West View Water Authority is exploring how a new approach to data analysis as a “Digital Utility” can help lower operating costs and spot efficiencies in its system of 200,000 customers spread across 32 municipalities in Western Pennsylvania.
The initiative is part of West View’s nine-goal Strategic Plan, which relies on access to and analysis of data. As the cost of sensor systems drop and their use increases, data is increasingly available to water utilities. That’s fueling the Digital Utility trend among organizations seeking to make better decisions and deliver services at a lower cost.
Water utility consultant Parkview Advisors, of Alexandria, Va., is teaming with GrayMatter to design a Digital Master Plan for West View that will support a robust business intelligence platform capable of identifying valuable operational insights.
“Our work will serve as West View’s roadmap to implement a holistic approach to the use of data for operating with enhanced compliance, increased efficiency and improved security,” said Jim Good, President of Parkview Advisors LLC. “According to research, when this type of digital approach is implemented, as much as 20 percent on capital expenditures and 30 percent of operating expenses can be saved.”
West View’s system of more than 800 miles of water mains, 10 reservoirs and two treatment plants provides more than 5.8 billion gallons of water a year.
The Authority’s control systems generate a huge amount of data that, as part of a comprehensive strategy, can be analyzed to predict failures before they happen, optimize maintenance programs and use energy more efficiently. GrayMatter has worked with utilities in Cincinnati, Akron, Bonita Springs, Fla, Pearland, Texas, and Kamloops, British Columbia, to help them better harness their data.
GrayMatter’s Industrial Internet of Things technologies have led to water and wastewater client breakthroughs including: 50 percent reduction in pump station inspections, $300,000 in yearly savings from alarm efficiencies, and a 15 percent drop in compliance costs.
Most recently, GrayMatter worked with the Metropolitan Sewer District of Greater Cincinnati to reduce storm water overflow by 1.4 million gallons in that system’s Mill Creek Basin.
“We generate lots of data every day and owe it to our customers to use it to benefit them,” said Bob Christian, executive director of the West View Water Authority. “Parkview Advisors and GrayMatter bring hands-on utility and digital transformation experience that will provide us with a master plan for doing just that. It will also help us in our quest to continually become more efficient and better serve our customers.”
GrayMatter CEO Jim Gillespie, a graduate of Carnegie Mellon University, said he is excited to co-innovate with a forward-thinking utility.
“We’re all about helping Pittsburgh communities become digital utilities – taking their data to the next level and connecting it to business platforms.”
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