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Case Study

Saying Goodbye Spreadsheets in Arizona

Fountain Hills Sanitary District updated their ineffective system of manually collecting and entering data into an outdated series of spreadsheets with Waterly.

AUTHOR

Related Topics

Data Management

Wastewater Treatment

The community of Fountain Hills, near Scottsdale, Arizona, is proud of their Sanitary District. They collect and treat nearly 2 million gallons per day of raw wastewater, and treat it to Class A+ recycled water, every drop of which is beneficially reused for irrigation in golf courses and parks.

THE CHALLENGE

The data storage for all the treatment, process, flows, etc., were kept on twenty 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 at 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.

THE SOLUTION

Waterly was able to provide an affordable way to remove the Excel headache by streamlining the data and eliminating duplicate data entry. Now, the data from the many different facilities are input into iPads instead of hand-written to be keyed in later. This helps reduce errors and makes the data instantly available in the Cloud so it can be accessed by any computer. Instead of maintaining twenty different spreadsheet files, the District now has a centralised system that can be accessed by authorised users on an easy-to-use platform. Complex regulatory and operational data reports are produced with a single click.

RESULTS

District Manager Trompke says there is no way to quantify all the lost time people spent messing with the spreadsheets – redoing them, baby-sitting them, fixing the broken links. Waterly’s cost-effective system gives them “peace of mind,” according to Trompke. The database system is set-up, easily editable for different future conditions, and rolls over year to year with no drop in data. Having the Waterly service as an annual service fee makes it more cost effective than purchasing and maintaining a database software package in-house.

There is a new efficiency that the centralised system gives them. Trompke says that she is not worried about losing data and she knows that “five years down the line we can look back in history and know what was happening and have confidence in the data.”

The Waterly system also gives them a smoother process to make run logs for the generators available to County inspectors for compliance with the District’s air quality permits. The automation saves staff time and assures that they will keep in compliance and avoid permit violations by having reliable data available with a keystroke.

Every single staff member liked it. It is easy to use and intuitive, since it’s laid out the way we collect our data now. The best part is that we don’t have to recreate the wheel (and numerous spreadsheets) every calendar year.

– Dana Trompke P.E., District Manager, Fountain Hills Sanitary District

$4000 annual service fee/year for Waterly

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