One Central Data System. Simpler Permit Compliance.

Cloud-based and centralized data management helps water and wastewater utilities streamline operations and ensure consistent permit compliance

One Central Data System. Simpler Permit Compliance.

Interested in Instrumentation?

Get Instrumentation articles, news and videos right in your inbox! Sign up now.

Instrumentation + Get Alerts

Nearly 90% of water and wastewater utilities still collect their operations data on paper and then store it across multiple, static files.

That’s according to Aquatic Informatics, a company that offers regulatory compliance and operational data management solutions for the water sector. Errors that creep into bench sheets, paper records and spreadsheets add to staff workload and increase the risk of permit violations and fines.

A data management system that improves visibility across facilities can help users make sure they are operating within permit requirements. It can also streamline operations with centralized data at every step from field data collection to auditable compliance reports.

AQI offers Rio cloud-based software, designed to centralize daily workflows for utilities of all sizes. Centralized management breaks down data silos by integrating lab, process, field and other data sources to improve visibility and decision-making across the organization.

Users can track critical metrics, visualize trends and use customizable alerts to detect and address problems. Kevin Koshko, product manager for water treatment software solutions, talked about the Rio offering in an interview with Treatment Plant Operator.

TPO: What was the motivation for bringing the Rio solution to the market?

Koshko: It was important for us to offer a cloud-based solution for utilities that didn’t have sophisticated IT infrastructure and in-house technical resources. We wanted to provide a user-friendly, intuitive, approachable experience that anyone in the utility can use and gain value from, regardless of their experience with data management. Rio interfaces with multiple systems and enables users to do things such as visualize data through dashboards, simplify reporting, observe trends in the data and update operations to maximize compliance, optimize energy and chemical spend, and more.

TPO: Is your target customer base mostly smaller utilities? 

Koshko: Smaller utilities benefit because they don’t have to install any software and will not require internal IT resources to use the product. But as for the power of the software and the value it provides, we have extremely large utilities using it, as well. The barrier to entry gets removed when the software is user-friendly, easy to access and cloud-based.

TPO: What kinds of challenges or problems does this solution help users avoid?

Koshko: Most utilities we encounter are trying to enter data into multiple spreadsheets in multiple silos, pulling data from multiple systems without having any sort of centralized database for it. Rio automatically imports information from SCADA, field data collection and lab data. When you do that you eliminate errors from manual data entry. As a compliance solution, Rio helps users avoid any sort of violations while saving time, money and resources.

TPO: How exactly does the software support consistent compliance? 

Koshko: It centralizes data in a secure database and provides full visibility into it. When you have that database and the visibility tools — the dashboards, trending and data analysis views — that improves decision-making and ultimately deepens understanding of the process, so that if they go out of compliance, they can get back in very quickly. Customizable alerts are another critical feature of the system. When limits are reached or exceeded, alerts can be automatically texted or emailed to the appropriate operator. Proactive notification is essential to avoiding violations.

TPO: How would you describe the components of this application?

Koshko: There are two basic parts. The Rio web-based application ties in data from SCADA, laboratory information management systems and field collection, all in one place. That’s where users can view the data, reports and dashboards. The other component is the Rio Mobile app, which supports easy-to-use field data collection. Within treatment plants, there are operators doing daily rounds, collecting information from various locations throughout the facility. That data syncs with the Rio platform in real time.

TPO: In brief, how does the software work? How do users interact with it? 

Koshko: The web-based application is used on desktop PCs, laptops, or tablets, and Rio Mobile can be used on any smartphone or tablet. Within the desktop view, users can access the dashboards and all the centralized data, including trends. It provides a complete picture of the facility. On the mobile app they can see a list of tasks they need to focus on during the day. As they enter data from observations in the field into the mobile app, that syncs back to the desktop view.

TPO: How is Rio different from other data management offerings on the market?

Koshko: Rio is the only cloud-based solution that automates and simplifies compliance and operations in one place, thus making our customer’s lives easier. Plus, the user friendliness and the intuitive user experience makes it easily approachable for anyone in the organization. Whether they enjoy working with complex data, or they have limited technology experience, there’s a solution within the Rio platform. Lastly, is the ability for utilities to quickly roll out and derive value from the software in weeks, not years.

TPO: How does Rio interact with laboratory information management systems?

Koshko: Rio has a sample manager module that supports grab sample collection and field sample entry, along with the ability to turn over those samples to an in-house or contract lab. Our software takes the final data from the lab directly into Rio for reporting with a digital chain of custody.

TPO: How easy is it for operators to learn how to use this software effectively?

Koshko: We purpose-built Rio mobile for ease of use and to have a very short learning curve. That has been validated, as essentially all Rio users have gotten up and running quickly and are excited about its ease of use. 

TPO: What kind of user support is available to customers?

Koshko: We have an outstanding support team that can provide training to the end users as part of implementation. We also have an online interactive learning management system. New users have access to tools for learning the software without requiring a lot of time and resources.


Comments on this site are submitted by users and are not endorsed by nor do they reflect the views or opinions of COLE Publishing, Inc. Comments are moderated before being posted.