Rome Wasn’t Built in a Day (Neither Should a CMMS)


  • Aditya Ramamurthy, Charles Wilson - Hazen and Sawyer
  • Evan Walsh, Michael Stuer - Lowell Regional Wastewater Treatment Utility

Utilities recognize that a Computerized Maintenance Management System (CMMS) serves as a foundation for an effective Asset Management Program. Especially the work order management module within any CMMS, documents and reports day-to-day activities and work performed by operations and maintenance (O&M) crews on various infrastructure assets. Accurate and reliable information from the CMMS can potentially be used to optimize O&M activities and also feed into the risk based capital improvement planning (CIP) process.

Within the water/wastewater industry today, recognizing the importance and impact of a CMMS, organizations are looking to reenergize the process of data collection and management within a CMMS and/or performing the due diligence to identify, procure, and deploy these systems within their organization. This is especially true for organizations looking to develop and implement asset management programs.

Lowell Regional Wastewater Utility (LRWWU) operates and maintains approximately 220 miles of sewers, with sizes up to 120 inches in diameter, in the City of Lowell, MA. The utility also owns and operates the Duck Island Wastewater Treatment Facility that treats an average flow of 22-30 mgd (depending on season), and serves a population of approximately 200,000, including four neighboring towns (Chelmsford, Dracut, Tewksbury and Tyngsborough).

Given the surplus of CMMS solutions currently in the market place, LRWWU has adopted a “business-driven technology-adoption” approach by establishing business requirements that will meet their specific needs for the proposed CMMS solution.

The CMMS solution evaluation and selection process included the following steps:
• Identify primary business needs at LRWWU for a CMMS solution (i.e. why does LRWWU need a CMMS solution?)
• Develop the functional and technical requirements for a CMMS solution (i.e. what capabilities/functionalities does LRWWU need in a CMMS solution?)
• Develop evaluation criteria based on the business needs and requirements
• Determine the “must have” vs. “nice-to-have” functionalities for a CMMS solution
• Evaluate and prioritize CMMS solutions based on LRWWU specific needs
CMMS solution selection

LRWWU was able to drive the conversation and discussion for selection (business driven) rather than multiple CMMS solution vendors demonstrate capabilities that LRWWU may or may not require. This enabled LRWWU staff to evaluate various solutions based on their specific requirements (apples-to-apples comparison). Example requirements included work order management and work flows, work order scheduling and reporting, document integration, external system interoperability, spatial and mobile capabilities etc.

Other anticipated benefits include:
• Serve as a single enterprise system of record for asset data management
• Ability to schedule and manage preventive maintenance work
• Ability to track and report on corrective maintenance activities
• Provide feedback to the CIP Planning process

Current Status
LRWWU is in the final stages of evaluating and selecting a CMMS solution that will meet their needs and requirements. LRWWU is also developing an implementation strategy to deploy the new system as well as integrate existing data from various systems into the new CMMS system.

This presentation will describe the steps and the due diligence Lowell Regional Wastewater Utility (LRWWU) has done in order to identify, select, and implement a CMMS solution that will meet their specific needs and requirements. Lessons learned, and challenges will also be discussed and presented:
• Implementation of a CMMS should be a phased approach, especially if scalability to other Departments is part of the long-term strategy
• Need for dedicated staff could be overwhelming. Getting the right “Team” of implementers and in-house staff is extremely critical
• Staff buy-in is crucial as the selected CMMS must be simple and user friendly to all end users.

For more information, please contact the author at

Hear about new publications with our email newsletter

We will never share your details with anyone else.


Newsletter Newsletter

Horizons Fall 2017 (pdf)

Horizons showcases significant water, wastewater, reuse, and stormwater projects and innovations that help our clients to achieve their goals, and can help you achieve yours. Articles are written by top engineers and process group leaders, demonstrating and explaining the beneficial application of a variety of technologies and tools.

View previous issues »