Colorado Water Utility Saves Personnel, Maintenance Costs With Digital Pressure Recorder

Dec. 28, 2000

The City of Aurora, Colorado faced the challenge of monitoring water pressure in an area where expanding population and new building construction are rapidly increasing. Aurora’s Utilities Department supplies water pressure data from various points of the distribution system to the engineers, who then analyze the data and compile hydrant pressure reports for the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA), as well as for the city’s hydraulic studies.

Until recently, Aurora used pen and paper chart recorders to gather pressure readings. Data being sent to the engineers for analysts first needed to be read and interpreted from the pen and paper output of the chart recorder. The job of collecting, reading and interpreting required two or more full time personnel working seven days a week. Not only was this water pressure data sometimes incomplete, but it also resulted in extremely high personnel and maintenance costs.

In the first quarter of 1999, Aurora began testing the HPR-2109e hydrant pressure recorder from Telog Instruments Inc. of Victor, New York. "We were interested in testing the HPR-2109e because the data is collected and stored digitally," said Chuck Haight, utilities supervisor. "We immediately recognized the potential for significant savings in personnel and maintenance costs."

Hydrant field crews prefer the new style and method of data collection, while engineers really like the flexibility and amount of detail contained in the data.

One problem immediately was solved: they no longer had to work weekends, as with the older paper recorders that required daily chart changing. The new recorders enabled the crews to visit a recorder only once a week, resulting in cost savings in overtime and compensation leave for weekend and holiday work.

Aurora quickly realized several benefits of electronically collecting pressure readings. All related costs associated with using chart recorders dropped 85 percent within the first few months of installing the new hydrant pressure recorders. In addition, reports of vandalism are down, because the unit is low profile.

The city now collects its pressure readings via a laptop computer. The data is then loaded into a Windows® based software program and sent to city engineers for analysis. City of Aurora Utilities Department personnel provided a lot of input in the design of the hardware and usability of the software.

According to Aurora’s staff, the 25 hydrant pressure recorders they purchased in 1999 have paid for themselves in reduced costs for department operations.

For more information:

Telog Instruments • Victor, NY • Phone 716-742-3000

Image by Burnham RNG, courtesy twentytwo & brand.