Continual Improvement through Investment, Training, and Creative Ideas
A DSRSD core value is to constantly increase efficiency even as we increase or maintain the level of service we provide to customers and the community. The projects below provide recent examples of increasing efficiency through prudent capital investments, training, and creative ideas that improve work processes.
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Cities, Water Utilities Collaborate for Efficiency
|DSRSD's contractor prepares the connection stub for a new recycled water pipeline under the bike path on San Ramon Road. The City of Dublin later installed the pipe on DSRSD's behalf while putting in a new storm drain.
Situation: The cities of Dublin, San Ramon, Livermore and Pleasanton, as well as DSRSD and Zone 7 Water Agency, have intertwined responsibilities for water, sewer, and stormwater management in the Tri-Valley. It requires cooperation, and the six agencies have a long history of working together.
Solution: To take teamwork to a new level, the agencies adopted a reciprocal services agreement that creates an efficient process for collaboration on specific projects. Using the agreement and coordinating in other ways saved time or money or both on these recent projects.
Coordinating Work that Affects Traffic
DSRSD and other utilities are working closely with the City of Dublin as it widens the last two-lane segment of Dublin Boulevard and undergrounds utilities. DSRSD is moving a sewer lift station during the summer of 2017. But to minimize disruption to the public, the District has arranged for the city’s contractor to move water meters, fire hydrants, and other DSRSD water and sewer facilities later, when the road is being widened. DSRSD will reimburse the city for the cost of this work through a reciprocal services agreement.
Two Pipes, One Trench
In 2015, the City of Dublin and DSRSD coordinated installation of a storm drain and a recycled water pipeline, which were scheduled to go in at nearly the same time on the same stretch of San Ramon Road. The city’s storm drain required other city-driven improvements, so it made sense for its contractor to take the lead and design and install the recycled water pipeline on the District’s behalf. DSRSD’s $140,000 cost was the same, but the arrangement was more efficient. “It’s always difficult to have two contractors working so close to one another,” says Steve Delight, DSRSD’s project manager. “Nine times out of ten, it slows them down.”
One Inspector Instead of Two
DSRSD and Dublin also consolidated inspections on the District’s entire West Dublin Recycled Water Project. On large projects, DSRSD typically assigns a staff member or contractor to conduct its inspections and pays for a city inspector to do the inspections the city requires. On this project, one contract inspector did most of the inspections for both agencies, making the project more efficient and freeing up staff to work on other tasks.
|DSRSD and Zone 7 Water used a reciprocal services agreement to combine paving projects, including a long winding road to Zone 7’s reservoir in Dublin.
Road Repairs with Less Staff Time
In April 2015, DSRSD repaved a road leading to a Zone 7 Water Agency reservoir by adding it on to a project to repair three other access roads at DSRSD reservoirs. Zone 7 reimbursed the District for its share of the costs, but avoided the extra staff work and potentially higher cost of bidding the project separately.
Streamlining Recycled Water Retrofits
The reciprocal services agreement also helps the agencies share top-performing consultants and contractors. In 2015, HydroScience Engineers (HSE) did an excellent job for DSRSD converting irrigation systems to recycled water for 35 large irrigation customers. When the City of Pleasanton needed similar services in 2016, it hired HSE by adding on to DSRSD’s contract. Because DSRSD had already vetted HSE, Pleasanton could streamline its request-for-proposal process.
|City of Dublin contractors work on DSRSD water valve covers during the city’s annual repaving project.
Joining Forces on “Raising Iron”
Whenever a city repaves streets, DSRSD must follow behind and raise the manhole and water valve covers up to the new higher surface—known as “raising iron.” In 2015, the City of Dublin rolled the DSRSD work into its annual repaving contract. DSRSD paid its share of the cost but saved staff time on project coordination. More importantly for the community, consolidating the work meant fewer days of traffic delays.