The Zurich department for Waste, Water, Energy and Air (AWEL) uses UmweltPlus, zetcom’s software for managing environmental data. The environmental department is consistently developing the integrated software in cooperation with zetcom. Project manager Andri Brühwiler explains how internal and external users work with the software.
On behalf of the Canton of Zurich, the department for Waste, Water, Energy and Air (AWEL) oversees the protection and sustainable use of important natural resources. These include groundwater, lakes, rivers and air. The department's employees ensure the supply of clean drinking water in the canton. They monitor the disposal of waste and sewage and ensure flood protection.
The large amount of data behind all these processes is recorded and processed with the zetcom UmweltPlus software. Nine sections of the AWEL are connected to the web-based software. Project manager Andri Brühwiler describes the advantage of this central IT solution as follows: "With UmweltPlus we get a cross-section view of all the data that our department processes and stores."
Software connects internal and external users
UmweltPlus creates transparency. This in turn is the prerequisite for efficiently connecting internal and external users and access to the software. It also allows new framework conditions and cantonal tasks to be integrated into the department's work processes.
"At AWEL we need software that integrates our sections with their different requirements and workflows. This software must also enable us to make ongoing adjustments and further developments at any time," explains Andri Brühwiler.
Around 130 users work with UmweltPlus within the AWEL. The department's employees process information and measured values on more than 15,000 industrial companies and around 75,000 facilities that carry out activities in the Canton of Zurich that are relevant to the environment and subject to monitoring. They record information such as: What size is a company or facility. What amount of chemicals is generated there. Which sewage is discharged.
In addition, there is data on tank systems, their material, volume, placement and contents. The data in UmweltPlus provide the necessary basis for decision-making when issuing permits, imposing conditions and carrying out periodic inspections of plants and facilities.
Besides internal access, the AWEL connects around 140 external users to UmweltPlus. Engineering offices, geologists and analysis laboratories load analysis data from groundwater measurements directly into the system. The AWEL employees check this data and initiate the necessary steps. For example, precisely when there is a need for action with regard to the monitored groundwater measuring points.
Integrated IT solution saves costs
Marc Filser is part of the zetcom team behind the UmweltPlus software. He and his colleagues are further developing UmweltPlus for clients like AWEL. "The AWEL is a long-standing client and a very intensive user of UmweltPlus," says Marc Filser. "The employees at AWEL invest a lot in the further development of their software. This helps us to improve our product and to align very closely with the constantly growing needs of an environmental department."
zetcom accompanies clients as a long-term IT partner. Once integrated, UmweltPlus is a solution that opens up many possibilities for users over the course of its use: close coordination with work processes – which can vary from one department to the next, users' own configuration of the software, but also accompanied further development in cooperation with zetcom.
"By integrating UmweltPlus centrally within AWEL, the Canton of Zurich saves considerable costs for operation and maintenance," explains Marc Filser. "Thus, only one central application is maintained and further developed and not three or more solutions in parallel."
Creating new functions to save time
The AWEL and zetcom are currently developing a new function for UmweltPlus, which will soon be used in the department. "There are several hundred emergency power generators under our supervision," says Andri Brühwiler.
"The number of operating hours that an emergency power generator runs per year is a main criterion for the requirements that the operator of the generator must meet. For us, the operating hours are therefore an important metric. In the future, we want to enable operators of emergency power units to enter this metric online."
The new function is intended to save time and simplify the exchange of data between the system operator and the AWEL. Andri Brühwiler says that the quality of a software is characterized by such further developments. A high-quality IT solution must be well thought out, close to the practical needs of its clients and adaptable to new features. This gives users the freedom they need, while increasing efficiency for the organization.