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Rural Town of Edinburgh, IN improves water operations by reducing manual operations

Edinburgh, IN 46124, USA
Waterly

Government Champion

Water Superintendent

Cost

Initial:
2.5 Thousand USD
Maintenance:
2.5 Thousand USD

Project Status

Operational since 2021

Funding / Financing

Project Type

At a Glance

Edinburgh, Indiana is a small town of about 5000 people, with four potable water wells, and a water treatment plant. They take water quality seriously and were looking to improve the manual process they had been using to manage their water system to free up their operations' staff time.

Problem Addressed

The Town of Edinburgh, Indiana (population 4,800) is a town approx. 25 miles south of Indianapolis. In many ways, they are just like almost every smaller town in America that runs its own water system. They had been doing things "the way they've always done it" for decades. They have four wells that feed one groundwater treatment plant. The plant uses a variety of chemicals that are added to the raw water to treat for iron and manganese in the raw water.

The Water Superintendent, Bill Jones, had 10 clipboards for managing water data, one for each well, and one for each chemical tank or process at his water plant. His staff would enter data into the clipboards each day (as they are required to do), then at some point, Jones would sit down and enter the data into a large Excel spreadsheet template that they created each month. He wanted his staff to be visiting all of his sites and processes each day, but he really disliked having to sit down for hours at a time typing, copying, and pasting, to get the data just right for his Town Council and the Indiana Department of Environmental Management (IDEM). For years, they have repeated this process each day and month, taking valuable time away from taking care of customers, proactive maintenance, and the very long list of to-dos that every small system faces each day.

Edinburgh used/is using Waterly to address this/these challenge(s).

Solution(s) Used

The Town of Edinburgh was pleased to discover water software specifically made for small and suburban utilities. They had no prior knowledge this solution existed. If it weren't for the local rural virtual water conference held in 2020, they wouldn't know that someone "actually made software" for them.

They joined Waterly's presentation and saw the fit right away. "I'm not spending 8-12 hours doing reports anymore. I'm doing it all in Waterly with the click of a button," said Jones. "Everything from my council report to the IDEM regulatory report I'm doing in seconds instead of hours or more than a day."

Outcomes

  1. The Water Superintendent no longer has to sit in front of his computer for 10-20 hours per month typing and manipulating data for reports.
  2. Edinburgh staff has the option to directly enter regulatory data into a tablet or phone (no more double data entry) and can see feedback in the field when the data indicates a problem.
  3. Data needed for Town Council meetings and the Indiana Department of Environmental Management (IDEM) is now more easily accessible and conveniently and securely stored in one place.

Lessons Learned

  1. There is no perfect solution, but implementing something simple for a low cost can drastically improve workflows.
  2. While upgrading their years' long established process, the Town sometimes still uses paper as a fallback.
  3. Even smaller cities with less resources can transition to more modern solutions that save them time and money in the long-run.

Something Unique

The Town of Edinburgh didn't know water software solutions existed for small utilities until they attended a conference where they heard of the solution.

Who Should Consider?

Any water or wastewater community that is still using paper to manually track and input data each month.