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Fountain Hills, AZ Streamlines wastewater treatment for 2M gallons of water

Fountain Hills Sanitary District

Fountain Hills, AZ

Fountain Hills, Arizona’s Sanitary District, collects and treats nearly 2 million gallons per day of raw wastewater, and treats it to Class A+ recycled water, which is reused for irrigation in golf courses and parks. This meant water data management was crucial to the District’s success.

Topics Covered

Waste Management
Water Quality
Process Improvement

Cost

Initial: 4 Thousand USD

Funding

General Fund/Existing Public Funds

Project Status

Operational since 2022

Gov Champion

District Manager

Problem Addressed

Fountain Hills' wastewater data was spread across 20 complex, interconnected sheets which became tedious to operate.

Fountain Hills Sanitary District treats 2M gallons of wastewater per day, creating large amounts of data for records and analysis. The data storage for all the treatment, process, flows, etc., were kept on 20 complex, interconnected Excel spreadsheets. All the data required for monthly and annual compliance reporting for air quality and wastewater treatment process, generator use, customer re-use billing, and other sensitive reports came from those complex, carefully linked spreadsheets.

Although extremely useful for the time they were developed, the spreadsheets over time grew more difficult to use due to repetitive editing, accidental deletions, leap years and so on. The spreadsheet “database” became even more precarious when the one person who knew the most about their creation and upkeep resigned. This left District Manager Dana Trompke, P.E., feeling “stranded,” with only a few weeks until the new year to find a new solution.

Even though a transition to a new system posed risks, she understood it was crucial to streamline data tracking. The staff was “craving a better solution but didn’t know what it was.”

Solutions Used

Fountain Hills implemented Waterly to streamline its wastewater treatment data.

The District needed a system upgrade to simplify data collection, accurately track data and move away from the legacy Excel spreadsheets. The District Manager was seeking a solution that would receive the data directly from the wastewater facilities and eliminate duplicate data entry.

Fountain Hills implemented Waterly (founding partner of WaterClick) for the District’s water data management needs. The District appointed dedicated staff and set a tight 5-6 week onboarding schedule to quickly implement the solution, accounting for the District's timeline. The software collects and reports approximately 250 data points that were previously manually entered into spreadsheets from clipboards. By the start of 2022, the District had the new data entry and storage system up and running.

Now, data from the many different facilities are input into iPads instead of hand-written for on paper to be input later. This has reduced errors and increased overall data accessibility since the data is synced to the cloud and can be accessed remotely.

Instead of maintaining 20 different spreadsheet files, the District now has a centralized system that can be accessed by any authorized user. Complex regulatory and operational data reports are produced each month, reducing time spent editing spreadsheets.

“The best part is that we don’t have to recreate the wheel (and numerous spreadsheets) every calendar year,” Ms. Trompke added. Future plans include considerations for automating the District’s SCADA data (mostly flow meters) to further save operations’ staff time with data entry.

Outcomes

1

With a dynamic database system, the team can easily edit fields to adapt to future wastewater system changes, without losing existing data.

2

The new centralized system creates a single (and affordable) source of reliable truth for FHSD - this can be viewed 5 years down the line with complete confidence.

3

Smoother process to run logs for the generators available to county inspectors for compliance with the District’s air quality permits, saving staff time and ensuring compliance.

4

FHSD achieved their goal of a 6-week implementation for cloud-based water data software due to dedicated staff training and onboarding.

Who Should Consider

Sanitation districts that manage large amounts of water looking to streamline data points.

Last Updated

Mar 23rd, 2022
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