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When a treatment system owner, or owner’s representative, searches for a company to operate and maintain their system, they are faced with the challenge of making difficult decisions based on promises made by O&M service providers. In the end, it is clear that any company can claim to provide operations and maintenance services. The question is: Can they deliver?In an effort to assist decision makers in their efforts to make the right choice, I have compiled a list of questions that should be addressed prior to making a final decision.
1. What is the depth of the company in question? Do they simply provide an operator/ technician or can they also provide the necessary tools and equipment to support the operator/technician?
2. Does the company employ licensed operators, electricians and qualified technicians?
3. What experience do they have with system optimization, upgrades, and cost saving efforts?
4. Where does the company stand with regard to system automation and remote monitoring?
5. Does the company subcontract or use temporary agencies to staff the position?
6. Does the company provide ancillary support services including compliance sampling and regulatory reporting, and are they experienced in providing said services?
7. How does the company plan on communicating with the client or client representative? Are they willing to take the steps necessary to ensure efficient communication?
8. What other services do they provide and how can those services benefit the project going forward?
All too often, decisions are based solely on cost. Unfortunately, as with anything else in life, you get what you pay for. I would urge decision makers to seriously consider the questions above when considering a contract O&M firm. An uneducated decision could result in excessive project costs, inefficient operation, compliance issues, and have a negative impact on your reputation and the reputation of your company.
- Richard J. WorthingtonO&M Division Manager