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Reliability Centered Operations: Lessons Learned from In-House Implementation

TRC-2018 Learning Zone 31:18
by Paul Hughes and Walter Sanford, PinnacleART

Facilities that are not prepared to perform full Reliability Centered Maintenance (RCM) analysis can still benefit by employing reliability methodologies to Operations and Maintenance (O&M) tasks. Operating costs for water and wastewater treatment plants can run between 50 and 75 percent of the total lifecycle cost of the facility. When operating costs, maintenance supplies, labor, energy, and downtime are included, O&M costs over the lifetime of a facility can reach up to 85 percent of total lifecycle costs. Optimizing O&M practices can dramatically impact the lifecycle costs associated with a facility. Apparently minor increases in efficiency will aggregate over time to make a significant difference in lifecycle costs. This presentation describes a two-stage O&M improvement initiative at two wastewater facilities experiencing significant operational problems and early asset failures. These facilities were heavily staffed to be able to manage issues, yet staff were underutilized for much of the time. These issues resulted in continually increasing costs for owners, and increasing challenges to meeting facility requirements. In the first stage of improvement, using the principles of RCM, O&M management was focused more on reliability-based and proactive tasks rather than reactive maintenance and “firefighting” failures and other issues. In the second stage, a full, risk-based RCM analysis was performed and implemented, along with further improvements in O&M management. By focusing on reliability, and risk-based Asset Management, these facilities experienced rapid, significant, and sustained improvement in availability, regulatory compliance, and cost performance.

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