Case Studies

Engineering Efficiency

by David Baum

November 2014

The Washington Suburban Sanitary Commission (WSSC) is committed to investing billions of dollars in capital improvements to repair and replace its water and sewer infrastructure while continuously improving operational efficiency and customer service with greater transparency. Business and technology leaders are in the process of integrating Oracle Business Intelligence to enable the utility to collect, store, manage, and analyze data about WSSC’s environmental and conservation efforts, as well as to report its progress to the general public.



Washington Suburban Sanitary Commission (WSSC)

Location: Laurel, Maryland

Industry: Utilities

Established: 1918

Employees: 1,600

Revenue: WSSC is a US$1.5 billion utility, with an operating budget of US$661.8 million and a capital budget of US$788 million

Oracle products: Oracle Exadata Database Machine; Oracle Exalytics In-Memory Machine; Oracle Exalogic Elastic Cloud; Oracle Database, Enterprise Edition; Oracle Multitenant; Oracle E-Business Suite; Oracle Utilities applications, including Oracle Utilities Work and Asset Management and Oracle Utilities Mobile Workforce Management; Primavera P6 Enterprise Project Portfolio Management; Primavera Contract Management; Primavera P6 Analytics; Oracle Identity Governance Suite; Oracle WebLogic; Oracle Business Intelligence Applications; Oracle Human Resources Analytics; Oracle Financial Analytics; Oracle Spatial; Oracle Tuning Pack; Oracle Diagnostics Pack; Oracle TimesTen In-Memory Database; Oracle Tutor for Applications; Oracle Developer Suite

Customer accounts: 460,000

Coverage area: 1,000 square miles

Facilities: 2 water filtration plants, 7 wastewater treatment plants, 3 water storage reservoirs, 54 water storage tanks

Infrastructure systems: 5,600 miles of fresh water pipeline, 5,400 miles of sewer pipeline

Pumping stations: 14 water, 41 wastewater


For example, in 2013, 28 percent of the energy the utility needs was generated from wind turbines and 17 percent from solar panels. WSSC has two ground-mounted solar installations that help reduce carbon dioxide emissions, which are equivalent to avoiding the use of 358,680 gallons of gasoline each year. According to Kannan Seenivasagam, manager of application development and database services at WSSC, these types of statistics are now readily at hand, thanks to the Oracle-based system. A new set of integrated business intelligence (BI) applications helps his team to monitor usage and meet the utility’s conversation goals.

Reducing old data center equipment with Oracle’s more-efficient engineered systems has had a measurable impact on the utility’s ability to conserve energy. A single-rack Oracle Exadata system replaces five racks of legacy gear, leading to tremendous space savings and energy savings in the data center. “The previous data storage environment consumed 23 kilowatts per year, versus 6 kilowatts for the Exadata systems,” Seenivasagam says.

Other savings come from Oracle Exadata Hybrid Columnar Compression technology, which enables WSSC to process more data with less gear. “We have lowered the cost of storing data fivefold,” Seenivasagam confirms. “Even though our overall data storage requirements are growing 25 percent per year, we expect to save US$200,000 over a three-year period by compressing our data on Exadata systems.” Finally, WSSC’s mobile application suite reduces energy consumption through more-efficient routing of vehicles, less shipping of paper and goods, and more-efficient manual processes.

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