Dec 09, 2003

An Alarming Situation

Assuring the safety and availability of the Pike Township’s water supply

Raco Manufacturing & Engineering Co.

1400 62nd St. * Emeryville, CA 94608

Phone 510/658-6713

The Pike Township Municipal Authority (PTMA) recently
installed a Raco Catalyst to monitor various conditions and levels at their
Curwensville, Pa., water treatment and distribution facility.

As a participant of the Partnership for Safe Water Program,
the township completed the installation as part of an effort to optimize
treatment plant performance and provide safe drinking water.

Through this membership, the township was encouraged to
voluntarily survey treatment processes, operating and maintenance procedures,
manage oversight practices and the treatment facility itself. The PTMA realized
that they needed to put the appropriate tools into place to assess the filter
plant and prevent problems or possible violations before they occur, as well as
help bring the facility up to date.

To assist in accomplishing their goals, the PTMA looked to
replace their alarm notification and monitoring system with a more robust
solution. Prior to the installation of the Catalyst system, the facility was
limited to four monitoring points leaving 12 points unmonitored. In addition,
the facility wasn’t staffed nights and weekends.

The inconvenience of the 16 chart recorders was also an
issue. The recorders had to be manually checked and set up, requiring personnel
to visit each one onsite. Additionally, the engineer who recevied an alarm
notification call had to go to the RTU location, diagnose the problem and then
travel to the location where the alarm condition occurred. Overall, the system
was not only inconvenient for facility staff, but also inefficient and
potentially dangerous.

The PTMA knew they needed such features as detailed alarm
messages that eliminate the need for engineers to go to the RTU, the capacity
to monitor up to 256 inputs and the ability to quickly set up all monitoring
and reporting functionality from a computer.

The Catalyst has four standard internal inputs that can be
configured to sense digital or analog signals and can monitor up to 256 points
to provide extensive data and event logging capabilities. With this
functionality, the PTMA is now able to monitor everything in their facility
including data samples, alarms, channel state changes and configuration

The system is accessible at any time and can be remotely
programmed via the integrated keypad, using the manufacturer’s
proprietary software or any standard touch-tone telephone.

Alarm conditions

The PTMA’s system consisted of a single Catalyst unit
mounted on a wall in the control room, adjacent to the automation
direct-terminator I/O interface system. When an alarm condition occurs, the
system sends out numerous alarm calls. The first call goes to a fax, where a
printed report shows the details of the alarm condition. The fax call is
followed by calls to both the manager and operator’s cellphone, pager and
home phone. These calls alert staff to the existence and nature of the alarm

The new system has been successful, according to the PTMA,
who cited quicker, more efficient engineer response to alarms and a proactive
approach to preventative maintenance, as some of the benefits.

Ultimately, the PTMA’s process control has been vast
improved and engineers have the peace of mind that conditions are being
monitored 24/7.

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