Monitoring and Instrumentation

Monitoring and Instrumentation

Community saves more than $20 million by finding leaks with data

Software helps improve plant data management

Problem: An aging SCADA system and a decrease in staff left an Ohio wastewater treatment plant with data management issues. Multiple data sources including SCADA printouts, spreadsheets, word-processed documents, operator logs and bench sheets led to data being manually manipulated multiple times, causing issues in reporting and analysis. Analyzing a single parameter over a year meant opening 12 months of spreadsheets, copying and pasting from each month into a new spreadsheet, and writing the formulas to achieve the desired results. This made it difficult to see trends and collect and evaluate historical data. It also increased the risk of data-entry errors.

Solution: After a review and visits to nearby treatment plants, the staff implemented the AllMax Software Operator10 Wastewater program. Plant personnel set up the program to automatically collect SCADA data and import data from the outside and internal lab. They designed standard data entry sheets and integrated into the Ohio EPA eBusiness Center for electronic submittal of the discharge monitoring report.

Result: The program allows the staff to spend less time entering, searching for, and compiling data and more time performing other required duties. 800-670-1867;

Remote process monitoring keeps treatment district operating during hurricane

Problem: In September 2017, Hurricane Irma brought wind and torrential rain to the Caribbean and Florida. As the storm engulfed the state, utilities including the Key Largo Wastewater Treatment District prepared for inundations at treatment plants.

Solution: The district had installed a sequencing batch reactor followed by two cloth media filters to meet stringent effluent limits and accommodate increasing flow. To enhance process control, they added an IntelliPro process monitoring and control system from Aqua-Aerobic Systems. Expecting a power outage, operators increased dissolved oxygen in the basins and turned off the sludge wasting pumps to avoid filling the digester during the storm. For a safety measure, they increased the settle phase time in the SBR. After those preparations, they relied on the IntelliPro system to monitor and control the equipment while the plant went unmanned during the storm.

Result: The plant withstood the hurricane well. The operators remotely monitored the equipment via SCADA and the SBR process via the IntelliPro system. Even with the sludge pumps off, the graph showed an increase in the mixed liquor suspended solids concentration as needed. 815-654-2501;

Community saves more than $20 million by finding leaks with data

Problem: White House Utility District, Tennessee’s largest geographic water utility serving more than 90,000 consumers and businesses, began 2015 with a dilemma: how to meet growing demand for water within budget and capital constraints. Early projections say the district might need to invest $15 to $20 million in transmission upgrades and treatment plant expansions to meet its commitments. Expanded capacity would also mean higher costs for energy (about 30 percent of the cost of producing water), employees, chemicals and maintenance.

Solution: Instead of expanding, the district developed a system to pinpoint underground leaks through software and smart meters. Using Matchpoint Water Asset Management equipment, staff found the district was losing 32 percent of its water through main leaks. In less than four days, they discovered that a stream was in reality a leak spilling some 147 million gallons a year, enough for 2,239 homes.

Result: In two years, the district recovered $900,000 worth of water. Smart metering also helped avoid $200,000 of SCADA upgrades and recover $30,000 in employee time and productivity. The time to prepare reports on potential problems dropped from six hours to 10 minutes. They also avoided the multimillion-dollar capital expansion; bond interest alone would have been $600,000 per year. Projections say a major expansion won’t be needed until 2028. 910-509-7225;

Water utility uses power meters to save costs

Problem: The Florida Keys Aqueduct Authority challenged itself to reduce operating costs to avoid rate increases. Operations staff looked at electrical costs but found that pumping facilities had an assortment of electric meters. Accuracy differed, and some meters were inoperable.

Solution: The authority turned to Schweitzer Engineering Laboratories for a power metering solution. Revenue meters provide the data needed to make confident process decisions affecting electricity costs. With its integrator, the authority developed a way to display power demand and kilowatt-hours in real time, expressed as dollars per 1,000 gallons pumped. This allows operators to view the cost of process decisions in real time, helping identify inefficiencies, evaluate where variable-frequency drives will lower pumping costs, and determine the most efficient pumps to use. The meters also captured some anomalous power events that when shared with utility led to power quality improvements benefiting the authority and its customers.

Result: From a $60,000 investment, the authority saves $600,000 a year on electricity. “The more data we give the operators, the more ways they find to save,” says Jim Brewster, electrical instrumentation controls manager. “It’s having a chain reaction: Everyone is always asking how they can save.” 509-332-1890;

Worry-free water metering with advanced electromagnetic technology 

Problem: City West Water provides drinking water, trade waste, recycled water, stormwater harvesting and sewerage services to 276,000 residential and 31,300 nonresidential customers in and around Melbourne, Australia. Monitoring water flow from the mains to the inlets at major users like schools, hospitals, high-rises, retirement villages, shopping centers, hotels, airports and factories is essential to billing customers accurately and fairly.

Solution: The company deployed the battery-powered SITRANS F M MAG 8000 electromagnetic water meter from Siemens Industry. It measures flow with accuracy of 0.4 percent, reducing unaccounted-for water and enabling accurate billing. The full-bore unit never obstructs flow and delivers without any significant drop in pressure, important for fire service applications. It uses a six-year battery and has moving parts. Several layers of security help prevent tampering and other interference. These include an optional wired seal, password protection and a hardware key that is required in order to change critical parameters.

Result: “We are fully satisfied with the accurate and stable performance of the MAG 8000, and we’re also very happy with the consistently high level of customer service we receive from Siemens,” says Andrew Geary, metering and backflow specialist for City West Water. 631-231-3600;

Online process monitoring used for control of biological nutrient removal

Problem: New nitrogen limits required the Newmarket (New Hampshire) Wastewater Treatment Facility to upgrade from a trickling filter process to a four-stage Bardenpho biological nutrient removal process. A new instrumentation and monitoring system was needed to operate the process efficiently.

Solution: The town and Wright-Pierce engineers chose the IQ SensorNet (IQSN) from YSI, a Xylem brand. The monitoring system includes two IQSN 2020 networks, one for each aeration train, with FDO dissolved oxygen sensors and SensoLyt ORP and pH sensors. A TSS probe on the sludge line calculates waste solids. For convenient maintenance and calibration, a display terminal and probe connection are located in the lab. Control of aeration blowers is achieved with feedback from the oxic zone DO sensors. Control of nitrate recirculation is achieved with feedback from anoxic zone ORP sensors. 

Result: The project was showcased during a facility tour for the New Hampshire Water Pollution Control Association 2017 Winter Meeting. The monitoring system includes spare connections to accommodate future nitrate, ammonia, and other potential probes for increased operational efficiency. 800-765-4974; 


Comments on this site are submitted by users and are not endorsed by nor do they reflect the views or opinions of COLE Publishing, Inc. Comments are moderated before being posted.