SUE Report

Subsurface Utility Engineering practices, challenges, and opportunties.

Asset Management Readiness Assessment

Maturity assessment of Ontario municipal water utilities.

Municipal Buried Infrastructure

2013 & 2015 Survey results



Municipal right-of-ways are crowded underground spaces containing critical infrastructure – watermains, sewers, gas pipes, power cables and telecommunication networks – for the operation of cities and businesses. The need to renew, replace or build new underground infrastructure requires the ability to accurately identify the location, characteristics and function of existent pipelines before construction begins.

Unfortunately, utility hits are too common along with the finding of unknown underground utilities once project construction starts. This in turn can result in unnecessary and costly infrastructure damage, service disruptions, and public safety issues, in addition to increasing project costs and delays.

CATT developed and conducted in 2018/2019 a Canada wide web-based survey to gather valuable information on current, well-established industry SUE best practices, challenges and opportunities. Data was collected from 85 participants – including infrastructure owners, consultants, contractors and technology providers.

This report shows the need for improved implementation of SUE industry practices during project planning and before construction starts. The implementation of these practices in early project phases will, in turn, reduce project costs and construction delays and avoid potential claims.

Click Here to Access the Report


Infrastructure Asset Management practices are well-recognized in Canada for enabling municipalities to make strategic investment decisions. Water utilities in particular strive to keep pipelines, pumping stations and treatment plants in sound condition and capable of delivering the targeted Levels of Service, all of this without burdening customers with excessive fees.

Readiness or maturity assessments are commonly used by organizations to identify how advanced they are regarding the adoption of the asset management framework. However, even when municipalities choose to perform a readiness assessment, the results are not shared with the industry. As a consequence, there is little information concerning water utilities asset management processes implementation.

To bridge this information gap, CATT has developed a web-based survey to understand the implementation of asset management processes and practices in Ontario municipal water utilities. FCM’s Readiness Scale, ISO 55000 series and Ontario Regulation 588/17 were adapted and used as a framework for questions. Respondents were classified into four Readiness Levels (RLs), from 0 to 3, in five competency areas: (1) policy and governance; (2) people and leadership; (3) data and information; (4) planning and decision-making; and (5) contribution to asset management practice. Survey respondents consisted of 31 municipalities representing 50.6% of Ontario’s total population.

Survey results are presented in the Water and Wastewater Asset Management Readiness Assessment report. The main outcome is a readiness snapshot that is comparable between municipalities of different backgrounds and in time. Additionally, the study investigates the use of Asset Management Plans as sources of information for evidence-based decision-making, compliance with Ontario Regulation 588/17, identified funding gaps and asset management perceived value.

 Access the Report Here!


The objective of this survey is to assess the Canadian market conditions related to construction, renewal, and financing of water, wastewater and storm water pipelines. Critical issues, as the lack of sufficient funds for operation and maintenance (O&M) activities and for capital expenditures are explored. The strategies to address infrastructure backlog, the ranking of pipe renovation and replacement methods, and the barriers to the use of trenchless technologies methods were also investigated. Respondents were classified into small, medium and large municipalities, according to their population, and results are presented in an aggregated form.


Research is a core function of CATT – it propels the trenchless industry forward and creates social and economic value. Here are some selected published articles from our top researchers


Mohammadifardi, H., Knight, M. A., & Unger, A. A. (2019). Sustainability Assessment of Asset Management Decisions for Wastewater Infrastructure Systems—Development of a System Dynamic Model. Systems, 7(2), 26.

Ganjidoost, A., Unger, J. A, Knight, M.A., and Haas, C. T., 2018. “Benchmarking and Forecasting Water Utilities Performance”. J. Water Resour. Plan. Manag. 2018, 144. doi:10.1061/(ASCE)WR.1943-5452.0000890.

Mohammadifardi, H.; Knight, M.A.; Unger, A.J.A. Development of an asset management planning tool for integrated wastewater collection and treatment systems. In Proceedings of the 36th International Conference of the System Dynamics Society, Reykjavík, Iceland, 7-9 August 2018, 2150–2178. Available online: .

Rehan, R., Unger, J. A., Younis, R., Knight, M.A. and Haas, C. T. 2016. Development of Unit Cost Indices and Database for Water and Wastewater Pipelines Capital Works. Journal of Cost Analysis and Parametrics, Volume 9, 2016 – Issue 2.

Rehan, R., Younis, R., Unger, J. A., Shapton, B., Budimir, F., Knight, M.A. and Haas, C. T. 2016. “Forecasting the Unit Price of Water and Wastewater Pipelines Capital Works and Estimating Contactors’ Markup”. Journal of Cost Analysis and Parametrics. Vol. 9. 2016 Issue 1. 2016.

Ganjidoost, A.; Haas, C.; Knight, M.; Unger, A. A System Dynamics Model for Integrated Water Infrastructure Asset Management. In Proceedings of the 33rd International Conference of the System Dynamics Society, Cambridge, MA, USA, 19–23 July 2015; pp. 1–16.

Rehan, R., Knight, M.A. Haas, C. T., and Unger, J. A., 2015. “Water Utility Management and Financial Planning Using System Dynamics “, Journal American Water Works, 107(1) 2015 DOI: Page Range: E22-E36.

Rehan, R., Knight, M.A.,Haas, C. T., and Unger, J. A., 2013. “Development of a system dynamics model for financially sustainable management of municipal watermain networks”, Water Research, 47(20), 2013, 7184 – 7205

Shadpour A., Unger J. A., Knight, M.A., Haas, C.T. 2013. “A Numerical DAE Approach for Solving a System Dynamics Problem”. J. Comput. Civ. Eng., 29(3), 04014054.

Rehan, R., Knight, M.A., Unger, J. A., and Haas, C. T., 2012 Financially sustainable management strategies for urban wastewater collection infrastructure – development of a system dynamics model. Tunnelling and Underground Space Technology Volume 39, January 2014, Pages 116–129. Underground Infrastructure Research 2012.

Rehan, R., Knight, M.A., Unger, J. A., and Haas, C. T., 2012. Financially sustainable management strategies for urban wastewater collection infrastructure – implementation of a system dynamics model. Tunnelling and Underground Space Technology Volume 39, January 2014, Pages 102–115. Underground Infrastructure Research 2012.

Younis, R. and Knight M.A., 2012. Development and Implementation of an Asset Management Framework for Wastewater Collection Networks. Tunnelling and Underground Space Technology Volume 39, January 2014, Pages 130–143.Underground Infrastructure Research 2012.

Rehan, R., Knight, M.A., Haas, C. T., and Unger, J. A., 2011. Application of System Dynamics for Developing Financially Self-Sustaining Management Policies for Water and Wastewater Systems. Water Research (2011), doi:10.1016/j.watres. 2011.06.001

Sinha, S. and Knight, M.A. 2004. Development of an intelligent system for maintenance and rehabilitation of underground pipelines. In Computer-Aided Civil and Infrastructure Engineering 19 (1) 2004, 42–53.



Paul Groves, Giovanni Cascante, Mark Knight, 2011. “Ultrasonic Characterization of Exhumed Cast Iron Water Pipes”, Smart Structures and Systems, 2011, 1 – 45.

Younis Rizwan, Knight Mark, 2010. “A Probability Model for Investigating the Trend of Structural Deterioration of Wastewater Pipelines”, Buried Infrastructure Challenges and Trenchless Solutions, Tunneling and Underground Space Technology Trenchless, Elsevier, 25(6), 2010, 670 – 680.

Rizwan Younis, Mark A. Knight, 2010. “Continuation-ratio Model for the Performance Behavior of Wastewater Collection Networks”, Tunnelling and Underground Space Technology Elsevier, 25(6), 2010, 660 – 669.

Younis, R, Knight M.A and Kleiner Y.2018.  Potable Water Pipeline Defect Condition Rating Water Research Project 4498 Water Research Foundation , 6666 West Quincy Avenue, Denver, CO  80235



Bayat, A., Knight, M. 2012, “Field Evaluation and Analysis of Flexible Pavement Structural Responses under Dynamic Loads”, International Journal of Road Materials and Pavement Design, 13(2), 2012, 26 – 37, 2011



Tighe, S., Knight M.A., Papoutsis, D., Rodriguez, V., and Walker, C., 2001. User cost savings in eliminating pavement excavations through employing trenchless technologies. Canadian Journal of Civil Engineering 02/2011; 29(5):751-761. DOI: 10.1139/l02-071.