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Data-Driven Innovation Boosts Reliability of Drinking Water Treatment Installations in California

·3-min read

Treatment systems proving their resilience and value in removing chromium-6 from drinking water supplies

SAN JOSE, Calif., Sept. 29, 2020 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- Five years ago, the town of Dixon in California celebrated the installation of three novel treatment plants removing contaminants like chromium-6 (Cr-6) from the local water supply. A year later, the nearby community of Willows completed the installation of four similar systems. The facilities—purpose-designed for small communities—were led by California Water Service (Cal Water), the third largest water utility in the United States.

With $5M in grant funding from the California Department of Water Resources, and $175,000 from the Water Research Foundation, Cal Water invested in innovative treatment technology and support services to tackle a new Cr-6 mandate set by the State of California. The funds were dedicated to help small communities achieve access to safe, healthy drinking water at an affordable cost. Cal Water, which services 489,600 customer connections through 28 customer and operations centers throughout California, was the first in the nation to apply strong base ion exchange for this purpose.

Having selected the treatment technology, Cal Water experts then forged an “innovation ecosystem” to optimize the treatment process for maximum performance and cost efficiency over long-term operation. The ecosystem players include equipment manufacturers, local maintenance experts, and datumpin, a software-as-a-service (SAAS) company that provides a solution to monitor, analyze & optimize equipment performance in real time.

Five years on, the systems remain resilient assets for the Dixon and Willows communities, performing with minimal downtime and continuing to improve on the rigorous cost-of-ownership budgets established in 2015.

Reflecting on the five-year mark, Evan Markey, District Manager of Cal Water’s Willows, Marysville and Redwood Valley service areas, observed: “Tackling contaminants like Cr-6 called for a fresh approach – not just to find the best technology to remove the contaminant, but to do so at the lowest possible cost to deliver safe drinking water while keeping customers’ bills as low as possible. For Cal Water, the imperative is to maintain and improve water treatment performance as equipment ages. Comprehensive performance tracking is critical to keep our equipment in the best possible condition within strict budgets.”

Markey added: “We selected datumpin for this piece. The company specializes in customized data solutions that optimize the performance of complex equipment installations like water treatment plants. Their particular expertise in creating tailored software to track and trace performance of our complex equipment allows Cal Water to focus with confidence on providing safe and high-quality water for the communities we serve.”

Cal Water’s Dixon and Willows treatment installations are showing the value of the “innovation ecosystem” model. With 24/7 monitoring, potential problems can be spotted in real time and fixes implemented before they become serious and require a process interruption. In addition, continuous monitoring allows Cal Water to implement and validate treatment process optimizations, offering further savings to the community.

Phil Chandler, CEO of datumpin, credited Cal Water for applying a systems innovation mindset to satisfy stringent clean-water standards, noting: “While ion exchange is a well-proven technology, it requires consistent operations and maintenance to ensure optimum performance at the lowest possible cost. The installations at Willows and Dixon show how this can be done with a local and engaged ecosystem of service partners that are driven by data. We’re proud to be part of this innovation solution for smaller communities.”

For information on datumpin, please visit

Contact: Phil Chandler; datumpin; email: