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USING FIELD AUTOMATION TO IMPROVE COMBINED WASTEWATER COLLECTION AND WATER DISTRIBUTION SERVICES AT CITY OF PHOENIX WATER SERVICES DEPARTMENT

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The City of Phoenix is the fifth largest city and one of the fastest growing regions in the United States. To address increasing demand for wastewater collection and water distribution services, the Water Service Department (WSD) merged separate wastewater collection and water distribution divisions and implemented an enterprise field automation system for the city's 450 field crews. The project, entitled the mobile application program solution or MAPS, involved an assessment of field work practices, review of savings and return-on-investment (ROI) opportunities, and phased delivery of a field GIS mapping and work management system to the merged wastewater collection and water distribution divisions. Challenges related to field crew acceptance of technology, hardware reliability, wireless communication, security, and information sharing with other divisions, and meeting management and field crew expectations were addressed throughout the project. The delivery process involved extensive communications with all levels of city staff and field personnel and has delivered a successful solution for improved field service and maintenance, along with an essential management tool for day-to-day information on field activities and performance measurement throughout the combined divisions.

This paper will describe organizational business drivers for the merger of the wastewater collection and water distribution divisions, along with the vision, challenges, and highlights of the MAPS field computing system implementation for WSD field crews. The project can serve as a successful model for other organizations and illustrate how implementing field computing can deliver immediate, measurable benefits to a wastewater collection and water distribution services organization.
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Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: 2004-01-01

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