Santee Cooper, South Carolina’s state-owned electric and water utility, launched an enterprise-wide environmental management information system (EMIS) with Sphera’s Essential Suite as the backbone. The utility sought to implement an EMIS that would help its environmental managers move away from manual processes toward a streamlined system based on the EPA’s Plan, Do, Check, Act model. They also customized the EMIS with greater integration to company systems.
Santee Cooper created the unified, centralized EMIS to address growing external and internal pressures ranging from stricter regulations to employee retirements. They integrated the EMIS with multiple complementary systems for process data collection, business intelligence modeling, and email tasking. The centralized EMIS gathers data from 15 generation sites and 37 waste storage areas across the company. Employees, supervisors, and auditors have a comprehensive system to view when tasks are completed and can verify any attached completion evidence. More than 3,200 data points were integrated into the EMIS.
The EMIS helps promote personal accountability by triggering automated email alerts when compliance tasks are due or when data is approaching environmental limits, according to Sphera. Task owners are linked directly to the information they need and their supervisors can verify when tasks are completed. Results to date suggest that the EMIS’ prompts are motivating employees to complete tasks earlier and reducing the risk of non-compliance, Sphera says.
Santee Cooper integrated Sphera Essential Suite with several systems to streamline the flow of raw process data directly into the EMIS. The data includes air emissions, water discharge, waste generation, and fuel consumption. This equipment-level operational data is acquired and aggregated multiple times daily and then pulled into the EMIS, where emissions calculations are processed monthly and annually. In addition, by integrating Essential Suite with Oracle’s Business Intelligence Enterprise Edition within
their EMIS, Santee Cooper’s team can bring aggregated environmental information into data modeling and dashboard views for analysis.
The EMIS project gradually phased out many manual processes that had involved more than 270 checklists and forms, 115 spreadsheets, and two databases. It eliminated or partially replaced 43% of legacy checklists, forms, and reports as redundant or unnecessary. The EMIS managed more than 5,000 compliance tasks over two years, eliminated delays in retrieving environmental checklists and forms, and achieved a 96% customer satisfaction rating for attention to environmental management. The project provided the ability to seamlessly transfer tasks. In addition, the EMIS linked with the company’s content management system.