A recent webinar, held by CDM Smith with Trinnex, covered how utilities can approach achieving Lead & Copper Rule Revisions (LCRR) compliance by October 2024.
The hour-long webinar covered several topics including:
- Reviewing the LCRR timeline
- Building a materials inventory
- Conducting baseline corrosion control evaluation
While the webinar provides a deep dive on how utilities can prepare, we’re focusing on the main points when building a living materials inventory, which was led by Mark Zito, Trinnex’s product leader and senior solutions consultant.
What's required for service line inventory
Mark starts by explaining what’s involved in conducting a service line inventory as it relates to LCRR 2024 compliance:
- By October 2024, inventory materials on both sides of the line (utility and privately-owned) must be submitted, including residential and commercial lines
- Inventory should be updated annually unless you have proven lead service lines no longer exist either by verifying service line material or completing replacement programs
- Inventory must be made available to the public on request but published online for larger systems serving over 50,000
- Homes with lead service lines (LSLs) or unknown service lines must be notified annually of their current status
While the end goal is removing LSLs altogether, utilities should also work in the short term towards reducing the number of unknowns, as in the number of service lines for which the material type is unknown.
In this clip, Mark explains what counts as an LSL based on the federal rule. He also advises utilities to follow up on their state regulations as they might have different criteria to characterize LSLs.
Breaking down the service line inventory development process
Mark then jumps into a four-step process for developing a service line inventory, including:
- Desktop study: starts with data from GIS, property information, workorders, and meters
- Expanded desktop study: involves scanning service cards and digitizing records
- Field study: includes inspecting basements, asking for customer photos, and deploying machine learning
- Field investigation: conducting a more invasive investigation including digging test pits
Utilities have a few ways of obtaining data through information sources to develop a service line inventory before jumping into the more invasive field investigation. The top information sources are displayed in the graphic below.
Best practices for verifying service line materials
Utilities should have at least two points of verification to avoid wrongly categorizing material as lead and of course, any associated replacement costs. Some verification best practices include:
- Door-to-door inspections by field staff or contractors
- Homeowner surveys and photos
- Meter inspections (where applicable)
- Inspections during compliance sampling
- Lead swabs
- Test pit
- Vacuum excavations
- Continuous review, validation, improvement
- Case by case application
Needing further research
- Cameras or CCTV
- LiDAR scanning
- Water quality
How machine learning can help with inventory development
Machine learning can help with streamlining the inventory development process, especially if accurate and consistent records are not completely available. Machine learning provides general ideas about pipes by predicting the probabilities of lead pipe at individual property and street/block levels based on factors such as utility records, property data, and public/census data.
Machine learning can help utilities achieve their business goals by:
- Saving costs for lead pipe investigation by avoiding unneeded digs
- Estimating total count of lead pipes for proper funds
- Improving hit rate to help the most-needed houses first
- Prioritizing work for logistical saving
- Reduce the number of verifications
Why a living inventory provides the most effective data management
Mark advises that as utilities go through the verification and full inventory development process, it’s helpful to have one unified platform living inventory database that connects to field applications, mobile applications, and desktop applications – so that all team members have access to the same information in one place.
In this clip, Mark discusses what a living inventory looks like and how a dashboard helps utilities navigate the LCRR process by monitoring compliance progress.
Next steps in starting service line inventory development and verification
The webinar continues detailing how utilities can start or progress through developing their service line inventory and providing that inventory to the public through an online inventory mapping tool.
Only one solution exists today that can provide a full service line inventory development process, from material identification, inventory publication, through tracking water sampling, and lead service line replacement program progress. That solution is called leadCAST, a cloud-based software application created by the team who worked on the industry-leading Newark lead service line replacement program.
Schedule a free consultation today with one of our LCRR experts to learn how we can help.