Operation and Maintenance Plans
The Operation and Maintenance (O&M) Plan is typically a formal document that describes how the system is to be safely operated on a daily basis. It outlines how the system will provide service while adhering to permit requirements and safeguarding public health. The plan should contain a comprehensive description of the system’s resources and treatment processes. The O&MOperations and Maintenance plan provides details of daily routine operational and maintenance procedures. It should include examples of record-keeping and emergency response procedures.
The O&MOperations and Maintenance Plan should be clearly written such that a person knowledgeable in the operation of water assets would understand how to operate and maintain the system to meet the desired level of service (including staying in compliance with all regulations). The plan should outline the operational and maintenance roles and responsibilities of the staff.
Update the O&MOperations and Maintenance Manual at least annually, and any time new assets are added. The plan should be provided to operations staff, management, and decision makers. Store physical copies of the document at each staffed facility and electronically to ensure the plan is available during standard and emergency operations. Electronic copies of the O&MOperations and Maintenance Manual should be stored in a shared system, such as a network accessible off-site or in the cloud with a back-up off-site.
The format of the manual might be set by state regulations. There is a wide variance in plan requirements and complexity, so be sure to check the specific rules. Typically, the plan includes an introduction with general information about the system such as the system name, system identification number, address, contact information, system type, the person preparing the plan, the date of completion, and any subsequent revision or updates. Additional information can include system ownership, responsible officials, service area, population served, permit numbers, and operator certifications. The plan should then define system operations and maintenance requirements for each part of the system. Each portion of the system should have a section in the manual that includes operation and maintenance activities and asset-specific information such as records for asset categories, asset size and material, location information, manufacturer information, energy use information, operations procedures, preventive maintenance schedules, chemical names and suppliers, and storage capacities. Any type of written or electronic maintenance program needs to include a mechanism to document that the work has been completed, so a manager can track maintenance activities and costs on an individual asset basis.
An O&MOperations and Maintenance Plan is a tool to:
- improve reliability,
- reduce costs and plan for the future,
- meet current and future regulatory requirements,
- train current and future staff,
- facilitate emergency response,
- facilitate state sanitary surveys and
- guide communications with stakeholders.
The O&MOperations and Maintenance Plan should help determine the needed activities, the required schedule, how to perform the activities, the necessary equipment, and the associated costs. An outline is shown below.
- What Maintenance Activities Do You Need to Do?
- Document what maintenance activities you do for each asset.
- Evaluate if the maintenance activities you do are appropriate for each asset:
- What maintenance am I currently doing that I need to continue?
- What maintenance am I currently doing that I need to discontinue?
- What maintenance am I not doing that I need to start doing?
- What maintenance am I not doing that should stay that way?
- When Should You Do Them?
- Look at the schedules by which you perform those activities.
- Evaluate if the schedules are appropriate:
- Do you need to increase the frequency?
- Do you need to decrease the frequency?
- How Do You Do Them?
- Examine how the maintenance activities are performed.
- What Equipment Do You Need?
- What Do They Cost?
- Attach costs to your activities – labor, parts, equipment rental, other.
- Evaluate if the costs are appropriate. Is the maintenance worth the cost?
A system with very large pumps was performing a lubrication replacement on an annual cycle at cost of about $25,000 per year in labor, parts, and lubrication. This maintenance activity had a significant impact on operations because pumps had to be taken offline to perform the maintenance.
As the staff were implementing Asset Management principles, one of the things they did was to evaluate this particularly expensive procedure to determine whether there was a better approach.
Researching lubricants determined that there was a different, food grade lubricant that was a bit more expensive but had a 4-year life span. Using this lubricant could eliminate three lubricant changes. So they switched lubricants and maintenance schedules.
They do annual lubricant testing to verify the performance, but they don’t have to replace the lubricant nearly as often.
Savings were over $75K over the 4-year period.
And there were additional side benefits:
- Improved wear on the pump
- Energy efficiency went up
- Pumps now last longer
- There was less down time for customers
The WRFThe Water Research Foundation Framework for Forested and Natural Assets provides an example of what should be included in a maintenance plan for natural assets in the table shown below.
WRFThe Water Research Foundation Framework for Forested and Natural Assets Table 9-2 Examples of Key Elements in a Maintenance Plan for a Natural Asset
Thinning forest fuels on annual basis
Inspect streams for erosions hotspots
Restore eroding stream channels
The City of Portland uses the framework shown below for maintenance planning:
Q1 Q2 Q3 Q4
X = Quarterly visual inspection, typically; replant or repair as needed
X = Monthly visual inspection & maintenance as needed
X = Quarterly visual inspection & maintenance as needed
The O&MOperations and Maintenance plan should guide the development of the annual operation and maintenance budget. That budget should include all the money needed for operating and maintaining all the assets in the system. It is important to convey the full cost of operations to the financial managers, so they understand that providing any less money means some tasks are not going to be completed. Any tasks which do not get done will increase the risk to the organization. The more money that is cut from the budget, the greater the increase in risk to the facility. It is important to convey these risks and benefits of providing the full budget.
Integrating operations and maintenance plans into work order systems is an important step. Thinking ahead about the work order system, what it is capable of, and any limitations it has will be important when incorporating the operations and maintenance plans and will save the system time overall.