How good is your spill response system, particularly in emergencies? From the moment a call comes in reporting a sewer overflow, your system needs to help you manage crews and equipment, set public expectations, and keep costs to a minimum.
When a call comes in to report a sanitary sewer overflow (SSO) or combined sewer overflow (CSO) incident, the major priorities are to:
- Get a crew to site as quickly as possible to confirm the spill
- Determine the volume and map the extent of the spill
- Diagnose the cause of the problem
- Determine an appropriate response and carry out remedial action
- Send a detailed incident report to the relevant statutory compliance authority and other stakeholders
- Communicate with the residents and businesses affected
- Record the details of the incident in a centralised data management system
- Evaluate the response performance against agreed key indicators
Costs can ratchet up rapidly. Typically it takes a day for a field crew of four people to locate, diagnose, and document the spill. Call centre agents may have to handle hundreds of calls coming from citizens, essential services such as the police, or from utility staff. Combining all that information and communicating it to repair crews, regulators, and the public is time-consuming, potentially inefficient and ineffective. Wastewater authorities are under great pressure to minimize their spending and become more productive and performant in response to emergency events such as SSO/CSO incidents.
An incident response system should be an integral component of an asset management system. You've got an asset that's failed, and you need to know where it is, what it's made of, and what it's connected to. An asset management solution can help with all aspects of a spill and the reactive response from the utility.
In fact, it can also deal with asset-related management in lots of other contexts. Fresh water spills/bursts can be addressed in a similar way to sewer spills. Highways management is another example: assets such as drains and gullies need to be managed so that stormwater doesn't pool on the road surface, and asset management systems can keep a log of ponding, and manage the response. If there's a tanker accident and its load ends up in the drain, the asset management system can help to assess where the pollution might end up, enabling an informed response.
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