Energy Management

From RCA to RCM

In this Plant Profile, the Des Moines Metropolitan Wastewater Reclamation Authority relies on best practices for asset management.

By J. Stanton McGroarty, CMfgE, CMRP, senior technical editor

The Des Moines Metropolitan Wastewater Reclamation Authority (WRA) is made up of 17 metro area municipalities, counties and sewer districts. It serves a population of 500,000 and in 2011 treated an average of 67.6 million gal/day of sewage for an annual total of 24.7 billion gal. In the process, it created an average of 1.4 million cubic ft/day of digester biogas, an annual total of 511 million cubic ft. It applied 67,297 wet tons of biosolids on 1,721 acres, and consumed an average of 79,900 kWh of electricity per day for a total of 29,200 MW hours annually.

The WRA was the first organization in North America to achieve PAS-55 certification

The total size of the WRA site is 4.6 million sq ft, including a conveyance system and a treatment facility. The conveyance system connects each of the participating communities in Dallas, Polk and Warren Counties to the wastewater treatment facility. The system includes 125 miles of sanitary sewer with pipe sizes up to 144 inches in diameter, equalization basins, and lift stations.

The plant, which was originally built in the 1930s, had a major expansion in the mid 1950s and then was totally rebuilt, ending in 1988. WRA employs about 100 workers and spends an annual budget of about $40 million.

The WRA accounts for 60% of the City of Des Moines monthly energy consumption and is the biggest energy user in the state of Iowa, says Bill Miller CMM, MMC, TGCI, WRA maintenance and systems administrator ASE, BMS, EAM, GIS. “To help manage this cost base, WRA implemented the Infor10 Asset Sustainability software for condition-based monitoring in a maintenance best practice environment,” he says. Through the implementation of the Infor10 EAM Asset Sustainability program, the WRA identified more than $200,000 monthly energy savings, simply by switching over to more efficient performing assets among a fleet of peers.

The total size of the WRA site is 4.6 million sq ft, including a conveyance system and a treatment facility.The WRA improved process efficiency by configuring the system to follow maintenance best practices, including reliability-centered maintenance and root cause analysis. “Productivity has nearly quadrupled, and we can continuously monitor processes to further streamline them,” says Miller. “The system gained quick user adoption through ease of use, improved visibility, and helpful tools for managers, such as dashboards showing key performance indicators and advanced analytic reports on energy consumption and CO2 emissions.”

The WRA received the Governor of Iowa’s Environmental Excellence Award in 2011 for energy efficiency improvements and several additional awards in the fields of energy, sustainability and innovation. “The WRA was the first organization in North America to achieve PAS-55 certification,” says Miller.

“We were able to show a return on investment (ROI) of less than two years, for the investment made in the Infor10 EAM Asset Sustainability program due to two factors. The annual savings identified by the condition-based monitoring software was four times greater than originally estimated. And the Iowa Economic Development Authority awarded matching grant funds through the State Energy Program and the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act Programs.”

J. Stanton McGroarty, CMfgE, CMRP, is senior technical editor of Plant Services. He was formerly consulting manager for Strategic Asset Management International (SAMI), where he focused on project management and training for manufacturing, maintenance and reliability engineering. He has more than 30 years of manufacturing and maintenance experience in the automotive, defense, consumer products and process manufacturing industries. He holds a bachelor of science degree in mechanical engineering from the Detroit Institute of Technology and a master’s degree in management from Central Michigan University. He can be reached at or check out his .

Effectively managing the assets of a billion-dollar facility requires first and foremost a carefully considered best-practice approach. The WRA worked several months designing a customized best-practices model using all three elements of a proven best-practices approach: materials, purchasing, and work management. “By focusing on these elements, we developed structured, disciplined processes to manage the work flow with the goal of increased maintenance activity or wrench time, improved asset performance, and reduced maintenance costs,” says Miller. Once the model design was complete, the WRA implemented its Infor10 EAM Asset Sustainability system and customized the new system around the best-practices model.

“Putting these configured best practices into action resulted in optimized technician time, ease in reserving materials, and generating pick tickets, as well as the ability to produce the storeroom kit and stage materials before jobs were scheduled to begin,” explains Miller. “By defining and refining our Infor10 EAM Asset Sustainability system around Best Practices, we were able to identify a 20% savings in monthly energy consumption and increase maintenance-productivity wrench time by 60%. Our goal is to develop a safety culture that is ingrained into every aspect of our operations. Safety is one of our core values, as is honesty, integrity, professionalism, and dedication. We factor this goal into all of our projects and objectives at the WRA.”

Infor10 EAM Asset Sustainability provides the capability to monitor, in real time, the key operating parameters and health statistics for the plant's major assets, explains Miller. “Additionally, it provides the ability to view and manage the total operating condition, including energy usage and maintenance costs, allowing the organization to optimize the use of these high cost assets and minimize their impact on the plant, the environment, and the citizens of the service area,” he says.