Storm Restoration – Water Utility

The following stories illustrate how ARCOS Resource Management solutions can be used to manage both planned and unplanned events for water utilities. They are loosely based on real scenarios that have occurred.

Knowing the storm will be here soon, Chris, the Deputy of Operations, is responsible for being prepared to respond, restore and report on any event. From previous experience with the aftermath and destruction of storm events, Chris knows there’s potential for widespread flooding, water main breaks and possible water contamination. With the tremendous improvements in technology and accessibility to his online resource management system it allows for assignment and prioritizations of real-time resources while efficiently planning, responding and restoring water faster. He’ll now be able to assign resources in less than 15 minutes by utilizing the structure and processes of their ICS Emergency Response Plan.

With this level of severity looming, the ICS emergency plan is staffed and his team is ready to execute the next steps and have contractors on standby.  The process of obtaining contractor resources is simplified and electronically managed, allowing for Chris to save time, effort and money to get crews assigned and prioritized quickly.

Using an integrated Resource Management Platform helps the response team prepare and plan for events faster, and helps to focus their employees on important tasks in the planning phase. Planning is critical to ensure that Chris’ utility has the resources they need so they can quickly respond to this event and reduce restoration time and cost as much as possible.

Chris can breathe a sigh of relief knowing technology is on his side and making his job easier, so for now he’ll continue to follow the emergency plan as the storm draws nearer to landfall. *activate leadership roles, technology allows for scheduling of primary and backup*

ARCOS Resource Management Solutions can help water utilities better plan for large-scale events in the following areas:

Incident Management                                         Contractor Management

Automated Call Outs                                            Damage Assessment

Crew Management                                               Mobile Inspections   

Visual tracking of crews

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The storm caused widespread flooding, which is fueling concerns about water safety.  Downed trees and lines have made some of Chris’s storage and treatment facilities inaccessible; systems are alerting the team that there is a water main break in the center of the city causing a potential backflow situation.

It’s 4 a.m. and Chris’ team uses their automated callout system to get employees to the facilities, so they can make inspections and report back.  The entire callout is completed 40 minutes faster than the manual process in place prior to automation. There’s no more paper maps or spreadsheets involved in the inspection process. Today crews use an app on their cell phone, which directs them to the inspection points and provides a detailed map of asset locations that need inspection.  *technology allows you to respond quickly and accurately to get those who are available versus workers on rest or sick leave etc*

Once employees arrive at their designated site, they inspect and report on the condition of the storage and treatment facilities, which is automatically sent to dispatch to prioritize restoration efforts.  From damage assessment reports, utility managers can determine where to pre-stage and ultimately send crews as well as the type of equipment each crew will need. As additional damage is reported, dispatch can easily see where the crews and individuals are at any given point; this helps leadership monitor safety and quickly direct crews.

After the dispatch center learns of a breached levee outside the city, Chris begins using his radio to contact key personnel. The dispatch supervisors working with managers begin looking at their crews; dispatchers easily identify the crews in the vicinity of the levee and issue an immediate Safety Check. Crews receive an emergency safety check message on their cell phone or tablets. As each crew member responds, dispatchers capture their status and immediately dispatch assistance to those that need it. Each crews’ location is visible to help dispatch monitor the crisis.

In the meantime, the city center main break has made the distribution system vulnerable to the potential entry of microbial contaminants from the surrounding environment, and reduced pressure has managers concerned about contamination from backflow. Chris decides contractors must assist with restoration. The contractor resources held in reserve are released which automatically creates rosters for Chris’ team, so they can manage contractor crews along with company crews.

ARCOS Resource Management Solutions can help water utilities better plan for large-scale events in the following areas:

Incident Management                                         Contractor Management

Automated Call Outs                                            Damage Assessment

Crew Management                                               Mobile Inspections   

Visual tracking of crews

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Crews near the levee break are unharmed and the team was able to get status on each crew in minutes. Chris has received reports that nitrate levels in the water supply are too high and his crews are working to restore safety levels. The utility has made the decision to issue a boil water alert. By connecting the customer database and external stakeholders, Chris’ technology initiates updates to newsrooms, city officials and residents by text or email. In minutes, news of the boil order goes out followed by hourly updates regarding service restoration and water safety.

To Chris’s surprise an unintended consequence of these communications is the reduction of phone calls to customer service. His customer service teams shift to intake procedures fielding calls regarding water service problems and pressure problems, instead of answering residents questioning when water will be restored.

From the dispatch center, supervisors manage all crews electronically instead of relying on whiteboards. Chris’s systems enable drag and drop crew management capabilities based on who is available vis-à-vis overtime rules, etc.

As crews arrive in the early hours, Chris’ dispatch team has all crew information displayed to crews on a few monitors. Crew members easily see whom they are paired with, and what tickets they’ll work along with the equipment on their trucks. This eliminates the nearly hour-long wait for instructions that crews previously had. Speed, accuracy and safety are critical to Chris’ water utility; his team knows that faster restoration reduces overall cost for the city’s residents, improves safety and provides customers with the satisfaction that their utility is run efficiently and getting service restored as quickly as possible.

r homes and lives due to the effort of thousands of workers in the field.

ARCOS Resource Management Solutions can help water utilities better plan for large-scale events in the following areas:

Incident Management                                         Contractor Management

Automated Call Outs                                            Damage Assessment

Crew Management                                               Mobile Inspections   

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The city is finally back to normal and restoration is complete. The Army Corps of Engineers has stabilized the levee. The boil water alert was in place for just 24 hours and crews made water main repairs in a record time. There is still work to be done however. The utility has begun reconciliation efforts as the invoices come in from contractors. The contractor system Chris’ utility uses automatically tracks the exact times contractor crews checked in for work, how many miles they drove, the rate at which they completed tickets, as well as idle time. As the contractors arrived at the staging location during restoration, Chris’ team had the details showing which individuals from which contractors would arrive along with what equipment they brought. The process enabled Chris’ team to quickly dispatch crews to restoration sites and release the crews.

A crew management system enabled Chris’ team to move back and forth in the timeline of restoration efforts, so they could quickly see snapshots of which crew members, tickets, trucks, etc. were in motion at any time during restoration. This information will let Chris’ team develop future drills and scenarios, so they can hone their restoration skills, train for emergency scenarios and document any ICS event. Should city officials, or regulators, require storm reports, Chris’ utility can respond quickly, so utility workers can focus on service, instead of spending days or weeks extracting details from multiple legacy systems.

But the real test of how Chris’ utility managed the restoration process comes from the feedback of the customers and the city. Customer satisfaction surveys sent out to residents indicate a high level of satisfaction with their water utility. Chris’ utility didn’t receive any negative press. All indications are that the public is satisfied. Their dollars are hard at work ensuring service disruption is kept to a minimum. And customers know when the unexpected strikes, Chris’ utility will be there to efficiently and safely restore service.

ARCOS Resource Management Solutions can help water utilities better plan for large-scale events in the following areas:

Incident Management                                          Contractor Management

Automated Call Outs                                            Damage Assessment

Crew Management                                               Mobile Inspections   

Visual tracking of crews

Notify me when new webcasts are available