Introduction: Operation & Maintenance Program

Operators operate (and maintain)!

Water systems operators must also function as maintenance technicians. Maintenance, like operation, is an ongoing daily concern. We've learned the necessity for a systematic approach to operation, and the same holds true for maintenance. It is essential that you establish an Operation and Maintenance program. Unless your Operation and Maintenance is performed on a systematic and timely basis, problems in your system will develop, leading to water quality degradation.

More information related to Introduction: Operation & Maintenance Program:

Additional Management Activities: Maintenance Management

The objectives of a maintenance program should be to eliminate the interruption of service caused by equipment failure, and to extend the service life of all equipment for as long as practically possible and economically feasible. A good maintenance program will consist of a preventative maintenance plan, a general maintenance plan, an emergency maintenance plan, and a program evaluation. The effectiveness of the overall maintenance program will be determined by how closely each plan fits together.

Preventative Maintenance

Adhering to a preventative maintenance plan will allow you to provide better service to customers, increased equipment service life, and efficient use of resources. Planned work orders should be completed for all preventative maintenance procedures including total man-power and required materials. Scheduled preventative maintenance can lower total maintenance costs by allowing the system to purchase quality materials when time is available to obtain the best price.

General Maintenance

General maintenance, usually the largest component of any maintenance program, includes developing a material purchasing system, planned work orders, and recording all corrective work. An evaluation process should be developed to determine the overall performance of all maintenance work along with its effectivemess over the service life of the equipment.

Emergency Maintenance

A comprehensive emergency maintenance plan is an invaluable component of your maintenance program, and identifies as many emergencies as could foreseeably occur. You should maintain a list with contact information for consulting engineers, contractors, technical sales representatives, and material supply companies. If emergency maintenance is needed, an evaluation of actions taken as a part of the emergency plan should occur in a timely manner.

Program Evaluation

Periodically, all maintenance management activities should be evaluated to ensure the main objectives of each maintenance plan are being met. As more evaluations are conducted, the water system will find itself gaining more experience, performing improved maintenance work, increasing the service life of all equipment, benefitting from more productive work, saving more money, and providing the best possible water service to the customers. Now, doesn't that sound good?

Creating a Maintenance Program

The maintenance program is the section of the site sampling plan that communicates the minimum number of routine samples required for each monitoring period. The maintenance program will also describe the location of all routine samples needed to cover all areas in the distribution system, including areas of concern.The address of each site should be listed here, and the sites will be indicated on the distribution map.

The program will also give the sample collection schedule for systems that collect more than one sample per month, if your water system is required to collect more than one sample per month. Remember, samples should be collected at regular intervals, and not on the same day. The program should explain the monthly rotation cycle (if applicable). It is recommended to rotate through each sample site at least three or four times each year and designate five routine sampling sites that will be used for routine sampling the following month after the presence of coliforms has been confirmed.

The program should provide a description of the collection techniques used. This is to avoid false positives from improper collection. In the program, you will also find the schedule for flushing the lines in the distribution system. This is vital to reduce coliform and biofilm buildup. Systems with dead end lines should flush regularly.

In addition to all of this information, the maintenance program will include the name and telephone number of the person who prepared the sample site plan, as well as the date the plan was prepared, and any revision dates, if applicable.

Introduction: Distribution System Maintenance

As you’re aware, a water distribution system is a network of storage tanks, valves, pumps, and pipes that carry finished water to consumers. It must be operated properly in order to safeguard the public health, public safety, and provide safe and clean water to customers’ taps. Once water is pumped from a well, or leaves the treatment plant, its quality must be maintained throughout the distribution system.

As the water system operator, it is your responsibility to ensure sufficient disinfectant residuals are present at all points throughout the distribution system. You must be disciplined when taking bacteriological (BacT) samples to ensure they are representative of the water customers consume. Twice a year, you will need to flush the mains. Once a year, you will need to conduct a pressure test, a valve exercise, a fire hydrant inspection, and a storage tank inspection. These should all be scheduled into your maintenance calendar. 


The Introduction: Operation & Maintenance Program slide is featured in the following lessons:

Operation & Maintenance

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