The Importance of Asset Integrity and the Quality of Our Water

Asset integrity

Water is an essential part of our everyday lives. We use water for so many things that, without it, we would suffer. Water is needed even for survival. Our bodies must function off of water intake. Additionally, water is used for cleaning, cooking and for growing food items. Because of the importance of water to our everyday lives, the water must be of high quality. Many city and states have minimum regulations set for quality of water. Water is consumed on a daily basis and it is necessary to our survival, so it needs to be free of harmful contaminants and emissions.

Although water and asset integrity is so important, there are many things that can harm our water sources. Most of these causes should be prevented and should not occur easily, but they can happen. Corrosion is one of the types of water contaminants. Rather than corroding the water, it is generally caused from corrosion of the plumbing pipes. Many water sources come from piping that is now outdated and harmful. After so long, it is required that these pipes be replaced, but corrosion can still occur prior to the replacement of the plumbing pipes.

There are 10 primary forms of corrosion, but it is rare that a corroding structure or component will suffer from only one. The combination of metals used in a system and the wide range of environments encountered often cause more than one type of attack. Generally, once the water source is corroded with multiple corroding types, the entire system needs to be replaced. The asset integrity of the water system is diminished, and will need to be replaced, regardless of the timeline that it was installed.

Sometimes risk based inspection can occur to measure the likeliness of corrosion or other water contaminants. This requires the replacement of the water source as well, but it reduces the chances of the water harming any person or thing. An important part of asset management and asset integrity support is the regular preventative maintenance and testing of these water sources. However, they are not tested as frequently as they should be to ensure safe and clean water.

The most recent EPA assessment was conducted in 2009. Based on an extensive survey or water utilities, EPA found that 60% of utilities require replacements in the water transmission and distribution area, with many of those needs associated with pipeline replacement. Many water sources that need to be replaced are generally a cause of old or corroded water pipes. The same piping that was once thought safe many years ago is seen as harmful today. Most of these plumbing pipes have not been replaced in many years.

The process of replacing plumbing pipes is very extensive, meaning that many people and many counties put it off for a long time. Asset reliability studies may show that they need replacement, but counties who are lacking in the necessary funds may not have the ability to do so. However, new federal laws may require that counties replace these water sources regardless of available funds. The asset integrity is just too important. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) estimates that drinking water utilities will have to invest $334.8 billion over the next 20 years to address their deteriorating infrastructure needs. This project will drastically increase the quality of the country?s drinking water sources.

Water is a necessity to our everyday lives. It is even necessary for survival. However, too many people do not have access to quality water sources. The plumbing piping is old in many cities and can cause corrosion and then lead to contaminants in the water sources. It is likely that over the next few years, the federal government will require the replacement of these sources, leading to better quality water all over the country.

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