DDS offers the information end users need, at a considerable value
When a feasibility study was required for a new water reclamation plant in Lubbock, Texas, Alan Plummer Associates selected Hach's Data Delivery Services (DDS) to determine the flow rates for this important project
When a feasibility study was required as part of a potential water reclamation plant (WRP) study in Lubbock, Texas, the environmental engineering firm, Alan Plummer Associates Inc., (APAI) was selected for the job. With over 34 years of experience providing engineering and scientific services exclusively in the water and wastewater arena, APAI’s vision is to uphold environmental stewardship and technical excellence. With nearly 100 employees today and four Texas offices, they continue their commitment.
When APAI was contacted by local Hach flow rep, Ann Lippert with Macaulay Associates, they were not familiar with Hach’s Data Delivery Services (DDS) or the FLO-DAR Flow Meter. After a meeting with Lippert and Hach personnel, they learned how effectively DDS could work for the flow monitoring portion of the project. Adam Rose, engineer with APAI, commented, “The feasibility study is being done to try and locate a new WRP that would be diverting flow in the city of Lubbock, Texas. The meters and rain gauges were required to get a literal gauge on how much flow we would need to divert. After learning more about DDS and the FLO-DAR we thought it seemed interesting and we wanted to try it, so we did.”
With DDS you pay only for sewer flow data and you don't have to leave your office to get it. For a fixed monthly fee, Hach Company will furnish you with a web-enabled sewer flow meter, in this case FLO-DAR meters were utilized, and all of the following:
It was determined that two FLO-DAR flow meters and two Sigma Rain Gauges would be required for the flow study. Rose added, “We originally had budgeted for one rain gauge and one flow meter based on how much we thought it would cost. After talking to Hach Divisional Sales Manager Richard Delgadillo we found that we had enough money in our budget to put in a second meter and a second rain gauge.”
The two DDS meters were installed in April 2011 under a one-year contract. One meter was installed on an 18-in. line and the other on a 24-in. line. Essentially, as soon as the first meter was installed and began collecting flow data in the 24-in. line, it was instantly apparent that there was 50% more flow in the line than was expected. The line now averages 5 to 7 million gal per day (mgd). Rose adds, “That’s everything when you’re trying to size a plant! The study is considered a fast-track project and if a decision is made to go forward with the new plant it will only be four years from the feasibility study until operation. Being able to get data quickly makes a difference when you are talking about that level of time. So DDS has definitely helped there.”
Due to the arid climate, Rose had expected there was a good chance that they wouldn not see many rainfall events. However, he commented that if the flow project had been done the traditional way, where someone installs the meter for you and you don’t get any useful data for a month or more, it would have really slowed the project. He added, “With DDS, the useful data that we were going to get out of this project, we had almost instantly without having to wait.” Another plus for Rose is the web interface, FSDATA Flow Data Manager, that allows Rose the ability to go to a meeting and show exactly where everything stands. He added, “It’s nice to see the actual flow data and not just see everything done as a graph as is done with other traditional flow monitoring projects.”
APAI will expand their current DDS monitoring to monitor the sites with DDS, especially since the locations that are being monitored are in an historic drought. Despite the drought, APAI has been able to capture some events but will require further monitoring in hopes of capturing larger events that will help with the sizing of the WRP structure and also satisfy regulatory criteria. He added, “We are looking for something in the neighborhood of a two-year event which would be significant around here to have two to three inches of rain. Their annual average isn’t much more than that. If we get enough data we can extrapolate out what we think there may be.”
Regarding Rose’s overall first DDS experience he commented, “Not only does DDS offer my clients their data much faster and with more customized options, but it is also much more affordable than traditional methods. This really allows us to stretch the impact our project has from start to finish. DDS is my new standard—there is really no comparison with other methods.”
When APAI speaks with both their internal and external clients about DDS they say they often get feedback that DDS seems almost hard to believe. When asked what happens if something malfunctions they inform them that Hach goes out and fixes it. Next they want to know how much that costs and we tell them it is all included. We tell them it’s nice to set it and forget it!
He added, “Honestly, especially if it’s not raining much we are not looking at the meters. It’s nice that there is someone managing that task for us and we appreciate being notified proactively if something does happen. It’s nice to know that for one price it’s all included.” Rose’s experience with traditional flow monitoring projects has been quite different. He added, “We are told at the end of the project that a meter was down for three weeks but the meter would be kept in for an additional three weeks to make it up. By that point I only have data from one flow meter hanging out there for three weeks and it doesn’t mean anything and is not the same.”
While the original contact by the local Hach flow rep was for another flow project in Texas that had already been contracted, Rose discussed the interesting parallel between the two. He added, “The other project was for the same amount of money as the Lubbock DDS project but was for traditional flow monitoring for six months worth of data and a small amount of statistical analysis versus the Lubbock DDS project for 12 months of flow data that we can access any time.”
While the Lubbock DDS application continues, APAI is currently holding discussions for additional DDS flow monitoring projects in Texas. Rose commented on a recent discussion he had with the project manager for a potential DDS application, “The second project will include five installations to monitor interceptors that feed a wastewater treatment plant where there is no influent monitoring. The project manager indicated that they liked the like idea of having a dashboard where you can monitor all five of the meters.” In closing, Rose added, “When you are not in charge of all of the equipment and all of the maintenance there’s a set it and forget it factor. It’s information I need and it’s not a hassle, it’s actually a great value.”