Knowledge Management System

Development of Knowledge Management Systems

Operations and maintenance manuals play an important role in the commissioning and successful operation of water and wastewater treatment plants. Traditionally these manuals have been produced as paper-based, hardcopies which are often rarely used, stored on the shelf and almost never modified or kept up to date. Their usefulness is often questionable. 

Over time and with developments in technology, treatment processes have become more complex and the increased complexity requires the development of more sophisticated control and monitoring tools to be employed. Often these tools have been added hap hazardously as required and do not have an integrated or coordinated approach to addressing the operational requirements of the plant as a whole.

Our experience has found that an integrated approach to plant systems is the way of the future. Historically, there have been separate system documents which have tended to operate independently of one another. Typically for each plant there may be an operations and maintenance manual, a separate safety manual, an environmental management system, and possibly a few more. Our preferred approach is to integrate all these documents into the one system resulting in a ‘one stop shop’ where all aspects of plant operation are explained and accessible in a timely manner.

Hunter H2O convinced Hunter Water Corporation (HWC) of the need to develop an integrated and quality based approach to each of HWC’s water treatment plants. The initial approach came to be known as an “Integrated Systems Manual” (ISM), and it included:

  • Technical and design data
  • Standard operating procedures
  • Schematics
  • Plant drawings
  • Operation and control manuals and other general information

 

The original ISM was a paper based system, and we soon recognised the benefits of centralising the information in a web based system for ease of control and access to information. This led to a prototype web based system known as the Integrated Services Directory (ISD). HWC immediately recognised the value of such a system and the HWC Information Services Department developed server based software in house. This system was then rolled out for all of the 23 HWC water and wastewater treatment facilities.

After 8 years of developing and using the ISD, a number of improvement ideas were suggested by operations personnel driving the system, many of which were beyond the development capabilities of the existing operating platform. During this period Hunter H2O also saw a growing number of clients that could benefit from a similar system.

Hunter H2O decided to develop a new system called the Knowledge Management System (KMS) which utilised the same underlying principles of the ISD but incorporated the improvements and latest internet technologies. The result was a fast and dynamic KMS which possess the following attributes:

  • Fully internet based, that is securely accessible wherever there is internet access. This includes PDA’s and some mobile phones and wireless 3G network devices. This means the KMS can be taken out into the field to provide timely access to information.
  • The database size base does not impact on speed or performance.
  • The system is hosted and maintained by a professional hosting company, providing data security and guaranteed response and up time.
  • Data integrity, the data centre is backed up daily and is stored in multiple locations, if for some reason data is lost or deleted it can be restored.
  • Using a hosted data centre provides virtually unlimited storage and guaranteed minimum internet bandwidth that can be staged with the KMS development.
  • The KMS has been designed and tailored for water and wastewater industry, but can be used for related information such as tradewaste, environmental, planning, sewage reticulation and pump stations.
  • The KMS can be upgraded and enhanced at any time, as new tools are required or as developments in internet technology takes place for example, internet based spreadsheets.
  • Each client is given its own unique web address and each person is given a username and password after the appropriate levels of training.
  • There is no separate administration interface, each user has a designated level of access, General User, Editors and Publishers:
    • General User – read only, corrective requests.
    • Editor – can make change submissions, which require approval from publishers.
    • Publisher – changes are made live and they approve corrective requests and submissions.
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