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Laguna Beach: Using Data to Enhance Water and Wastewater Operations

The City of Laguna Beach, California, is a beautiful coastal community located halfway between Los Angeles and San Diego. While the city is small—occupying about 9 square miles and serving 23,000 residents—the beautiful beaches, art galleries, and boardwalks attract over 6 million visitors a year.

With 7 miles of coves and beaches, more than 20,000 acres of protected wilderness, and a long history of environmental stewardship and preservation, water quality and wastewater management are a top priority for city leaders.

From streamlining their private sewer lateral program to meeting state and federal regulations, learn how this forward-thinking community uses asset, work, and resource management software to build high-performing water and wastewater operations. 

The City of Laguna Beach's Water Quality Department is responsible for protecting the coastline and recreational ocean water. The team maintains diversion units that sift trash and debris out of the water and route it through their sewer system instead of flowing into the Pacific. The department also ensures that the city is compliant with state and federal regulations, and reduces polluted runoff by implementing programs, inspecting developments, and educating Laguna Beach's residents and visitors.

On the flip side, the Laguna Beach Wastewater Division is tasked with safely managing, operating, and maintaining the wastewater collection system. They serve over 8,900 residential connections and more than 300 commercial, industrial, or institutional customers. The division safely manages, operates, and maintains the wastewater collection system. They strive to provide adequate capacity to convey peak wastewater flows to the treatment plant and minimize or mitigate the frequency of sanitary sewer overflows (SSOs).

Looking for a better way to inventory, maintain, budget for, and report on their water, wastewater, and stormwater assets, the City of Laguna Beach implemented Cartegraph operations management software. While their software go-live date was less than a year ago, the community is already streamlining their private sewer lateral program (PSLP), improving data-driven decision-making, increasing maintenance productivity, and efficiently meeting regulatory reporting requirements.


In Laguna Beach, homeowners are responsible for maintaining their private sewer laterals. Through the new Private Sewer Lateral Program (PSLP), the city offers an incentive to encourage homeowners to repair or replace their laterals.

After seeing the City of Santa Barbara's success using Cartegraph to manage their own Sewer Lateral Inspection Program (SLIP), Laguna Beach staff members recognized that a comprehensive system would help them break down data silos and build higher- performing operations. With the help of Cartegraph, the wastewater division now has a single point of truth to manage the progress, status, letters, certificates, and videos associated with their PSLP cases. More specifically:

  • A sewer lateral task is created in Cartegraph to track the PSLP case progress.
  • Letters and certificates are created as reports and easily printed.
  • The city is tracking activities that have occurred and actions required using child tables related to their parent sewer lateral tasks.
  • Videos are also linked to sewer lateral tasks and can be accessed through a URL like a Microsoft OneDrive file or YouTube link.


With all their infrastructure details, maintenance history, labor hours, and equipment and material usage data in one place, the City of Laguna Beach is gaining greater visibility into their city operations. Tapping into Cartegraph's Analytics Dashboard gadgets and reports, the team can increase efficiency and effectiveness, spend tax dollars smarter, estimate the remaining life of assets, and build data-informed capital improvement plans.


Leveraging Cartegraph mobile apps, the City of Laguna Beach's wastewater crews track all tasks related to inspecting and maintaining diversions units, lift stations, SCADA equipment, and sewer collection systems via their smart devices. Whether crew members prefer calendars, lists, or maps, they can create, schedule, assign, and complete tasks on the go without missing a beat.

For example, the city uses Cartegraph's asset management software to maintain 25 wastewater lift stations—each varying in age, size, and type. The Bluebird South Orange County Wastewater Authority (SOCWA) lift station is the city's largest and last lift station in the network, pumping approximately 2 million gallons of wastewater each day to the SOCWA Coastal Treatment Plant in Aliso Canyon. All the maintenance work surrounding this lift station—including resources used—is summarized in each task and can be rolled up into a larger project work order when needed.


To prevent stone, sediment, roots, and other unwanted materials from clogging up the city's sewer mains, the Laguna Beach team uses Cartegraph software to adjust their cleaning frequencies based on condition inspections rather than geographic zone.

CCTV main inspections are performed by a contractor using NASSCO standards. Once complete, the structural and maintenance scores are stored in Cartegraph along with a PDF of the inspection summary. With CCTV inspections as their guide, the city uses Cartegraph's Automation Manager tool to automatically adjust the sewer main cleaning schedule based on predefined frequency rules and cleaning results.


To ensure compliance with the Federal Clean Water Act (CWA) and meet National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System Permit (NPDES) standards, the City of Laguna Beach uses Cartegraph to quickly and easily provide regulators with detailed asset, inspection, and maintenance-history documentation. While field crews capture real-time information, staff back at the office can visualize their data, customize reports, and export details for their regulatory documentation.