How Chester Metro are maximizing the productivity of their compliance team

With Kelli Johnson, Backflow Program Adminsitraton Manager at Chester Metro (SC)


increase in compliance rate


increase in recorded devices


hours saved per week

Meet Kelli — Backflow Program Administrator

While Kelli’s official title might be Backflow Program Administrator, it feels like it underplays the magnitude and importance of the work she undertakes as part of her role in the Chester Metropolitan Water District. Her role requires her to manage every aspect of the district’s backflow program — inspections, data processing and management, communication with customers, and more is all in a day’s work.

Despite this workload, she is clear on what her ultimate objective is — keeping public water safe. To achieve this, she knows that it requires her to proactively identify and monitor water hazards across the district.


Like many municipal water utilities across North America, there was one key problem for Kelli and her team — simply not enough hours in the day to complete all the tasks required of an effective backflow compliance program.

The reality is that I’m constantly split between fieldwork and office admin. For years, I was stuck in a vicious cycle — the harder I worked in the field doing inspections, the more paperwork I had to process when I got back to the office. On those drives back to the office, I’d be thinking ‘If I could just get these test reports into the system quicker, I could be doing more inspections and making better use of my time

Kelli found herself at a crossroads, grappling with the need to boost her team’s efficiency amidst ever-growing tasks.

I don't know how many times I did the math in my head on the way back to the office, and eventually, I just knew I had to find a better way

No matter how hard they worked, it was clear that their small team was only ever going to be able to enforce partial compliance.

With their process at the time, it just wasn’t possible to stay on top of every hazard in the district, and still have time to do the office-based work.

Ultimately, the challenge was to find a way to reduce the burden of things like manual data entry, monitoring compliance rates, and sending reminders and enforcement letters to customers.



The need to get as much possible done with limited human resources is a common theme amongst public water utilities. We would all love to have more help from more employees, but it isn’t always that simple. In fact, with the well-documented workforce challenges facing water utilities, it’s less feasible than ever.

The obvious way for me to improve my compliance program efficiency would be with a dedicated assistant to take care of the admin side of things while I focus on field inspections… just gaining back that time driving back and forth to the office. I knew this wasn’t possible though, so I had to find time savings in my regular workflow. That’s when I began to look for a backflow technology solution

A versatile cloud-based compliance solution

The time wasted by having to do paper-based inspections, and then having to manually enter them into the system was eliminated by having a cloud-based solution. The ability to document inspections in the field, and have them instantly uploaded to a central database immediately eliminated half the data entry work alone. 

The ability to record inspections in the field was just one benefit. Having instant access to real-time data meant that Kelli was no longer needing to return to the office ad-hoc to deal with urgent queries. 

I had always just seen it as part of the job. The unpredictability of managing a backflow program meant that I would have to rush back to check something on the computer if someone called. It’s usually just me and one other colleague, so we’re usually both in the field at the same time with no one to call in the office. It was a huge time suck and made it hard to be efficient with my inspection schedule

Transforming the way testers are managed

For Kelli, third-party testers are a major player in the way here Backflow Program operates. 

Like many small utilities, they’re reliant on them to pick up a lot of the work that they simply couldn’t do as a team of two. However, managing any testers is something that can eat up valuable time too:

  • Test Information: hours are spent validating test data for manually for accuracy and completeness
  • Test Certifications: hours are spent chasing testers to ensure that certifications are up-to-date
  • Test Kit Calibrations: hours spent chasing testers for calibration inspection certs, sometimes with the testers being unaware that they’re required

The obvious downside of third-party testers is the time it takes to manage them.

The difference now is that all of this is done without any input from Kelli. Tests are validated for accuracy on-site before being uploaded, tester and test kit certifications are uploaded and authenticated automatically. for those that might be unaware that they need to upload these documents, they now receive automated notifications to ensure they themselves are compliant.

This ability to better manage testers has given Chester a huge boost in terms of how efficeietly their program operates.

The measure of success? Skyrocketing compliance rates!

Before using SwiftComply, we had just over 100 devices on our system.  Now we have over 500!  We can manage more testers at one time, we’re not having to review certs manually every day, and we’re not chasing those who haven’t submitted their certs. I’m doing less typing, and everyone doing more inspections and doing them properly. They’re more accountable. No fuss. The best part of this is I sleep easier at night knowing that we’re getting closer to documenting every hazard in Chester
"SwiftComply has made everything easier for me. Their team have made sure, I can see when a device was tested, who tested it, and when it's due again, no matter where I am.
They've created a solution that's perfect for my needs."
Kelli Johnson
Backflow Administration Manager

See how SwiftComply can help you to take control of backflow compliance