For infrastructure operators in the City of San Clemente, California, efficiency is a way of life. This coastal town of around 70,000 takes a comprehensive view of asset management. In doing so, it deploys strategic technology to manage risk and ensure the quality of its wastewater system — and the wellbeing of its community.
These efforts saw a major boost four years ago, when the City Utilities Division transitioned from a largely analog CCTV assessment process to an integrated, data-driven inspection solution with the hands-on support of Haaker Equipment Company. The Division ensures water, sewer and drainage services as well as regulatory compliance, and its adoption of WinCan transformed the entire operation. Workers who had once generated vast amounts of paperwork and DVDs began submitting clean, digital data to the engineering office. PACP data certification became easier, and reporting was automated. Regular syncs with the community’s GIS solution ensured accuracy in mapping. Data from the old paper CAD atlas was converted and transferred into Esri’s Local Government templates, where it could easily be fine-tuned, developed and applied. WinCan changed everything.
An Integrated Workflow
Yet San Clemente attributes its wastewater management success to more than WinCan’s robust inspection capabilities: The ability to seamlessly integrate inspection data and workflows with Lucity’s enterprise asset and work management platform has enabled it to excel. “We had a third party look at what was needed in our utilities to make them more efficient,” says Elmer Catapang, San Clemente’s computerized maintenance management system (CMMS) coordinator. “One of the items was to have an integrated CMMS…. There was room for improvements to our GIS, and that’s one of the reasons why we chose Lucity.”
Since then, the City has optimized its life-cycle management programs, improved service levels, maintained regulatory compliance and is more responsive to the needs of its residents. WinCan inspections can be brought in as recommended work orders for informing and executing both preventive maintenance and capital planning strategies, resulting in a complete feedback process that offers real-time dashboard visibility and management reporting capabilities. The two systems work side by side in communities throughout North America.
In San Clemente, the sewer inspection team runs Lucity alongside WinCan to support its workflow. As the camera team inspects pipelines, workers can log PACP-certified observations and flag areas of concern. That data is imported into Lucity, where it automatically generates work orders and alerts for designated codes. Back in the office, Engineering can review both the video and linked work order in Lucity. “We made a workflow for our engineers,” explains Catapang. “You can imagine how much time we save in that process: Instead of someone spending hundreds of hours viewing video and IDing things to work on, they are automatically filtered.”
If needed, orders are then issued to on-call contractors to address damage and other concerns. It’s a highly efficient interdepartmental workflow. Damage that used to take a year to be inspected, reviewed, added to the queue, and repaired can now be addressed in a two-week period. Where problems were once allowed to worsen because of slow processing times, the department can quickly intervene — leading to less costly repairs, fewer crises, and fewer claims from unhappy property owners. Ken Knatz was the principal civil engineer and asset manager for the San Clemente Public Works Department during the program’s early years. He and his team bring expertise in GIS and technology to their work on capital and special projects with the City Utilities Division, and he was there for the WinCan deployment, and workflow development. “There’s been a big increase in efficiency,” he notes. “Our mantra is citywide preventive maintenance.”
Visibility and Accountability
By connecting the field crew, engineering and repair teams, the WinCan-Lucity system allows everyone to track rehab projects. They hold one another accountable: Inspectors are confident that the things they video are being repaired, and engineers known they’ll have quick, easy access to the right footage when they need it. They’ve now recorded over two thirds of their 164-mile system.
Increased visibility in both the wastewater system itself and the department’s practices also allows the city to plan and apply resources more effectively. In the past, administrators were wasting both labor and money through inefficient inspection and repair workflows. “The system makes sure we’re proactive in inspections and schedule projects to minimize corrective work,” explains Knatz. Moreover, they’ve found WinCan to be a valuable budgeting tool. “The city can see where dollars are actually being spent. And the queue lets us quickly estimate what annual rehab costs should be.”
San Clemente has applied the workflows, GIS capability and best practices developed for WinCan and Lucity to improve operations beyond pipeline inspection and repair. For example, the community’s collections systems are divided into various sub-basins. Previously, inspections were disorganized. “Guys would go out and video in a place because they ‘hadn’t been there in a while,’ and no one was asking why. Now we have a method in place and are using GIS,” says Knatz. Today, inspections start upstream and the team works down methodically, leaving no stone unturned.
An Evolving Process
The team continues to support ongoing improvements. “We understand that we need to evolve as a city,” says Catapang. But they also know that managing risk through preventive maintenance is cumulative. By addressing minor problems now, they’re avoiding community and financial crises that might occur in the future. And it's an effort that, thanks to the interdepartmental integration of WinCan and Lucity — all stakeholders can understand, see and support.
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