From manual to modern: Water tech startup aims to be ‘Amazon of water testing’

For many water utilities, obtaining water samples from customers is a manual and labor-intensive process. This company believes there’s a better way.

Convenient sampling kit automates manual-driven collection process.
Convenient sampling kit automates manual-driven collection process.
Photo courtesy of 120WaterAudit.

As concerns about lead in drinking water escalate around the country, water utilities and other public and private entities are acutely focused on identifying and reducing sources of exposure. For many water utilities, this is a very manual and labor-intensive process, often carried out by field staff literally dropping off sampling kits, waiting for customers to prepare samples, and then returning to customers’ homes for pick up. But one innovative startup believes there is a better way.

Indiana-based 120WaterAudit, formed just under three years ago, provides enterprise software and point-of-use kits that government agencies, public water systems, and facilities such as schools and daycares can use to execute their lead-in-drinking water programs. “When our clients are going to start these programs, their data is fragmented and all over the place,” explained CEO Megan Glover. “Oftentimes, it’s not unheard of that the data is coming from paper records, dating back to whenever their system was put in place and now they need to know the material type of lead service line parts and pieces.” 120WaterAudit helps these facilities aggregate customer data, asset data, and GIS data in one place.

In addition to providing its cloud-based software, 120WaterAudit manages the water testing process with point-of-use kits that “automate a very antiquated process that is currently very manual-driven,” said Glover. “Just like Amazon has mastered package tracking, we’re able to automate [water testing] for our customers as well as give them a data-driven audit trail and save them money on that piece of the program.”

The company has attracted a lot of attention and the accolades are piling up. Most recently, 120WaterAudit was named the winner of Imagine H2O’s prestigious annual water technology accelerator program. From a field of more than 250 global applicants, thirteen companies were invited to participate in the 2019 program, which supports innovative technologies in the water sector by providing access to mentors, marketing resources, and networking introductions. At the end of the program, a panel of judges selects a winner.

For Glover, earning the top spot has been an honor. “We knew that we were providing something very special to the industry and our clients, and to have that validated through Imagine H2O has been tremendous.”

Despite its short existence, 120WaterAudit has already secured two state-wide contracts in Maryland and Indiana, and is being used in seven other states in cities like Providence, Chicago, and Pittsburgh. Glover noted that business is being fueled by increased investment in lead service line replacement due to new regulations. “We are excited to continue and then double-down on who we are today in helping our clients successfully execute these very complicated lead programs.”

Glover said that while 120WaterAudit is focused on growing the lead-testing area of its business, it has aspirations to expand beyond lead to help its clients manage the many programs they are tasked with administering. WW

You can learn more about 120WaterAudit’s technology at 120WaterAudit.com. Information about Imagine H2O’s accelerator program is available at ImagineH2O.org.

More in Potable Water Quality