The Lead Service Line Inventory solution has saved our team and Benton Harbor hundreds of valuable hours that can now be spent in other ways. Without using GIS and its accompanying apps and tools, our contractors would be manually filling out forms and sending them to us in bulk; our team would have to then parse through and manually input that data into a spreadsheet to compare with our list of active accounts and manually generate weekly reports of work done.
Lead Service Lines: A Solutions-Based Approach to Data Transparency for a Community in Action
Along the coast of Lake Michigan, the city of Benton Harbor's water distribution system is more than 100 years old, with many homes built before the 1960s. The water leaving the city's water plant doesn't have lead in it; however, many of the water service lines from the property line to the homes are made of lead or have lead components in them, as do some public-side water service lines. Until recently, the city faced steep resource challenges in completing a much-needed, large-scale lead service line replacement project.
User — Abonmarche and the City of Benton Harbor, Michigan
Challenge — Implement technology to support a fast-paced lead service line replacement project.
Solution — Esri's Lead Service Line Inventory solution, maps, and apps
Results — Information is shared in real time, updates on work completed are shown instantly, and GIS data can be used to autogenerate needed documentation.
With a commitment to new funding from the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the State of Michigan in place—and a commitment from Michigan Governor Gretchen Whitmer—Benton Harbor plans to replace all lead service lines within 18 months.
As the city engineering firm for Benton Harbor, Abonmarche was tasked with coordinating lead service line replacement efforts for a project that would be operating for many months at a breakneck pace.
Abonmarche used Esri's Lead Service Line Inventory solution as a base framework to configure and customize the project's specific needs and goals. This industry-specific solution helped to easily set up the necessary data layers, maps, and applications—enabling Benton Harbor to go above and beyond to communicate with the community.
"This solution came at the perfect time for us," said Garrick Garcia, Abonmarche geographic information system (GIS) technician. "We wanted something thorough and reliable yet easy to deploy in order to keep up with the pace of the project. Seeing inspections and construction results in real time is key for monitoring issues as well as sharing results. Recording and publishing work with GIS is a much more efficient process than we would have implemented otherwise."
Esri's Lead Service Line Inventory solution includes a number of built-in maps for use in ArcGIS Field Maps for mobile data collection; Abonmarche staff configured and extended those maps to fit the project's requirements, then integrated them into the final workflow solution. Using the included Project Manager web app, they enhanced the ability to track which service lines have been replaced, which lines have yet to be replaced, and a host of other valuable information. Several custom web applications and dashboards were created, and some out-of-the-box solutions were extended so that additional project requirements could be easily managed. These applications and dashboards provide the ability to
- Organize and track all the required Right of Entry permission forms and all feedback received from the community about the project.
- Log mobile work into the GIS.
- Enter service line information into the GIS from the office environment.
- Quickly track work that was being done and categorize it to quantify the results for informative purposes.
- Share real-time data with the public in an easy-to-digest method.
The Lead Service Line Inventory solution, web applications, and dashboards have changed the face of a critical community health initiative. The solution gave Benton Harbor the ability to share accurate, up-to-date information with the public, establishing transparency from the project's onset and setting a foundation for building trust in the future.
The City of Benton Harbor's website provides real-time information that reflects current progress via an easy-to-understand dashboard. It includes a map with the location of each house, along with two charts showing the materials each service line is made of on the city side and on the customer side. The dashboard also shows the dates and addresses of the service lines that were replaced in the past 30 days, offering a valuable monthly snapshot view to the community.
Benton Harbor has eliminated paper updates, transposing information, and redundant data entry. Using the new system, information is shared in real time, updates on work completed are shown instantly, and GIS data can be used to autogenerate any needed documentation.
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