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As the county’s aging infrastructure reaches or exceeds its “useful life,” the Los Alamos Department of Public Utilities walks a fine line between extending its lifespan and replacing it completely.
“Our objective is to get as much life out of the assets as we reasonably can. We’re not simply going in and replacing infrastructure because it’s 40 years old, if it could potentially be useable for 100 years,” DPU Manager John Arrowsmith said.
DPU has developed a systematic and unusual approach for dealing with a dilemma many communities are facing.
The solution centers around seven asset management teams, each comprised of engineers, operations people and financial staff. The teams were created several years ago to continually assess the state of the infrastructure and prioritize capital projects for replacement.
“I’ve been involved with the capital planning for 10 years now, and I think it’s a pretty thorough job,” Deputy Utilities Manager of Engineering James Alarid said. “We’ve spent a lot of effort on condition assessments of our infrastructure. We look at the risk of certain things and then prioritize based on that.”
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