Preventative Maintenance

Many water and wastewater utilities have excellent preventive maintenance programs in place and probably an equal number have an "oh crap" maintenance plan. Preventive maintenance is always a better way to go, but as we found out often when taking preventive measures an "oh crap" situation comes to light. Ours was a safety issue with the deck stairs and a major roof repair.

Preventive maintenance is a schedule of planned maintenance actions aimed at the prevention of breakdowns and failures. The primary goal of preventive maintenance is to prevent the failure of equipment before it actually occurs. It is designed to preserve and enhance equipment reliability by replacing worn components before they actually fail. The ideal preventive maintenance program would prevent all equipment failure before it occurs.

Most of the systems in Pa. have some life on them and keeping them operational can be a challenge. Budgets have been cut, equipment costs have risen and regulations keep coming. Maintaining what we have is a must.

There are multiple misconceptions about preventive maintenance. One such misconception is that PM is unduly costly. This logic dictates that it would cost more for regularly scheduled downtime and maintenance than it would normally cost to operate equipment until repair is absolutely necessary. This may be true for some components; however, management should compare not only the costs but the long-term benefits and savings associated with preventive maintenance. Without preventive maintenance, for example, costs for lost production time from unscheduled equipment breakdown will be incurred. Also, preventive maintenance will result in savings due to an increase of effective system service life.

Do you have a preventative maintenance schedule?