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Incorporating the Fracta AI digital condition assessment solution into a proper infrastructure asset management program will lower assessment costs while helping reduce water main breaks and more efficiently allocate pipe replacement capital investment.

1. Cost effective, full scale condition assessments

As part of their infrastructure asset management program, utilities and their consulting engineers perform desktop and physical condition assessments of buried water mains. Physical condition assessments tend to be slow, expensive and labor intensive. Multiple physical measurements are required for correlation and confirmation. The results are very accurate for the pipe tested but it is difficult to extrapolate the data for system-wide recommendations. Desktop condition assessments primarily rely on age, break history and the experience of the engineer evaluating the data. The results are often based on “best professional judgment,” which is a generally accepted engineering practice, but can be subjective. Both methods are temporally static with results produced in voluminous reports.

Utilities need a faster, more accurate and affordable condition assessment method that objectively analyzes large amounts of current and historical data across the entire water main distribution system. This is where the Fracta AI digital condition assessment method steps in to help.

2. Reduce Break Rates

AI, especially machine learning, benefits from large amounts of data. The more data the processed, the better the model gets. Fracta uses nation-wide geospatial information as well as tens of thousands of miles of water mains and historical break events to calculate LOF.

As time goes by, more data are collected and the accuracy of LOF improves. By rehabilitating or replacing the worst pipe, utilities should see their break rates decrease over time.

3. Optimize capital investment

The long view has you focused on capital rehabilitation and replacement improvement strategies and planning. Risk-based asset management strategies rely on accurate predictions of the most vulnerable water mains. An inflated or deflated LOF score could dramatically over or under estimate risk and lead to replacing low risk pipe or ignoring high risk pipe. Either way, your capital spend becomes inefficient.

Industry data says that as much as 30-40% of replaced pipe has useful remaining life. If CapEx spending on pipe replacement is $10 million per year, you could be wasting $3-4 million per year replacing the wrong pipe. Fracta helps you make sure that does not happen. Spend your capital once and spend it right.

“To leave good pipe in the ground as long as possible is economically important.”

– Katie Miller, Manager of the water distribution division at San Francisco Public Utilities Commission