Some of our OCWA signature programs have also moved online temporarily, namely the OneWater® Education Program for schools (featured in this issue of Waterline) and our Water Talks series for clients. 

Despite the pandemic, we were able to roll out the mobile application for our work management system, Maximo. As you will read in the article below, this is a significant development and part of our overall OCWA Business Transformation Program. We will be highlighting other operational technologies in Waterline throughout 2021.

Although many municipal major maintenance and capital projects were delayed in the early months of the pandemic, work resumed in the summer and OCWA staff dedicated themselves to getting projects back on track. We were pleased to hear about the federal government’s recent infrastructure funding announcements and are looking forward to working with our municipal partners next year on water and wastewater projects that will benefit their communities.

Before I close, I would like to update you on OCWA’s involvement in important COVID-19 research currently underway. We are supporting the Ministry of the Environment, Conservation & Parks with the development and implementation of a provincial wastewater surveillance program aimed at detecting and monitoring the virus in wastewater. Sampling results provide valuable data about COVID-19 levels in the community and can act as an early detection indicator for possible outbreaks, providing public health with an additional decision-making tool. We also continue to be a core supporter of the COVID-19 Wastewater Coalition’s Ontario Hub, a wastewater surveillance initiative spearheaded by the Canadian Water Network. These partnerships will continue into 2021 and for as long as required.

As I leave you to enjoy this issue of Waterline, I would once again like to thank the team at OCWA for their hard work over this challenging year and our clients for continuing to place their trust in OCWA. Happy holidays everyone, and all the best for the new year. See you in 2021.
~ Nevin McKeown, President & CEO
Maximo Goes Mobile
Work management system app improves data collection in the field
In recent years, OCWA has made significant investments to enhance our information technology systems and refine our business processes, with a goal to improve performance and client service. This article is the first in a Waterline series on OCWA’s Business Transformation Program. In this issue, we spotlight our work management system (Maximo) mobile application.
 
OCWA was an early adopter of computerized maintenance management systems for water and wastewater. Today, our Maximo-based work management system supports our asset maintenance and protection practices and helps us manage an inventory of over 60,000 assets on behalf of our clients.

Now updated, Maximo offers both web-based and hand-held options. The mobile application (“app”) delivers significant benefits to both OCWA operators and our clients.

Rolled out over the past year, the Maximo app allows for the operation and maintenance of water and wastewater systems regardless of where an operator is physically located. Through mobile devices, operators can pull data such as work orders from Maximo “in-the-field” – rather than just in the control room – improving their ability to make fast, informed decisions.

More accurate and consistent data

“OCWA staff can do everything on their handheld device now. The app is fully integrated into the Maximo system, so operators can be confident that all the data they’re gathering in the field will be recorded,” says Sav Chawla, Vice President, Information & Information Technology. “The result is better organized and more accurate and consistent data, resulting in a significant time reduction to OCWA’s Enterprise Asset data management processes. And as you might expect, staff job satisfaction has also increased, because the tool makes their work easier.”

The Maximo app also works in offline mode, allowing the 300 operators who use the tool to collect data anywhere at any time. All data uploaded while offline is synced between the app and Maximo once a connection becomes available. This is an advantage to staff working in spots that have unreliable network connectivity, such as remote or rural areas and concrete tunnels.

The benefits to OCWA’s operations staff translate into benefits for clients, who use the data collected through Maximo and the Maximo app to make decisions about their water and wastewater assets and the performance of their facilities.

Additional time for O&M activities

“In areas where operations have fully utilized this mobile tool, the additional time made available by the app can be directed to operational and maintenance activities,” says Terry Bender, Vice President, Operations. “Before, this time would have been consumed by administrative tasks related to completing and transcribing data, and closing traditional paper-based work orders.

“From a client perspective, this translates into more realized and effective ‘wrench time’ – in which staff resources can be better utilized to maintain and extend the usable life of our clients’ assets.”

Watch for more articles on OCWA’s new operational technologies in upcoming issues of Waterline.
OCWA Staff Announcements
Helen Bao VP Finance OCWA
OCWA is pleased to welcome Helen Bao as the Agency's new Vice President, Finance.
 
Helen has held senior management roles at the Ontario Public Service and has over a decade of experience in corporate finance, I&IT financial and business management services and strategic planning. During her time with the Ministry of Education, Helen fostered strong partnerships with stakeholders and led her team to successfully manage the Ministry’s budget.

As VP Finance, Helen oversees all financial functions for OCWA and provides strategic advice to the executive management team and the Board of Directors. She is committed to building strategic partnership with stakeholders, enhancing the organization’s financial health and supporting sustainable growth of the Agency to meet its business objectives and public mandate. Helen provides leadership on strategic planning and transformational initiatives as OCWA explores new business model and development opportunities. She also manages the Agency's investment and loan portfolio. 

Helen is a Chartered Financial Analyst (CFA) charterholder, and has a CPA, CMA designation. She also holds an MBA degree from the Ivey Business School at Western University.
Is Your Asset Management Plan on Track?
Next deadline under O. Reg. 588/17 coming Summer 2021
All Ontario municipalities are currently working toward having a comprehensive asset management plan (AMP) in place by July 1, 2024.
 
The deadline for the next phase of O.Reg. 588/17 is July 1, 2021, when your municipality must have an approved AMP for core assets.
 
"We’ve been led to believe that gathering and analyzing the data required to make an AMP is an expensive and challenging process," says OCWA’s Nick Larson, Senior Project Manager, Project Planning & Delivery. "But we’ve been managing assets for decades - 2024 compliant AMPs can be made with the information we have right now. OCWA can help.”

Please reach out to Nick Larson or your local OCWA representative about how we can assist you in the AMP process.
New Save on Energy Programs Coming January
The Independent Electricity System Operator (IESO) is launching new Save on Energy programs the week of January 4, 2021. The new programs will include opportunities for OCWA's commercial, industrial, institutional and First Nations clients in these areas: retrofits and energy upgrades.
 
The 2021-2024 Conservation and Demand Management Framework focuses on cost-effectively meeting the needs of Ontario’s electricity system by continuing to provide opportunities for those who need them most, including commercial, industrial, institutional, on-reserve First Nations and income-eligible electricity consumers. The Retrofit custom track will be removed under the new program offer in January 2021, to help reduce administrative burden for participants. New measures will be available under three streams: lighting, HVAC and manufacturing and other equipment.
 
The Process and Systems Upgrade (PSU) program will be discontinued as of December 31, 2020. It will be replaced by a new offering in 2022 that will focus on supporting participants to get larger, more complex projects off the ground. 

The programs will provide incentives on demand (kW) savings going forward.

“OCWA has assisted more than 150 municipalities to secure more than $1.5 million in energy incentives for energy efficiency projects implemented in water/wastewater facilities,” says Indra Maharjan, head of the Agency’s Innovation, Technology and Alternate Delivery group. “As part of our commitment to innovation, efficiency and optimization, we will continue to work with local OCWA operations teams to provide these services to our clients”.

Contact Indra Maharjan or your local OCWA representative to discuss how you can achieve energy savings for your water and wastewater operations.
OCWA Recognized for Co-digestion Net Zero Project
Indra Maharjan, head of OCWA's Innovation, Technology and Alternate Delivery group, was recently awarded an Ontario Public Service Amethyst Award for service excellence and outstanding achievement.

Indra, along with staff from the Ministry of the Environment, Conservation and Parks, won the award for work related to the City of Stratford Co-digestion Net Zero Project. Together they created an innovative new type of environmental permission that will set the stage for future co-digestion projects. It uses a single environmental compliance approval that covers wastewater, waste and air and noise. It also offers environmental and community benefits. Congratulations to Indra on this well-deserved honour.

OCWA is proud to work with municipal clients such as Stratford, along with industry and government partners, to provide innovative solutions in the water/wastewater sector.
OneWater Education Program Shifts to Online
With OCWA operators restricted from visiting classrooms during the pandemic, we are having to look at creative ways to deliver our OneWater® Education Program.
 
So, when a teacher requested a live online presentation for her students at Allan A Martin Senior Public School in Mississauga, we were grateful to Clarkson WWTF Operator Rasheed Adewale for leaping at the opportunity.

Following a test run with the teacher, Rasheed went live in front of several Grade 8 classes on November 27 to talk about Peel Region's water and wastewater systems (pictured above). Afterward, the teacher praised him for presenting a "meaningful and relevant lesson," saying it has been a challenge to engage students in the online learning environment
 
We appreciate Rasheed's hard work and hope to get him and the rest of the OneWater operators back into the classroom sometime next year.
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and cost-effective clean water services to the people of Ontario.

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