IHS Markit

Eastern Municipal Water District Proactively Expands EMIS to Maximize DMR Reporting Accuracy and Efficiency


Courtesy of IHS Markit

It wasn’t gold but a more valuable resource that the county of Riverside, California sought back in 1950. The droughts of the late 1940’s were hard on the community and farms – the situation was grave. Local leaders knew they needed access to the Colorado River Aqueduct and soon established the Eastern Municipal Water District (EMWD). This new agency negotiated an agreement with the Southern California Metropolitan Water District for the necessary access to their imported water supplies. Today, EMWD provides essential services to more than 758,000 people across 542-square-miles in Southern California. EMWD is responsible for providing drinking, recycle water and wastewater treatment to this community, this includes the production and beneficial reuse of approximately 42 million gallons per day of recycled water.

EMWD must ensure compliance with hundreds of Federal, State, and local regulations, and EMWD is dedicated to go beyond full compliance with all health, safety and environmental regulations. One of its top priorities is the generation of Discharge Monitoring Reports (DMR) that it must submit to California Regional Water Quality Control Boards used to document permit compliance. Like any Public Owned Treatment Works (POTW), EMWD must collect wastewater samples, conduct chemical and/or biological tests of the samples, and submit reports to regulatory agencies to maintain its waste discharge permits.

In 2011, EMWD proactively expanded its Environmental Management Information System (EMIS) in order to enhance the accuracy and efficiency of its DMR reporting. The agency had successfully used IHS Essential Suite software – part of the IHS Environmental Performance Solution – since 2006 to track hundreds of compliance tasks and deadlines throughout its operations. Now EMWD moved ahead with deployment of another Essential Suite module that is specially designed to facilitate process wastewater management.

“We are required to submit DMRs monthly for each of our major wastewater treatment plants,” said Bill Tibbitts, Senior Environmental Compliance Analyst. “We had an outdated Access database that was very difficult to use. Recalculations and reports would take more than an hour to process and if any of the data needed to be updated, we would have to wait until the next morning to get it run. Now with IHS, running DMRs takes less than a minute. These are our compliance reports so we need to be able to make sure they’re accurate and reproducible.”

Previously, wastewater compliance monitoring figures on reports had to be recalculated when a change was made. Creating a single report could take anywhere from 1 to 24 hours and reports sometimes included inaccuracies that required manual correction. EMWD reports that the DMRs from the updated EMIS have proven very useful for maintaining data quality and consistency, reducing the need for additional oversight and making it easier to discern data trends.

The Challenge

  • Track hundreds of compliance tasks and deadlines in one system
  • Prepare Discharge Monitoring Reports (DMRs) for CA Regional Water Quality Control Boards
  • Improve efficiency and accuracy of regulatory compliance reporting

The Solution

  • IHS Environmental Performance Solution with IHS Essential Suite

The Results

  • Increased leadership team’s level of confidence in environmental reporting accuracy
  • Reduced time spent generating DMRs from over 24 hours down to less than a minute
  • Increased accountability for environmental performance by tracking compliance tasks
  • Enabled transparency for auditing trail purposes for any changes made to environmental data
  • Improved data accuracy and timeliness through seamless integration with LIMS, SCADA systems
  • Assured retention of institutional knowledge and process consistency for compliance, continuity
  • Enabled team to proactively track pollutants in anticipation of future regulations

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