As Johna Sturdivant assists with holding a manhole open, Daniel Grey uses a tablet to document the asset’s condition. Because the records are stored in the cloud, the Town’s public works department can access information about the system from anywhere.
Imagine being the conductor of a symphony without knowing exactly how many musicians comprise the orchestra, how experienced each individual is, or even how the various instrument sections are arranged.
If that sounds like a tall order, then you have an idea how challenging it would be to manage a community’s water and sewer infrastructure systems without knowing each element’s precise location, condition, and relationship to one another.
That’s what Clint Mack set out to get a solid grasp of when he became Town Manager of Robbins, North Carolina in 2021. He said that, for some neighborhoods, the only records available were hand-drawn in notebooks.
“My first career was in the military. We always had maps, overlays, data on top of data, imagery,” Mack explained. “When I got here, I said ‘Where are the maps?’ When our public works director showed me they had INFRAFORCE online, I thought ‘Bam, this is what I’ve been looking for.’”
INFRAFORCE is a user-friendly digital asset management platform that enabled the Town’s public works staff to capture the exact geocoordinates and attributes of its water and sewer systems in a cloud-based platform, accessible from anywhere.
“Our guys are comfortable with it,” Mack said. “Our utilities liaison prioritizes the work orders and distributes them to the technicians’ tablets in the field. And they don’t have to waste time coming back to town hall to track down out of date drawings.”
Being armed with accurate data is not only useful from an operations and maintenance standpoint. It also helps Mack assure developers they can project their costs accurately when they are considering making investments in construction.
“It’s very easy to show them where our boundaries are and the extent of utility capacity,” he said. “When you’re talking about a million dollars a mile, every foot counts.”
When the Town undertakes new projects, INFRAFORCE expedites and enhances the process.
“Now that we’ve got all the data, it’s a huge advantage for us to be able to look at everything without going through our Geomatics or IT staff,” said John Grey, Wooten’s Western Division Lead. “It’s also helpful in capital improvement planning. Knowing the expected service life and vulnerability of every asset helps local leaders prepare for what’s needed down the line.”
Just more than 1% of Moore County’s roughly 100,000 residents call the Town of Robbins home. But Mack says he sees sizeable value for the community in having a modern management tool for day-to-day use that’s guaranteed to be available in the event of an emergency.
“It’s good to know that, even though we’re a small town, we’re using 21st century technology,” Mack said. “We went from analog to completely digital.”
Robbins' public works team is using INFRAFORCE to fine-tune, orchestrate, and improvise to keep the Town's infrastructure humming along in harmony. For residents and small business owners alike, having reliable water and sewer service is music to everyone's ears.
Municipalities of any size can map their water and sewer systems digitally, making it easy to assign task orders for day-to-day operations and maintenance. The platform is built with Google Maps technology, making the interface instinctive and easy to use.