4 Ways the City of Fountain Valley Transformed its Cross Connection Compliance Program

There is always more to do for Kevin Deason and the Backflow Testing Division at the City of Fountain Valley.

He is responsible for over 1,800 backflow and cross-connection points across his city, ensuring that they are all compliant. It’s a constantly evolving challenge but it’s one that he takes great pride in. Keeping the city’s drinking water safe is at the core of what he does, and it’s a responsibility he is proud to have delegated to him.

However, with a constantly growing and evolving water ecosystem in their area, staying abreast of their compliance obligations has become increasingly difficult over the years. Having used data management and compliance solutions in his role over the years, he knew that solutions existed that improved the running of compliance programs. But what he wanted was one that catered to the specific needs, workflows, and processes of his unique compliance program.

Kevin identified SwiftComplys Backflow Prevention Software as being an answer to the problems he was having, many stemming from too much time being spent on administrative and data entry tasks. Having decided to partner with us, he has seen a lot of positive changes in the way his compliance program operates.

To learn a bit more about how Kevin’s team has benefited, we recently caught up with him for a quick chat

4 ways the City of Fountain Valley has transformed its cross-connection compliance program using SwiftComply

1. A Dashboard tailored to Fountain Valleys compliance needs

State to state, city to city, water utility to water utility.

While every backflow compliance program has the same overarching goals and objectives, the regulations that need to be complied with, and the processes employed to do so always have slight nuances.

That is why SwiftComply solution offers a certain level of customization and flexibility in how their day-to-day interface is structured:

“Something that I do like, is that I’m able to create my dashboard and have my widgets moved around where it shows me the stuff I look at most frequently.

Like, how many people have submitted tests? how many people um submitted failed tests? how many people um submitted passed tests?

I’ve tried it on both ends too. I created other non-admin user accounts and it’s so easy as well.”

Nothing is complicated it should be ready to use for just about everybody.”

2. A user-friendly dashboard for managing testers and inspectors

One of the key challenges for Compliance Managers is ensuring that everyone who has a part to play in compliance is managed accordingly with sufficient oversight. Of course, this can make life difficult with competing demands from service providers, individual testers, and admin staff.

Kevin explains how SwiftComply has reduced this burden with the assistance of a user-friendly dashboard that provides better oversight and control:

“Testers use their email address as a login; typically individual testers would have their own login details.

Then, there is also the option for Service Providers and larger testing companies to manage multiple testers underneath one umbrella. So, if there’s an administrative user at a plumbing company for example, they can manage multiple testers, various certifications, and test kits.

What hands control back to us though, is we’re able to customize the credentials and decide what testers are actually able to collect prior to allowing them to submit tests. From the administrative side, you can always approve or deny whether they have access, or whether they have access right to submit tests.

So we still have control of ‘the gate’ so to speak.

This control over little things that previously took up a lot of time is great.

If a tester wants to make a change, they send us an alert first so I see that this tester added a new backflow to this place. I can then approve it or deny it before it goes permanent on my system.

That used to be a series of phone calls and emails back and forth. It used to eat up time.

So, that’s a really cool feature of SwiftComply!”

3. Relieving the stress of audits and reporting

Working with water utilities and compliance managers, we see the amazing work that they do firsthand to keep public water safe. That same work ensures that the Compliance Managers we work with are all confident in their systems and processes, even when they know they can be improved.

However, even managers of the very best-run programs experience at least some trepidation around annual reporting and unexpected audits. This usually stems from the need to compile and collate volumes of data at short notice.

With a combination of cloud storage, data analysis, and automation at the core of SwiftComply backflow software, compliance Managers can rest easy in the knowledge that all of the information and data are available at the click of a button.

Kevin explains how it has consolidated his historical data and brought it to life:

“This year I was able to utilize all my information because it was transferred from XC2 (their previous software solution) during the initial implementation of SwiftComply. I had everything on here and it was definitely very helpful.

The last couple of years when we were doing reports it took a bit of time; trying to pick the numbers and put them together and then you got to do the math, and add it all in manually yourself.

It was a stress.

Now, it’s pretty easy. I just click the reporting tab, scroll down, click the annual report, and then pick what year I wanted.

I picked the year and it gave me all the information I needed. Done.

I still remember getting the email from the County detailing the information they needed and I was like;

‘How am I gonna find that?’

So I went to my SwiftComply Dashboard,  just started clicking around and I was like;

‘Wow. They thought of everything.’

It totally worked out in my favor!”

4. Enabling a proactive approach to compliance

While many look for solutions to inefficiencies that they identify in their processes, compliance management solutions often have a much greater knock-on effect.

In solving one problem, it provides greater capacity to improve other areas of their programs that may have been neglected due to strain on resources.

Kevin has made full use of the time saved to proactively implement new initiatives to bolster their program:

“It saves a lot of time.

Not only with just the manual energy (filing reports manually etc.) but just ensuring that all the testers are in compliance.

Where we’re at, they (Testers) have to be Orange County certified, and that lapses every two years. Then, they also have to have their gauge calibrated every year.

Keeping on top of all of that is tough.

But SwiftComply monitors that.

I can just review and approve things. I can look it over much faster. It literally saves me hours every week. I used to stack my papers out and I’d wait till the last day of the week to do it so that way I could get a run at it.

Now I’m able to do a lot more stuff.

For example, we’ve started a flushing program that I run. I’ve started to pick up on our cross-connection surveys making sure everybody’s up to par.

Even helping out because technically, I’m the water quality guy here in Fountain Valley!

I’m also known what’s known as a fourth operator when needed, so I’m able to help those guys out on a day-to-day basis.

I just have a lot more time on my plate so I’m not always in a rush!”


Compliance solutions for water utilities of all sizes

With around 1,800 cross-connection points to monitor, the scale of Fountain Valley operations is relatively small compared to larger cities across North America.

However, smaller programs are often more labor intensive because smaller teams manage more tasks. For Kevin Deason and his team at Fountain Valley, this means that they can find themselves wearing more hats than their counterparts in more sizeable programs.

At SwiftComply, we see this as an opportunity to bring value to Compliance teams and managers by automating and streamlining processes and workflows. As we see, managers of small utilities often have the most significant number of tasks to complete, which gives us even more scope to drive efficiency.

If you’re part of the management team at a backflow/cross-connection compliance program and you are exploring ways to eliminate repetitive tasks, eliminate human-driven data errors, and give your cities drinking water the best protection possible, get in touch with one of our team to discuss suitable solutions.