City of Northglenn Colorado

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Case Study - City of Northglenn Colorado

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THE NORTHGLENN TEAM EXPLAINS THE POWER OF SEDARU

The City of Northglenn, CO (City) selected IDModeling to deploy its Sedaru smart water enterprise software as a real-time, business operating platform for operations and planning decision support.  Sedaru connects the City’s GIS, asset management, and hydraulic model, empowering field and office staff with role-based water analytics to communicate and make informed decisions across their water network.

Tom Kawamoto, P.E., Civil Engineer II, and Greg Yanker, P.E., Project Manager at the City sat down with IDModeling to share their experiences with Sedaru since its initial rollout.

1. HOW DO YOU THINK SEDARU IS HELPING NORTHGLENN IMPLEMENT THIS CONCEPT OF A 'SMART WATER NETWORK'?

Our maintenance and repair records were historically kept on a spreadsheet. Pipelines, valves, and hydrants were identified by number only. The relationships between the various assets were not apparent and were difficult to visualize. Sedaru makes it much easier to access this information and to see relationships between the assets.

2. COULD YOU PROVIDE SPECIFIC TIME AND COST SAVINGS EXAMPLES THAT THE CITY HAS REALIZED SINCE YOU DEPLOYED SEDARU? 

It no longer takes additional time in the field for our maintenance crews to record their valve exercising and hydrant flushing activities. They can input the data while they are waiting for the valve turner to finish operating, or while the hydrant is being flushed. This saves them time at the end of their day compared to the old way of entering data into a spreadsheet. We estimate that [Sedaru] saves us about 130 hours a year per person (about 3 weeks per year, per person). 

We have also used Sedaru to model two pipelines with leaks in the distribution system. Our model runs indicated that the pipelines are no longer necessary, since newer pipelines were constructed in the vicinity. Abandoning the pipelines cost a lot less than replacing the pipelines, since they were located on the property of residents (within easements) and we would have had to construct parallel pipelines on City property. We estimate that Sedaru saved us about $200,000 in design and construction costs, by helping us understand the most cost-effective solution.

3. HOW HAS SEDARU IMPROVED YOUR OVERALL WORK PROCESS? HOW DO YOU ENVISION IMPROVING EVEN FURTHER IN THE FUTURE? 

Sedaru has improved our overall work process in two ways. First, it has made it easy and convenient for our maintenance workers to keep their maintenance and repair records current. Since nobody enjoys paperwork – especially after working outside all day – the documentation is typically the first thing to slip and fall behind. Record-keeping with Sedaru is a lot easier than updating the old spreadsheet, so once the workers learned how to use it, they preferred it over the old way and kept using it. Second, the comment fields for each asset type allow the maintenance workers to transfer their institutional knowledge to the cloud, where it can be shared with other workers now and in the future. For example, if there's a valve that requires additional finesse to close, it probably means that it is getting worn out and should be in line for replacement before long. In the past, we didn't have a way to document this. We anticipate further improvements in efficiency and record keeping detail when we get Sedaru further integrated.

4. HOW DOES THE NORTHGLENN TEAM WORK DIFFERENTLY SINCE STARTING TO USE SEDARU? 

Our Distribution and Collection Foreman and the Maintenance and Operations Superintendent have a better handle on the work that is being performed out in the field. They are able to spend less time tracking their workers and are able to focus on more important tasks. When they ask "Which hydrants did we flush in the past month?," we are able to instantly pull up a map that shows all of the hydrants that were flushed. In the past, we'd have to go back through the old spreadsheet, find all the hydrants on the map, and then spend a lot of time annotating the map and formatting it for presentation. Sedaru is able to do all of this with a click or two, which is fantastic.

5. WHAT ARE YOUR THOUGHTS ON SEDARU’S TRENDING VIEW? 

The trending view is helpful because it adds the dimension of time to the two-dimensional map view of the maintenance or repair work.  In the past, we'd have to go back and manually create and format charts from the old spreadsheet to show the work being done. Sedaru does it all automatically, and presents it in a format that is very easy to understand.

6. HOW HAS NORTHGLENN BENEFITED SINCE USING SEDARU MOBILE FOR VALVE AND HYDRANT MAINTENANCE? 

Having Sedaru accessible on mobile devices was essential for it to be used on a regular basis. We have an iPad Mini that the maintenance crews use out in the field, and they are also able to use Sedaru on their smartphones. The impact is that we are able to make better decisions in less time than before. In the past, we would have to spend a lot of time in the office gathering data and formatting it in a way that would be easy to understand, but now that Sedaru can do that for us in an instant, we can concentrate on the actual decision-making.

7. COULD YOU EXPAND ON WHAT HYDRAULIC SIMULATIONS NORTHGLENN HAS RUN IN SEDARU? 

In addition to the pipeline abandonments mentioned above, we have run a couple of analyses on proposed pipeline loops for a future mass transit station. We were able to compare the two alignments and determine that they both were able to provide the required pressure and flow, so we were able to recommend the more cost-effective alignment without reservations.

8. WHAT EXCITES YOU MOST ABOUT IMPLEMENTING SEDARU AT NORTHGLENN? 

The most exciting thing is that all the information is integrated in one place, and everyone from management, engineering, maintenance and operations are able to contribute to and benefit from using Sedaru.

9. WOULD YOU LIKE TO SHARE ANY OTHER THOUGHTS? 

We are currently using the Basic version of Sedaru and are very excited about growing our use to include the [more advanced] version next year. We are also impressed with the continuing improvements in the features and capabilities of the system, and the way that IDModeling has gathered and responded to user feedback.


ABOUT THE CITY OF NORTHGLENN, COLORADO

Home to nearly 37,000 residents, the City of Northglenn still offers its inhabitants a deep sense of community. Some of its current residents have called Northglenn “home” since it was first incorporated back in 1969.  Northglenn’s well-considered planning, development and high-quality services also add to this sense of community. With such a foundation, it is particularly important to the City of Northglenn to serve its customers well.

SOLUTIONS FEATURED

  • Automated reporting, no more paperwork
  • Purpose-built decision support for water utilities
  • Ability to easily track and trend asset management
  • Real-time operations and maintenance management
  • Lightweight, analytics-driven, mobile app for field work
  • Easy-to-use water modeling to understand risk and impact
  • Substantial productivity savings:  3 weeks/year/person
  • Substantial cost savings:  $200,000 in design & construction (est.)
  • Automated customer service, valve & hydrant maintenance workflows
  • Seamless connectivity across disparate systems:  GIS, CMMS, and water model
  • One location for data access, analytics, and water business communications