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Water: Check Up Program for Small Systems (CUPSS)

Basic Information

Asset management can be defined as "a process for maintaining a desired level of customer service at the best appropriate cost." According to the Government Accountability Office (GAO; formerly the General Accounting Office), comprehensive asset management has the potential to help utilities better identify needs and plan future investments. CUPSS is a tool for small drinking water and wastewater utilities designed to do just that.

CUPSS Background

CUPSS was developed in response to a clear need from communities and trainers to consolidate and package asset management materials in an easy-to-use, clear and update-to-date fashion. EPA's Office of Groundwater and Drinking Water (OGWDW) developed CUPSS with the help of a workgroup that included representatives from state agencies, technical assistance organizations, EPA Regional offices, and small wastewater and drinking water utilities. With this collaborative approach, EPA was able to develop a comprehensive application that provides all the tools required to implement an asset management program and develop effective asset management plans.

What is CUPSS?

CUPSS is:

Free: You can download CUPSS from this Web site or you can request a copy of the application on CD.

A desktop application: CUPSS does not require an Internet connection to function. This allows for greater flexibility in how the program is used and helps keep your records secure.

Fully supported: EPA has developed a full suite of support documentation including the following:

  • Getting Started with CUPSS workbook
  • CUPSS User's Guide
  • Training material
  • Promotional material

In addition, the CUPSS application includes a comprehensive help guide (modeled after the ones found in Microsoft Office products) to walk you through its setup and to help you work through each module.

How can CUPSS help me?

What you bring to CUPSS:

  • An understanding of a desired "sustainable" level of service
  • Information about your current assets
  • Financial information for your utility
  • Information about which assets are critical to sustained performance

What CUPSS helps you achieve:

  • Make more informed decisions
  • Save time by planning ahead
  • Back up budget talks with solid facts
  • Improve customer service
  • Prepare an asset management plan in seven steps

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How is CUPSS structured?

CUPSS leads users through a series of modules to collect information on a utility's assets, operation and maintenance activities, and financial status to produce a prioritized asset inventory, a set of financial reports and an asset management plan. These modules include the following:

Set Up
The first step in the CUPSS setup process is to identify a project team. CUPSS contains a team assembly wizard that allows users to create team members, define roles and enter contact information. Users have the ability to establish or modify their team at any time but are encouraged to set up a team the first time they run CUPSS. CUPSS allows users to export the team roster and associated data into a Microsoft Excel file.

CUPSS Training
This module has been developed to help the user understand CUPSS and the asset management process through clear, concise instructional materials. In this section, the user finds a real-life introductory training video. The help section includes a keyword search and has a glossary section in addition to example forms and reports.

My Inventory
This module allows users to identify and characterize their water system's assets. Users can modify a pre-populated set of assets (based on the user's system schematic, another feature of the CUPSS application) or add new assets, which helps prioritize maintenance activities and better manage revenue for repair and replacement of assets.

My O&M (Operations and Maintenance)
This module allows users to create and track current, future and past operation and maintenance activities. The user is able to add tasks to the schedule and mark scheduled items as "completed." This module then records the status and history of each task, alerts users if the task status is past due or critically past due, or alerts the user when to reassess the asset condition if maintenance is not performed as scheduled.

My Finances
This module helps users determine the full costs of doing business and calculate how much is needed for full recovery. This knowledge gives users the ability to discuss their needs within the context of a community budget.

The user can provide the current year's budget (at a minimum), what was actually spent (financial statement) from the previous year, and calculate the annual costs of asset rehabilitation and replacement.

My Check Up
CUPSS generates two customizable reports: "My Asset Check Up" and "My Financial Check Up." The user can enter information to create targeted reports that will help them manage assets and plan for the future.

My CUPSS Plan
This module assembles, using a predefined template, an asset management plan that has been pre-populated with the information and calculations entered by the user. CUPSS allows the user to export the developed plan as a Word document for modification and review.

Promoting CUPSS

EPA and partnering organizations have developed a number of documents to help potential users understand the benefit of starting asset management using the CUPSS application.

Frequent Questions and Answers about CUPSS


What is asset management?
Asset management is a process for maintaining a desired level of customer service at the best appropriate cost.

Is CUPSS for me?
The primary user community for CUPSS consists of small drinking water and wastewater utilities with fewer than 1,000 connections or 3,300 individuals. Larger utilities new to asset management might also find CUPSS useful.

How can CUPSS help my utility?
The goals of CUPSS are to...

  • Assist with communication between utility staff and decision makers
  • Help move utilities from crisis management to informed decision making
  • Facilitate more efficient and focused utility operations
  • Improve financial management to make the best use of limited resources

What is CUPSS?
CUPSS is a free, easy-to-use, asset management tool for small drinking water and wastewater utilities (generally, those serving fewer than 3,300 persons) and medium-sized systems new to asset management.

How can I get a copy of CUPSS?
CUPSS is available as a free download from this site. Alternatively, you can order a copy of the CUPSS application on CD by contacting the National Service Center for Environmental Publications (NSCEP).

I'm having trouble installing or using CUPSS. What should I do?
The CUPSS User's Guide includes detailed instructions for how to install or use the CUPSS application; you might want to check the Trouble Shooting Guide first.

I want my utility to use CUPSS. Are there any resources to help promote the application?
EPA and partnering organizations have developed a number of documents to help potential users understand the benefit of starting asset management using the CUPSS application. These documents are available for download on the Resources page. The "CUPSS and Us" presentation, in particular, is an excellent tool to help communicate the benefit of using CUPSS to local decision makers and stakeholders.

Who developed CUPSS?
EPA's Office of Groundwater and Drinking Water (OGWDW) developed CUPSS with the help of a workgroup that included representatives from state agencies, technical assistance organizations, EPA Regional offices, and small wastewater and drinking water utilities. With this collaborative approach, EPA was able to develop a comprehensive application that provides all the tools required to implement an asset management program and develop effective asset management plans.

Where can I go for training?
A variety of training opportunities are available for both CUPSS trainers and those interested in using the CUPSS application.


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