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Suburban community eliminates paper in water & wastewater operations

West Dundee, IL 60118, USA
Waterly

Government Champion

Director of Public Works

Cost

Zero upfront cost to local government
Initial:
5 Thousand USD
Maintenance:
5 Thousand USD

Project Status

Operational since 2019

More Reading

Waterly

At a Glance

The Village of West Dundee, IL is an 8,000 person NW suburb of Chicago that had been using reams of paper for decades to collect and manage water system operational data. Staff then spent 4-20 hours per month typing data into spreadsheets. The village now operates paperless with a Cloud-based database on tablets.

Problem Addressed

The Village's two water softening treatment plants amass hundreds of data points each day - tracking pressure, flow, chemical usage, and pump operation. Operators relied on dozens of clipboards that lined the plants, lift stations, and other sites to hand input all that data. The data then had to be translated into spreadsheets. By the end of the year, there were dozens of spreadsheets associated with system data, as well as dozens of paper copies that filled tons of manilla files and filing cabinet drawers. To stay compliant, each month public works staff used those spreadsheets to manually generate regulatory reports for Illinois EPA. Over the years, the village's has collected massive amounts of data across hundreds of spreadsheets, making it very cumbersome, if not nearly impossible, to look back in history, compare data, or transfer information to other systems or consultants.

West Dundee, IL used/is using Waterly software to address this/these challenge(s).

Solution(s) Used

To enable a switch from paper to digital, The Village purchased some basic tablets that were equipped with cellular internet and loaded with Waterly's cloud-based software. These were provided to Public Works employees responsible for operating the water and wastewater system. Using the tablets, employees are able to enter data in real time as they do rounds at all water treatment sites, pumping sites, and wastewater lift stations. The software is not only used to collect and aggregate data from all of the sites but also helps the public works team determine calculated Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) in the field, giving operators feedback on normal/abnormal operating values so they can react quickly if something isn't right. In addition, because the data is inputted directly into the cloud-software, the team doesn't have to spend time translating from paper to spreadsheets and can generate monthly regulatory and operations reports with one click.

Outcomes

  1. Eliminated lots of paper
  2. Submit monthly (IEPA) operating reports with one click
  3. Eliminated double-data entry and spreadsheets, saving 4-20 hours per month of staff time
  4. Created a single source of water information
  5. Taught public works staff how to effectively use tablet computers

Lessons Learned

  1. Technology doesn't have to be difficult to use. There was no training necessary for The Village team to start using the new system
  2. With a smaller company, you can get the opportunity to make suggestions that may be incorporated into the software that you may not get with larger corporations.
  3. Working with partners that have deep industry experience can help streamline the transition from paper to digital.

Something Unique

Waterly has been accepted by state regulatory agencies. No worrying about format.

Who Should Consider?

Water/Wastewater utilities that want to digitize operations but don't necessarily need super fancy IIoT sensors or a million-dollar SCADA system.

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