Smart Service

Feb. 6, 2017
Richmond County improves water system with smart metering technology

About the author: Dan Pinney is global director of water marketing for Sensus, a Xylem brand. Pinney can be reached at [email protected].

Car racing is synonymous with Richmond County, N.C. From race cars to hot rods, the local speedways draw crowds from just about every square mile in the county—and that is saying something, as the county measure 480 sq miles.

With Richmond County Water Department customers spread out over such a large service area, reading—and re-reading—water meters was difficult and time-consuming. Finding a leak in the 520 miles of water lines could be next to impossible. County officials opted to launch a county-wide smart metering system to combat these challenges.

“Our service area is huge,” said Bryan Land, assistant county manager for Richmond County. “Just getting from our office in Rockingham to the opposite end of the county can take 30 minutes each way. The smart technology from Sensus will allow us to remotely detect leaks and turn on service to homes and businesses.”

Reaping Rewards

Sensus, a Xylem brand, builds intelligence into every point of a water distribution network. From advanced metrology and sensors, to communication networks, to the analytics and software that empower utilities to make smarter decisions, the integrated solutions help utilities achieve advanced water management.

Leveraging this smart water system, the Richmond County project includes OMNI and iPERL meters, the FlexNet communication network, and data analytics, all managed by the Software as a Service (SaaS) solution. This smart water system will be phased in over a three-year period before the checkered flag is lowered at the Richmond County Water Department.

“Our project is the result of teamwork across the board from commissioners to the county manager and our water maintenance department,” Land said. “When we toured the Sensus facilities, we knew we had a partner we could rely on to help us create a state-of-the-art system that can meet and exceed the expectations of our customers.”

The ability to access key insights around the clock has become increasingly important. The communication network ensures the consistent and accurate delivery of customer usage data, securely and reliably on a a Federal Communications Commission-protected network.

Other benefits of Richmond County’s implementation of a smart water system include contributing to overall conservation efforts, improving customer service standards, and laying the groundwork for more updates and connectivity.

Persuing Potential

Cities and communities across the country are embracing the Internet of Things and big data. Municipalities and utilities are rethinking the potential for investments in technology and infrastructure as they look to the future of smart communities. Utilities like the Richmond County Water Department are looking toward smart applications and services that make their cities and communities more livable, economically competitive and sustainable.

With its smart water system deployment, Richmond County is in a position to improve efficiencies and capitalize on advancements in smart community solutions. Working with smart meters and other sensors, the communication network securely transmits data to enable utilities to proactively collect, deliver, manage and analyze customer usage more frequently and accurately.

The system will help Richmond County increase the value of its smart water investment through a shared communications infrastructure, allowing the county to integrate other smart city solutions, such as street and area lighting, as it sees fit. The system’s two-way communication technology remotely reaches a variety of smart network points, all over a licensed spectrum that ensures clear, reliable and secure transmissions. Supporting multiple applications, the system provides Richmond County with peace of mind that the solutions it deploys today will have the flexibility to leverage future opportunities and meet tomorrow’s utility needs.

About the Author

Dan Pinney

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