The City of Columbus Department of Utilities, OH (CDoU) consists of the Department of Power and Water (DoPW) and the Department of Sewerage Drainage (DoSD). The DoPW has three water plants with its own central laboratory; the DoSD has two wastewater plants and its own central laboratory. While the DoPW stored its laboratory data in an in-house developed Access database; the DoSD laboratory’s data was stored in a commercial Laboratory Information Management System (LIMS). Operations sampling data was maintained in various formats ranging from spreadsheets, hardcopy notebooks, and databases. As a result, numerous labor hours were dedicated to manually prepare state regulatory compliance reports and data was cumbersome to trend and use for predictive analysis. Magnifying the situation was news received by the DoSD that its LIMS would no longer be supported by its vendor.
Initially, the DoSD laboratory sought to merely replace its existing LIMS in response to the expired support. However, the laboratory management from the DoSD and DoPW recognized that this was an ideal time to obtain a collective LIMS and to establish consistency in database management and support. The project objectives evolved from establishing a central LIMS for both laboratories to improved data usage and operational efficiency for the treatment plants and greater access of environmental data by other entities within the entire CDoU. A challenge that the CDoU faced was to implement a data management solution that satisfied the technical and informational objectives, as well as the stakeholders from the eight entities (laboratories, plants, and IT department).
For more information, please download the article