Technology Helps Utility Reduce Response Time to Fix Water Main Breaks

ARCOS® LLC has implemented its ARCOS CallOut® and Scheduling solution at Chattanooga, Tenn.-based Tennessee American Water to automate how the utility’s distribution department responds to customer emergencies. For Tennessee American Water, a subsidiary of American Water, responding to emergencies includes making calls to the utility’s employees to locate available crews to restore water main breaks and shut off meters during after-hours, unplanned events.

“The ARCOS system reduces by as much as 30 minutes the time it takes us to get a crew assembled and out into the field to shut off water and begin repairs,” said Casey Allen, operations superintendent for Tennessee American Water. “With a large main break, water can quickly damage a road, adjacent land, or even surrounding structures. One break can exceed several thousands of dollars of damage.”

According to Allen, the ARCOS solution speeds up repair work without jeopardizing anyone’s safety. The quicker the utility can assemble and respond with a crew the more risk and cost the utility mitigates. These costs include paving expenses for fixing water-damaged sections of road or parking areas, repairs to cars damaged by sinkholes and protecting traffic and pedestrians from falling into collapsed sections of road or sidewalk.

“With a union workforce, there are complexities to equitably managing the order in which we call out employees,”  added Allen. “The ARCOS system instantly manages complex union rules without mistakes.”

Using the reports and analytics in the ARCOS solution, Tennessee American Water has minimized grievances related to callouts. The automated system allows supervisors and managers to quickly assemble crews and then head to where the problem is.

Along with automating callouts, Tennessee American Water uses the ARCOS SIREN® Mass Calling solution to send customized emergency messages to employees. Once employees are notified, managers can automatically report on who received the message, who acknowledged getting an alert and which employees haven’t responded.

“Employees can use SIREN’s mobile app to easily update their status at any moment,” Allen said. “Once an alert goes out, the ARCOS software prompts employees to let us know that they got the message, and we can quickly track and report on the number and kind of responses.”

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