Skokie engages tech to evaluate water main infrastructure
Last updated 10/2/2019 at 12:57pm
Each day, the Village of Skokie residential and commercial water customers receive an average of 7.7 million gallons of drinking water that is distributed through some 180 miles of water mains throughout the community. Unexpected water main breaks are costly for the Village. In addition, they are disruptive and inconvenient for both residents and businesses, sometimes resulting in business interruption and other costly circumstances.
The Village of Skokie has maintained detailed records on its water mains for years in an effort to determine vulnerable areas in the water delivery system and to provide information necessary for timely repairs when breaks occur. To increase the effectiveness of this data, Skokie is the first municipality in Illinois to partner with Fracta, a technology company that utilizes Skokie’s existing data in combination with artificial intelligence, specifically, machine learning and Esri® ArcGIS™ as a geospatial mapping tool to locate and determine the probability and economic consequence of water main failure.
“We are anticipating that this technology will guide us in prioritizing the replacement of our water infrastructure that is most vulnerable to failure,” said Max Slankard, Director of Public Works. “In addition, this added information will provide valuable information to Public Works staff as they work to repair water main breaks as quickly and efficiently as possible.”
The new technology offered by Fracta will identify and target locations in need of water main replacement or rehabilitation, leak detection and further assessment. “The scope of the new information will provide for better asset management, allow for more specific capital improvement planning and, most importantly, will result in cost savings and increased reliability for Skokie residents, businesses and the Village,” said Slankard.