Incorporated in 1959, Wyoming is the 16th largest community in the state of Michigan. In 2019, the city began undertaking a massive inventory of its water distribution system and an upgrade of its metering and billing systems.
Inventorying water distribution systems, installing new meters and automating billing processes.
In 2019, the State of Michigan required water providers to complete a water distribution system material inventory. This inventory needed to include water service line material information and be complete by January 1, 2025. For the City of Wyoming, a community of approximately 75,000 residents with over 20,000 water service lines, this information needed to be better organized and aligned.
Also in 2019, the City of Wyoming began implementing an Advanced Meter Infrastructure (AMI) network, transitioning away from the manual water meter reading process. Additionally, approximately 50% of the water meters in the city will be replaced within the next 5 years.
Staff sought a solution that was able to collect, retain, report and map all of the information needed for the water service line material inventory and AMI endpoint and water meter installations, as well as link between different billing and work order systems.
We explored several options for gathering and maintaining data related to our project. In the end we chose Fulcrum for the ability to configure the data structure to meet our needs. We were impressed by the GPS functionality, the ability to quickly and easily attach photos, the speed of the system in the field and the reasonable cost of the software.
During the trial period, we were able to create a database on our own and found that we could easily change the type and form of data that we were gathering as we discovered a need.
The Fulcrum team was able to assist in identifying hurdles in the initial import of data. We then developed a database of more than 22,000 records from our billing system with one record per billed account and attached repeatable records with service lines, meters and AMI endpoints.
Field deployment was simple and easy to manage. The Android application was downloaded by field staff and little training was necessary as the system is fairly self-explanatory with data field descriptions and prompts. Once our data was cleaned up and organized in Fulcrum, our staff commented on the speed of the system as well as the accuracy of GPS location.
We are gathering critical account information, service line material data, meter data and AMI data with GPS locations and photographs. Our forms are responsive based on yes or no questions answered in the field, allowing for consistency and full completion at each site visit.
We anticipate a time savings as we replace work order entry with Fulcrum entry only and will develop imports that will insert data into our billing system without a need for manual entry. We are not yet realizing that benefit as we are relatively early in the process and still developing the automation of data transfer. The ease of access to GPS location and photographs of service lines, meters and endpoints has been very beneficial.
We appreciated the assistance from the Fulcrum team in analyzing our needs and determining how their system could assist with our project.