Protecting water quality through centralized information management

66%

reduction in correspondence turnaround time

24/7

access to KPIs and project information

Challenge
Wet weather overflows and basement backups across the City of Columbus prompted the local water utility to execute a 40-year, $2.5 billion comprehensive capital improvement plan to improve the city’s sewer system. Such a large plan requires hundreds of people to manage the variety of projects, and to log thousands of paper documents each month per project.

Solution
Provide the program and project management team with Portfolio Insights, Pioneered by Arcadis. This proprietary project management platform helps improve collaboration and provide essential insight for reducing project risks, optimizing schedules and budget delivery.

Impact
With a system that supports city processes and people in place, submittal approval turnaround was reduced from 21 to seven days, early intervention was easily facilitated, and all project information was accessible 24/7 from anywhere.

Project description:

To address wet-weather overflows in the sewer system, the City of Columbus(city)embarked on a comprehensive wet weather management program called Project Clean Rivers. Consisting of tunnel storage upgrades, wastewater treatment plant improvements, selective separation and collection system improvements, the program is estimated to take 40 years(from 2005)and approximately $2.5 billion to complete.

Given the size of the program, the team anticipated that thousands of new documents, materials and data points would be generated each month. Traditionally, these documents and data points are printed or even handwritten, and then organized based on the preferences of the responsible department. All of the information contained in those documents had the potential to improve how the city managed vital capital improvements responsible for reducing basement backups and sewer overflows.

To provide greater transparency into all sewer system upgrades, Arcadis worked with the city to implement Portfolio Insights. The platform specifically designed to help utilities manage information and project documentation to ensure milestones are met and projects are successfully completed. Given the need for insights across departments, Arcadis worked with the city to develop a consistent structure that enabled all project team members to navigate the platform easily and gain clarity into capital improvement progress, needs and opportunities.

Once customized to the city’s unique needs, the platform imported financial data to provide project managers a complete view of the project. By centralizing all of the project information the city has reduced approval turnarounds from 21 to seven days, can easily track possible claim activities by contractors, facilitate early intervention and track all time-related activities and costs in real-time.

Arcadis’ 2019 report “Demystifying Intelligent Water” reveals that as of 2018, only 17 percent of utilities reported adopting advanced data-mining and analytics practices. As a key step to becoming an Intelligent Water utility, platforms like Portfolio Insights help set the stage for structured and scalable data governance.

By storing project data and documents in an accessible, web-based portal that’s structured for ease of use, the team was able to identify savings in real-time, approve shop drawings, reduce schedule challenges and speed up project delivery. Tying the program to the fail-proof milestones helped simplify project tracking for all stakeholders, while 24/7 access ensured that no delays would be caused by lack of information accessibility. Given the magnitude of Project Clean Rivers, Columbus later chose to implement Portfolio Insights citywide to help manage similar projects.

Combining best practices in program management with technical capabilities in data management and analytics, Arcadis was able to help the city more easily navigate one of its largest programs, transform program management from siloed paper based management to transparent and easily accessible management, and in turn protect water quality for the people of Columbus.

Outcomes

66%

reduction in correspondence turnaround time

24/7

access to KPIs and project information
Share on Wechat
"Scan QR Code" on WeChat and click ··· to share.