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In May 2000, the Metropolitan Sewer District of Greater Cincinnati (MSDGC) embarked on a unique and challenging initiative to develop within the agency the capability to apply advanced collection system modeling technology, referred to as the System Wide Model (SWM) project. MSDGC has successfully launched the SWM, and has developed and applied a revolutionary partnering approach to ensure successful integration of the model into its operations.

Computer modeling resources within a municipal agency comprise four individual elements: (1) staff; (2) data; (3) modeling software; and (4) supporting computer hardware/software. These resources are typically developed with the use of consulting support, and often it has been found most efficient for these resources to reside predominantly with the consultant. However, there is increasingly greater opportunity and incentive for municipal agencies to bring more of these resources in-house. The opportunity increases as computer technology advances and modeling resources become ever more accessible. The incentive to do so increases with increasing demands on municipal agencies to comply with ever tighter regulatory requirements and to meet ever higher customer service expectations, both of which can be supported with computer modeling.

Successful integration of computer modeling resources into a municipal agency requires that plans be developed and implemented to assure that each of the four individual elements is maintained and supported within the agency. Of the four, the staff and data elements require the greatest effort to maintain, with development and support of the required staff resources the most challenging.

MSDGC has recognized the importance of staffing to their modeling operations, and has partnered with its consultant to ensure that this element is successful. Key to this task has been recognizing that there is actually a variety of model users within the agency ranging from those who only access data and results to those who serve as model caretakers- and tailoring user training to each type of user. By partnering with the consultant to develop a project office that co-houses staff from both the consultant and MSDGC, and by applying creative approaches to model training and roll-out, successful integration of advanced sewer system modeling technology into MSDGC is being realized.
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Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: 2001-01-01

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