How the Capital Improvement Plan Optimization Process Can Help You

WCS Engineering applies a highly refined procedure to capital improvement plan (CIP) optimization projects. The WCS team works closely with the municipality and its broader engineering team to develop a set of cost-effective and prioritized CIP solutions in which the customer can be confident.

The process begins with a collaborative approach to defining inputs. Next, we formulate improvement alternatives for quality assurance and quality control. Through an iterative approach we progressively add detail to the optimization framework to produce the broadest range of improvement options. Our exclusive post-optimization tools then customize the raw output from Optimizer into clear graphics and comprehensive summaries. Through these tools, we interpret and clearly communicate options to the client.

We believe this last step to be particularly critical. The WCS team is experienced in constructing optimization scenarios that maximize the value of the information derived from the process and working with clients to determine the most appropriate plan of action.

What to Expect from CIP Optimization

The diagram below shows how the optimization process works. The team organizes optimization inputs including the calibrated hydraulic model of the system, the improvement alternatives, unit costs, and design criteria. Using cloud computing and intelligent search algorithms, the Optimizer software evaluates thousands of solution combinations, evaluating each combination against total life-cycle cost, hydraulic performance, and stakeholder objectives.

While single-objective optimization determines the least-cost solution to meet defined design criteria, multi-objective optimization demonstrates the trade-off between cost and design criteria compliance. Our process can evaluate hundreds of improvement solutions with varying degrees of compliance and cost to determine the point of diminishing return on investment or to prioritize capital improvement plans.

In the post-processing step, the most favorable CIP solutions are developed into detailed solution summary spreadsheets and linked to geodatabases for mapping. The team delivers clear and concise graphic-based presentations of the results and meets with the utility to discuss the solution trends. Based on this discussion, the team might run and evaluate new sets of optimization scenarios and risk/sensitivity analyses to ensure the client has all the appropriate information from which to make the best investment decision.

The Cost-Effective Analysis Curve below is one example of the graphics used to show the cost effectiveness of different solution components developed in the optimization. The curve pulls together the solution cost information against the various peak flows to the wastewater treatment plant, illustrating the costs of each component. The total cost of the optimized solution is shown at the bottom of the black curve.

Your First Step

Getting the right results starts with the right input. The tables below feature typical examples of optimization parameters that we collect and include in our optimization projects. Consider these examples, then reach out to schedule your discussion with one of our experts. Reach Out

Typical Example of Optimization Parameters Included in a Wastewater System Optimization Project

System Improvement Alternatives Design criteria, operational limitations, and system performance constraints
New and parallel relief sewers

Replacement or rehabilitation of existing mains based on asset condition data

New storage tanks and inline storage facilities

New (or expanded) pump stations

Operational control settings for weirs and gates

Flow control and flow diversions

I/I reduction, green infrastructure and sewer separation

Decentralized treatment or expansion of existing treatment facilities
CSO or SSO design storm containment frequency

Typical-year design storm CSO activation or volume

Allowable surcharge and basement backups

Maximum utilization of existing infrastructure

Force main velocity and operating head

Redundancy or reliability constraints

Water quality objectives

Typical Example of Optimization Parameters Included in a Water System Optimization Project

System Improvement Alternatives Design criteria, operational limitations, and system performance constraints
New and parallel water mains

Replacement or rehabilitation of existing mains based on asset condition data

New (or expanded) pump stations

Pressure reduction valves

Storage reservoirs

New or expanded treatment facilities

Water sources
Peak demand requirements

Fire flow

Emergency pressure reduction

Storage level requirements

Velocity

Redundancy or reliability constraints

Water age requirements

Typical Example of Optimization Parameters Included in a Stormwater Optimization Project

System Improvement Alternatives Design criteria, operational limitations, and system performance constraints
Channelization

Detention storage

Stormwater tunnel systems

Flow diversion and bypass options

Large reservoir storage
Conveyance design storm frequency

Flooding maximum depth and velocity

Impervious area reduction

Water quality

Risk minimization