Canada.
A detailed report that compares 2013 with 2014 survey results will be available prior to the release of the 2015 survey. Visit catt.ca for survey updates and further information.
More graphs outlining the survey results are featured online, at trenchlesstechnology.com/canada and in the Trenchless Technology Canada iPad app.
Dr. Jai Jung is a research associate at the Centre for Advancement of Trenchless Technologies (CATT), University of Waterloo.