Lift stations—the remote pumping facilities that move wastewater from lower to higher elevations—can be difficult and costly to monitor, especially when they are located in remote areas.
Despite this challenge, collection system operators need to monitor lift stations in order to track performance and obtain real-time alarms on a long list of potential problems: pump failures, wet well overflows, energy consumption, vandalism, power failures or exceeding of pump temperature or vibration, for example.
Water hammer events can result in service issues for utilities, as the sudden increase in pressure can contribute to pipe fatigue, eventually causing pipe failure—a costly situation for municipalities.
In 2005, the Louisville Metropolitan Sewer District (MSD) entered into a regulatory consent decree that was later amended in 2009, requiring the mitigation of more than 200 sanitary sewer overflows and 103 combined sewer overflows.
Management of wet-weather flows in wastewater collection systems has remained one of the most intractable problems for utility managers.
Wastewater collection systems are often spread across many square miles of residential, commercial, industrial and rural property with most parts completely obscured from public view.
A supervisory control and data acquisition (SCADA) system can be utilized for remote data acquisition, but because it is primarily a real-time control system, the user must make significant compromises to use it for this purpose. These compromises include cost, data integrity, flexibility, convenience and control of the task.