Dallas Wastewater Plan Delivers Dynamic Decision-Making Tool
The City of Dallas Comprehensive Wastewater Collection System Assessment Update was recognized with an Engineering Excellence Gold Medal from ACEC Texas and advanced to the American Council of Engineering Companies’ national competition.
Municipalities and water planning organizations are not strangers to master planning – the concept of evaluating and assessing water or wastewater infrastructure and determining future needs for updates and expansion to meet customer needs and operational demands. Most entities have separate models – hydraulic or risk, for example – but they are rarely merged into one tool, and many are compiled using proprietary software that is difficult to maintain.
Water/Wastewater master planning has served Dallas Water Utilities (DWU) well in some respects – an ordered list of projects to continually improve infrastructure. However, past plans were lacking in cohesiveness from other City departments, real-time data related to flow projections and rainfall, and new project developments that would ultimately impact the City’s infrastructure improvements. In addition, Dallas serves nearby customer cities with infrastructure needs that further impacted the system and called for a comprehensive tool to encompass a larger set of priorities and concerns.
Freese and Nichols created a hydraulic modeling and planning team that developed a solution for DWU – a CIP Prioritization Tool with capabilities for future updates, all while using off-the-shelf software. Overall, the project addressed population growth, regulatory compliance, aging infrastructure and organizational challenges plus new development and redevelopment areas within the City of Dallas and 11 wholesale wastewater customers.
DWU now has a dynamic resource for wastewater collection system planning and improvements, plus the ability to update it over time. This allows the City to evaluate, respond and budget for the most critical wastewater system needs based on current data and changing conditions over the next 25 years and beyond.
Innovative Application in Wastewater Collection System Planning
This project goes beyond traditional master planning and combines hydraulics and condition assessment into an off-the-shelf, usable software tool with the ability for updates. This shift in modeling is the future of master planning and a game-changer for DWU – no longer are they referencing a static list of projects to guide their infrastructure improvements. Instead, DWU now has a 25-year master plan based on extensive data and the ability to update priorities as conditions change.
The project’s dynamic CIP Prioritization Tool is innovative and unique. The Freese and Nichols team completed hydraulic water modeling in InfoWorks ICM and identified areas of growth based on population and predications from Dallas’ Planning and Urban Development Group. The process also encompassed aspects of Risk-Based Assessment (condition and criticality) combined with a number of other criteria, such as pipe age, material, inspection results and work order history.
Next, the team merged model data to create a CIP Prioritization Tool using InfoAsset Planner, which incorporated hydraulic components and facilitated decision making through a decision tree-based system to determine how projects should be selected and ordered.
This innovative integration of condition risk assessment and capacity analysis into a resulting dynamic CIP Prioritization Tool serves Dallas and its large customer base well through educated decision making for infrastructure improvements and budgetary considerations across many departments.