Lehigh County Authority Water Main Replacement

Lehigh County Authority (LCA) is taking a proactive approach to its water main replacement strategy in its Allentown Division System. LCA serves more than 55,000 customers in Northampton and Lehigh counties, Pennsylvania. The Allentown Division system includes more than 300 miles of main, of which more than a third is older unlined cast iron pipe. Instead of waiting until age or deterioration caused failure of these mains, LCA engaged Gannett Fleming to manage a pipeline replacement program. Using existing geographic information system (GIS) data, Gannett Fleming established a practical and effective pipeline asset management program. The program uses data such as main break history, age, material type, and the impact of failure on critical customers such as hospitals, to prioritize the main replacements.

What We Did

Throughout a three-year contract, Gannett Fleming is analyzing the water system and identifying an order of replacements. The firm fully designs the water main replacements, acquires permits, and advertises the project for bidding for a select number of projects each year. Leasing agreements place rigid time constraints on each water main replacement project timeline. Gannett Fleming acts as program manager to ensure the pipes are in the ground within the given timeframe. Throughout construction, an inspector is in the field to review contractor submittals and oversee construction.

Key Features

  • GIS-based asset management provides a practical and effective approach to pipeline prioritization and is easy to maintain and update.

OUTCOMES

Water main replacement maintains service and decreases life cycle cost.

GIS-based asset management provides practical and efficient prioritization.

Management of program meets lease agreement requirements.