Surviving the O&M Hurricane: Planning + Organization = Success


GBMSD has been treating wastewater for 75 years. During that time an overwhelming volume of information has been created and is used to operate and optimize plant performance. During a recent project to rehabilitate the incineration facilities GBMSD seized the opportunity to tame the torrent using technology - a dynamic information retrieval system created by Operators for Operators, that is available 24/7 and required no special computing skills for the O&M staff to maintain.

Good planning, proper organization, and a flexible Operations and Maintenance (O&M) tool are important keys to surviving the hurricane of voluminous plant O&M information. A well designed treatment plant is structurally sound and easy to operate – the same holds true for its O&M Manual. Structural integrity of an O&M Manual is a fundamental property of the O&M Manual design; this integrity is reflected in its visible characteristics, such as ease of use, functionality, and reliability. The Green Bay Metropolitan Sewerage District (GBMSD) used this approach in creating their on-line Operations and Maintenance Manual. Their objectives included the following:

  • Immediate access
  • Accurate information
  • Working smarter, not harder
  • No duplication of effort
  • Knowledge sharing\retention
  • Easy to maintain
  • Easy to find information

Surviving the fallout of organizing an informational hurricane is one thing; surviving the aftermath so that the result is “useful and used” is quite another. Planning access to plant information is necessary to overcome the deluge of material – reports, drawings, video, photographs, operation and maintenance manuals, equipment service manuals, etc. Successful daily operation, and operations during emergency situations, require personnel to quickly locate documents and information 24/7 which is accurate and up-to-date. When created correctly, the final outcome is an O&M Manual that is “useful and used.”

A core group of dedicated individuals, hereafter referred to as the O&M Workshop, were instrumental in the planning stage. Treatment plant managers, treatment and maintenance personnel, administrative personnel, engineering, and plant IT representatives participated in a set of workshops that identified the level of effort and set standards for hardware, software, graphics, drawings, helper applications, and source text. Before jumping into the standards discussion and definitions, the O&M Workshop had to make some key decisions:

Who: Determine the audience(s) for the O&M Manual.

Why: Define the underlying motivators for creating an on-line O&M Manual.

What: Define the expectations for creating an on-line dynamic O&M Manual.

How; Reaching those expectations through a prototype.

Where: Placement of the O&M Manual so that it is available 24/7.

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