Every year significant funding passes through State agencies such as the SRF (State Revolving Funds) for water (wastewater, drinking water and storm water) projects. A comprehensive risk-based asset management plan (AMP) provides the guidance to ensure that this money will be invested on the right projects, doing the right things, at the right location and at the right time. EPA has provided resources for developing AMPs since the late 1990’s including funding the grant to BAMI-I in 2006-2008 which led to the development of the CTAM Certification program, initially launched in 2010 and now has enrolled professionals from 16 countries. Nevertheless, there is still a reluctance for water utilities to undertake this endeavor. There are numerous reasons provided for this reluctance such as no money, no time, lack of resources, lack of awareness, lack of knowledge, etc.
Several States such as Indiana have passed legislation (SEA 272) requiring water utilities to develop AMPs to qualify for funding. From 2015 to 2019, Indiana conducted several studies through the Indiana Finance Authority (IFA) to better understand the needs of the water utilities in the State. These studies resulted in Guidelines being published in 2019. These IFA AMP Guidelines explain how the plans need to address the technical, managerial and financial issues related to developing and applying best business practices. These guidelines provide tools and templates to be utilized in developing the AMP. Even with these guidelines, water utilities have been slow to develop AMPs; so, the Governor signed Senate Bill in March 2022 which requires utilities to develop an AMP to qualify for funding.
As mentioned in Ms. Wei Liao’s editorial, BAMI-I had the opportunity to work with a couple of organizations to develop an AMP for Switz City, IN. This was done on a volunteer basis for the purpose of being able to learn how to apply the IFA AMP Guidelines with the objective of developing a model, aids and tools which can be utilities by other utilities especially small water utilities. In the article on this project provided in this Journal, you will learn how the BAMI-I team working with the Purdue CEM UIT was able to utilize the CTAM educational materials and the IFA Guidelines to accomplish developing this AMP which address the 5 core components of AMP established by EPA over 20 years ago. These fundamental core components are: know the current state of the assets; levels of service; criticality; minimum life cycle costing; and financial management.