Situation analysis and specific measures

Greater investments in our drainage systems

Dealing with and maintaining the infrastructure in a sustainable manner eventually is an intergenerational task, which the public sector only inadequately fulfils owing to several reasons – as revealed by numerous studies, for example, carried out by the Difu (German Institute of Urban Affairs), the German Association of Towns and Municipalities, or the KfW German Development Bank. This, in particular, affects the drainage systems being an essential element of infrastructure so that their sustainability in ecological, economic and social aspects is at risk at present. Effective sewer systems play a crucial role in our cities’ sanitation which is a matter of course for us today: the systematic construction of sewerage systems could keep epidemics like typhus and cholera at bay, hence, they are virtually unknown today. Tight wastewater treatment plants protect our groundwater against contaminations by the exfiltration of sewage pollutants, such as chemicals, medical residues, and ensure that infiltration water is avoided. In addition to that, an efficient draining and/or the retention of precipitation water is required for the prevention of flooding, a risk that will become more important in the future, in view of the climate change. Not least the draining systems must be regarded as “asset”, that is to say as the property of the municipalities. These systems represent a replacement value amounting to approx. 630 billion euros, thus being the municipalities’ biggest asset position. Given the asset value, their maintenance is an intergenerational social task and duty, because they are essential for an environment worth living in and secure jobs.


Maintenance planning

A systematic and regular inspection as well as the evaluation and documentation of data provide the information needed for maintenance purposes. In consideration of the individual aging and the condition of the plant components, the rehabilitation measures are prioritized and realized. For this purpose, the private and public networks are to be regarded as a technical unit and a holistic rehabilitation strategy has to be defined. It is a fact that the required inspection levels have not been reached yet and that municipalities do not make the reinvestment resulting from the imputed depreciation. Instead of investing 7 to 14 billion euros – based on depreciation periods of 100 and 50 years realized, respectively – the investments only amount to about 3 billion euros at present, which means a gradual asset loss.


Quality assurance, modern products and building materials

Rehabilitation and reconstruction have to implement high quality standards. This requires, along with qualified personnel for planning and execution, high-quality products and building materials in order to ensure the extremely long target service lives. The preferred construction methods and construction products as well as rehabilitation procedures have to be intelligently engineered, so as to avoid execution errors. Rugged components made of concrete with optimized properties and manufactured in the highest quality make an important contribution here.



To maintain an effective drainage infrastructure is associated with costs. The awareness of the necessity for such investments must be created in public. On the one hand, this requires clear and transparent communication on the amounts that have to be spent. On the other hand, corresponding consternation has to be caused within the society, which means that the individual benefit must be brought to mind of those who pay the contributions. Therefore, communication strategies are needed.

Related articles:

Issue 2018-02 Sustainable infrastructure management of the city of Neu-Ulm

Preserving the value and substance of road, sewer and engineering structures

For many years now, the public has been focusing on the condition of traffic infrastructure as well as the condition of sewer systems. In this regard, the preservation of value and substance of the...

Issue 2020-02 For maintaining our drinking water and sewer networks

Keep an eye on the pipes!

In recent decades, around 215,000 km of public sewer and drinking water networks have been laid in the underground of Bavaria’s towns, cities and municipalities. The public pipeline network...

Issue 2013-05 MC-Bauchemie Müller GmbH & Co. KG

Manhole rehabilitation in the focus

About 75 participants of engineering offices and network providers accepted the invitation of Prof. Dr.-Ing. Karsten Körkemeyer, chair in construction management at TU Kaiserslautern, and came to the...

Issue 2013-05 MC-Bauchemie

Konudur Robopox 10 with DIBt approval

Konudur Robopox 10 demonstrates its strengths when it comes to robot-based maintenance of non-accessible sewers in a friction-locked way. The two-component epoxy resin can be processed mechanically...

Issue 2017-10 StoCretec

Highest cable-stayed bridge in Germany undergoes rehabilitation

The pylon of Fleher Brücke resembles the letter Y extending over the Rhine River in upside-down position. This pylon fulfils an important task because it takes up the stay cables that hold the bridge...