Editorial Feature

Better Data Management Makes Water Utility Compliance Easier

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Gathering and managing water compliance data can be a tedious and complex task, but it doesn’t have to be. Klir has developed a data management platform that makes compliance cost-effective and straightforward, so water utilities can maintain an uninterrupted flow of clean, safe water.

Clean, Affordable Water is a Vital Public Utility

When water utilities fail to provide their customers with a reliable water supply, it often comes down to one of two problems: they have failed to collect appropriate water quality data, or they have failed to understand their data fully and act appropriately.1

Even if water appears to be clean by appearance, water utilities understand that in reality, ‘clean water’ is defined by complex regulations that include quality indicators such as temperature, pH, metal content, bacteria content, chemical concentrations, etc. For water to be ‘compliant,’ each quality indicator must fall within the range defined by local regulations.1-3

Non-Compliance is Dangerous

Compliance regulations aim to provide safe water for everyone while protecting the environment from pollution. Water systems face a myriad of challenges that can affect water quality. Contamination, failures in water treatment, and stormwater overflows can all result in environmental and health risks that are reflected in quality indicators and constitute non-compliance.1,4-6

Non-compliance can become dangerous threats to public health and the environment. For example, the recent water crisis in Flint, Michigan (2014-2017) resulted in hazardous levels of lead in the drinking water of 100,000 residents.6,7

Non-Compliance is Costly

‘Non-compliance’ can be violating water quality parameters, but a company can also be deemed non-compliant for failing to monitor water quality with the required frequency, failing to analyze water quality using a certified laboratory, failing to retain and report sufficient data, or failing to notify customers of water quality problems.2,3,8

Water utilities must keep track of regulations and routinely measure water quality indicators. However, compliance monitoring seems to become more complicated every year, resulting in a mountain of data to store, analyze, and report to customers and the relevant authorities. As a result, compliance and violation management can become one enormous, expensive data-chasing task.2,3,8

When compliance issues arise, water utilities can face huge fines. Legal costs, loss of public trust, and loss of permits also represent significant risks for non-compliant water utility companies. Therefore, it makes sense for water utilities to find a way to make compliance as easy, automated, and reliable as possible.9

Predicting and Preventing Non-Compliance by Gathering System-Wide Compliance Data

Planning for compliance requires oversight and targeted investment. Many water utilities do not realize the power of analyzing compliance data in predicting, preventing, and correcting potential water quality problems before they become compliance issues.

Smart sensors and new technologies make collecting data about the contents of a water system easier than ever. Real-time data can be used to detect intentional and intrusive events that may affect water quality and require action. A variety of data modeling techniques and algorithms have been designed to utilize both real-time and traditional water quality data to predict compliance problems. However, in real-life managing and processing the vast amount of data collected by water-utilities to provide clear, useful information remains challenging.10-13

Although consumers may assume that their water comes through one seamless system, in fact, there is often little coordination between the various parts and processes in a water system, which can make integrated data management impossible. However, bringing water compliance data from the various areas of a water system together is essential for providing oversight, informing decisions, and managing compliance in the system as a whole.14

Managing and Exploiting Compliance Data is Made Easy with Klir

Klir is understanding of the challenges presented with water safety and know that compliance is no easy job – therefore, we have developed a data management platform built by water experts for water experts.

Drawing on years of environmental regulatory and compliance expertise worldwide, Klir has developed a base solution that is customized for the specifics of water utilities around the globe. The Klir platform has been specially designed to gather all water quality and environmental data in one integrated system that streamlines and automates compliance. The platform translates data into clear, actionable information and tasks, making protecting human health and the environment simple and efficient.15

Klir’s solution reduces time spent managing compliance data and processes, freeing up work hours and reducing operational costs. This way, water utilities have more time and funds available to invest in improving their systems.

At Klir, we work with companies to obtain and manage their permit data first – the first hurdle in providing safe, compliant water. Then, Klir builds on top of permit data to develop automated task creation, compliance checking, and proactive compliance management. Providing oversight, competence, and increased compliance, resulting in reduced corporate risk, speak to Klir for an improved relationship with regulators, safe water and a protected environment.

References and Further Reading

  1. ‘Guidelines for drinking-water quality, fourth edition’ — World Health Organization, 2011.
  2. ‘Clean Water Act (CWA) Compliance Monitoring’
  3. ‘Safe Drinking Water Act (SDWA) Compliance Monitoring’
  4. ‘Water Quality: An Introduction’ — Boyd C, Springer, 2014.
  5. ‘Drinking Water Quality: Problems and Solutions’ — Grey NF, Cambridge University Press, 2008.
  6. ‘National trends in drinking water quality violations’ — Allaire M, Wu H, Lall U, PNAS, 2018
  7. ‘Lead Contamination in Flint — An Abject Failure to Protect Public Health’ — Bellinger DC, The New England Journal of Medicine, 2016.
  8. ‘Protocol for Conducting Environmental Compliance Audits of Public Water Systems under the Safe Drinking Water Act’
  9. ‘Criminal Provisions of the Clean Water Act’ https://www.epa.gov
  10. ‘Data-Driven Water Quality Analysis and Prediction: A Survey’ —  Kang KG, Gao JZ, Xie G, 3rd IEEE International Conference Proceedings, 2017.
  11. ‘Urban Water Quality Prediction based on Multi-task Multi-view Learning’ — Liu Y, Zheng Y, Liang Y, Liu S, Rosenblum DS, 25th IJCAI conference proceedings, 2016.
  12. ‘Water Quality Modeling and Prediction’ in ‘Water Resource Systems Planning and Management’ — Loucks DP, van Beek E, Springer, 2017.
  13. ‘A Method for Assessing and Predicting Water Quality Status for Improved Decision-Making and Management’ — Gitau M, Purdue University, 2017.
  14. ‘Institutional Issues for Integrated 'One Water' Management’ — Mukheibir P, The International Water Association, 2015.
  15. ‘Klir: Making your data as clear as the water you provide’


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