9 Water Disasters Your Company Can Avoid

Operate a large facility for long enough, and you’ll inevitably run into water-related problems, like unplanned downtime or equipment failures that drive up operating costs.

Whether you have water-intensive operations or have critical equipment that requires water to operate, there is no easy way to manually monitor every failure point. The lack of reliable, real-time information increases the risks associated with equipment failures and manual operations.

In an average enterprise environment, Apana’s water management platform identifies a new water waste event every 16 hours. 77% of the locations that we monitor have avoided a costly water-related failure in the past 12 months.

Here are just a few examples of water related failures that Apana has helped our clients identify and resolve early before they resulted in costly repairs and/or unplanned downtime events.

1. Equipment failures

Sometimes equipment simply wears out faster than expected. Or it isn’t installed, maintained, or used properly. Even when you purchase high-end water-efficient equipment, it can fail—and you may not always know when it does.

When one of our client’s water softeners started failing, it began dumping 14,000 gallons per day into a hidden drain. Another client had a soda machine that was dumping 2,800 gallons per day into a drain.

If your equipment that uses water is in a low-traffic area, or if it conceals your sewer drain, your employees may not notice when there’s a problem. We identify issues and quickly provide our clients with action-oriented guidance to resolve these issues before they become expensive.

2. Irrigation malfunctions

Smart irrigation systems help facilities optimize water use and eliminate waste. Waste in irrigation systems can take several forms. Waste can occur from overwatering, leaks which can result in underground damage to parking lots (i.e. sinkholes) or building foundations and broken or damaged watering heads.

Smart irrigation systems can catch some of these waste events, but not all…smart irrigation systems rely on sensors. And sensors fail. Apana has helped countless customers identify and resolve irrigation system waste events that were being monitored by Smart irrigation systems saving millions of gallons of water annually.

We helped a client discover that their irrigation system was wasting 65,000 gallons per day due to a malfunction. (We also helped them avoid sinkhole and construction costs.)

3. Contractor errors

Human errors can’t be stopped — and manual process failures are common — but they can be difficult to detect. A contractor opened the valves to a roof-top condensing equipment for winterization. In the spring, when the equipment was recommissioned, the open valve was not noticed. Water started flowing through the open valves, wasting in excess of 90,000 gal/day.

Apana identified the issue immediately. The maintenance team was able to resolve the issue within 2 hours. This type of waste event would not be seen on Programmable Logic Controller (PLC) screens and/or alarms for this unit. Due to the fact that this equipment is on the roof of the building, the water would have continued to run unnoticed for up to a month (i.e. until the next scheduled maintenance visit for the equipment). With Apana, you have peace of mind that your equipment and processes are being monitored 24/7 and costly mistakes like this are identified and resolved quickly.

4. Incomplete fixture installations

Just because a water fixture is not in use, does not mean there is not water connected to it. If you replace or remove a fixture and leave the old water valve in place, it is only a matter of time before the valve will begin to fail and start to waste hundreds to thousands of gallons every day.

Apana helped a client identify a continuous waste event associated with a decommissioned trap priming system that was wasting more than 8,000 gal/day. This decommissioned system was discharging water directly into a drain and would have continued to run unnoticed without an intelligent water management system in place.

5. Infrastructure issues

When parts of your water infrastructure are underground, you can’t always see that a pipe is leaking. You also can’t see inside your pipes to identify scaling, contamination, corrosion, freezing, and other problems that can cause massive water waste. Apana identifies issues early, before they become costly, and allows you to pinpoint the source and resolve the issue or issues, before they become costly.

6. Low-flow events

Specific equipment requires continuous water flow to operate efficiently, for cooling or some other purpose. When this continuous water flow is disrupted, significant equipment damage can result. Sensors can fail and physical valves can be left in the incorrect position after routine maintenance resulting in equipment alarm screens displaying false-positives (e.g., a controller can display no alarms when a potential asset destruction event is taking place). You can rely on Apana to continuously monitor your critical assets and protect them by alerting you to potential failures early, giving you the opportunity to resolve issues before they become expensive.

7. Abnormal water use

Every facility and/or manufacturing process has a distinct ‘pattern’ of water use throughout the day, the week and the month. By providing high resolution water use data and applying intelligent analytics, Apana will notify you when there are potential issues with your process and/or equipment. Even if you’re actively monitoring your water meters, you may not always notice when something is amiss. If someone leaves a sink running or if a hose is left on outside of the building, or if you are simply using 20% more water this week as compared with last week, Apana will let you know and will provide action oriented guidance for what to do about it.

8. Excessive daily consumption

Even if you’re periodically monitoring your water meters, you’re going to miss a lot of insights that can only happen with real-time data. Our analytics software gives you the visibility you need to make better water management decisions. When our client’s facility operations experts got access to their real-time water data, they were able to reduce their daily pool water use by 37 percent.

9. Upstream contamination

You are paying for sewer discharge. In some cases you may be asked to pay Biochemical Oxygen Demand (BOD) surcharges based on the make-up of your sewer discharge. Reducing overall water use will result in lower sewer costs.

Somewhat less obvious, however, is the fact that reducing contact between water and biological material during the clean up of areas (e.g. a meat department in a grocery store) can also significantly lower your sewer cost by reducing potential BOD surcharges.

Apana has helped clients reduce BOD surcharges significantly by sharing the best practices that we have developed during the past 20+ years. One of our clients was facing significant pressure from their local utility and the waste water processing plant and were faced with large fines if they did not adjust their practices. With Apana, the client was able to focus on the critical areas of their facility to institute best practices.

Using real-time data, they could monitor and measure progress and most importantly they could interact with their operations team to coach and mentor adherence to the best practices that they were trying to implement. Ultimately, this client reduced their BOD surcharges more than 50% and were able to alleviate the threat of additional fines by the utility.

Reduce risks and avoid costs

Don’t wait for your next costly water disaster to make water management a priority. Apana’s water efficiency as a service monitors your water infrastructure in real-time and scans your property for thousands of potential failure points. If we notice something unusual in your water use, we’ll automatically notify you and provide action oriented step-by-step guidance to help you identify and resolve the problem early, before it becomes expensive.

Here’s how it works.

Talk to an expert to see how we can help you reduce risks and avoid costs.