Ten years ago the Sewerage and Water Board of New Orleans (S&WB) (www.gosserp.com/swb/htdocs/overview.asp) agreed to undergo $639.4 million in improvements in a multiyear program to identify and address structural and mechanical deficiencies in the city's wastewater collection system. The only problem was that it had no program in place to begin the massive job of collecting data from the 86-square-mile service area that includes 1,300 miles of gravity sewers, 83 pump stations, two treatment plants, and 100 miles of forced main-all up to a century old.

A four-phase project was created to evaluate each of the city's 10 basins by hiring Montgomery Watson Harza (MRH) engineering firm as the program manager for the Sewer System Evaluation and Rehabilitation Program (SSERP). MRH coordinates and oversees the consultants, contractors, and other agencies involved with the improvements.

Data collection from field investigations, including smoke and dyed water testing as well as closed-circuit television inspection, has been downloaded into an in-house software system developed by MWH programmers that is backed up offsite nightly to ensure that all data is saved. That program assists with quality control/quality assurance efforts during manhole inspections by integrating the field collection data with the city's own mapping system. The data then is transferred to Microsoft Access databases.

As a result, when engineers prioritize their rehabilitation efforts, they can more easily target deficiencies through both visual data and written data-in addition to identifying the location of those deficiencies.

So far, the program has assisted with more than 125 projects.

--Michael Fielding

Session: Tools to Assist in Sewer System Evaluation and Rehabilitation Programs
Rudolph L. August, Jr.
Chief of networks
New Orleans Sewerage-Water Board
Tej Kou and Kalonga Siamwiza
Engineers with MWH Americas, Inc.
Sun., Aug. 17, 2008
3-3:50 p.m.