Keeping Up With the Times

Oct. 11, 2004
Municipalities across North America are continually upgrading various aspects of their infrastructure in order to stay current, effective and safe. Is yours?

About the author: Tim Gregorski is editorial director of WWD.

As technology continues to evolve in the water and wastewater industry, it is necessary to examine a variety of upgrades currently being incorporated at municipalities in North America in order to compare where your system may stand. Has your water/wastewater system fallen behind the times? Are you putting your water/wastewater treatment system in danger by not incorporating the latest technological advances? What upgrades may be more necessary than others right now? These are all viable questions asked by many municipalities when it comes to incorporating infrastructure upgrades. This article will address these questions as WWD examines some of North America’s the latest municipal upgrades.

Port Hope, Ontario

Earlier this year, the residents of Port Hope, Ontario were informed they would benefit from cleaner, safer drinking water through an investment under the Canada-Ontario Infrastructure program.

The municipality of Port Hope is currently constructing a new membrane filtration plant to service 4,700 households. The project includes a new integrated plant structure with two chlorine contact tanks, a water storage reservoir, low and high lift pumping stations, submerged ultrafiltration membrane tanks and system, a chemical room and a control room.

According to Port Hope city officials, the upgrades are required to bring the municipal water system into compliance with the Ontario Drinking Water System’s regulation and to improve the overall quality of life for residents if Port Hope.

“Ensuring citizens across the county have access to safe, clean water is a priority for the government of Canada,” said Paul Macklin, parliament member for Northumberland.

“These upgrades will use state-of-the-art technology to position our new plant on the cutting edge of water systems in the province,” added Rick Austin, mayor of Port Hope.

The government of Canada and the government of Ontario will each contribute up to $3.8 (CAN) million for this project while the municipality of Port Hope will invest the balance of the project’s total eligible cost of $11.4 (CAN) million.

Possum Kingdom Lake, Texas

Outside the growing metropolis of Dallas/Fort Worth, about 75 miles west is a 17,000-acre oasis known as Possum Kingdom Lake. In addition to being a recreational hub, with an average of more than 550,000 acre-feet of water, area residents are now relying on a series of upgrades to a distribution system to satisfy the growing need for potable water.

The Possum Kingdom Water Supply Co., designed a five-stage project that involved a 1 MGD water treatment facility as well as a 100-mile distribution system.

“Our challenge was to provide safe, dependable water supply at a reasonable cost,” said John Wendele, a representative of the water supply corporation.

The entire project cost $13.3 million and was funded by state and federal loans and grants.

The citizens of west central Texas depend on this water supply as much as anyone else in the state, especially as the population continues to grow. The Texas Natural Resource Conservation Commission estimated that by the year 2050, 38% of the state’s population would not have enough water to meet the anticipated demand.

According to local officials, it is important for the growing area to conserve water while continually upgrading existing and building additional, necessary resources.

Romeoville, Ill.

The village of Romeoville, located 30 minutes southwest of Chicago, has undergone unprecedented growth in the last five years. Currently, Romeoville is growing at a rapid pace due to new home construction, commercial construction and economic development opportunities.

As the population grew, so did the number of wells, lift stations, pump stations and wastewater treatment plants. Currently, there are 12 wells, three pump stations, 19 sanitary lift stations and over 100 miles of water mains and sanitary sewers. The wells distribute an average of 4 MGD and have the ability to output seven million gallons into three elevated and four ground storage facilities, with a total capacity of five million gallons. Two wastewater treatment plants have the ability to process an average of six million gallons of wastewater daily.

Over time, the SCADA system that monitored these facilities over leased phone lines was deemed unreliable as the overall communication was slow and unimpressive.

Technological advances, reliability and security were all reasons why the village of Romeoville decided to upgrade to a wireless SCADA application.

“The goal of my public works department is reliable service for the citizens of Romeoville,” said Dan Bromberek, Romeoville Public Works director. “The fact that we are committed to providing this service through wireless SCADA upgrades shows that citizens and service are the first priority.”

While cost is always an issue with the village of Romeoville, it was never a factor with their wireless SCADA system upgrades. The benefits associated with the SCADA upgrade actually reduced the village’s expenses. To maintain the wireless service it cost $40 per month per site compared to $120 per month per site for the leased phone lines.

The new access to information also allowed the village to precisely diagnose a situation and ultimately allocate the appropriate resources necessary. For example, on any given alarm situation, the village knows the exact problem and can send the best-suited person for the job to solve it. This reduces operation costs and manpower, in turn, saving the village money.

Johnson County, Kan.

Good, clean tap water is something a lot of people take for granted. WaterOne, the Johnson County, Kan., water service provider, doesn’t take anything about its water distribution for granted.

Accordingly, Johnson County officials chose a user-configurable open system master SCADA system as an upgrade over their aging control system. Currently, software for the system is being installed at the WaterOne water distribution facility and should conclude before June 2005.

Johnson County officials cited that the pre-tested and pre-configured SCADA system has the ability to work with WaterOne’s existing field hardware, such as pumps and valves.

“With this SCADA system, WaterOne and its customers will be saving a lot of money in development time because it uses device templates, which allows us to design the system in half the time it would take to design any other SCADA system,” said Scott Baldwin, project manager for the installation.

The SCADA system ensures that Johnson County has the water where and when it is needed. It also monitors the entire water distribution system providing real-time data to a control room. This allows engineers to make immediate decisions based on need and availability of water resources.

The system can save all data in a process historical archived database, allowing WaterOne management to look at trends based on climate and environmental conditions. This permits planning for water usage and supplies for the future.

Total cost of Johnson County’s new SCADA system is around $700,000 however, city officials are convinced the system ensures more efficiency, cost-effectiveness, reliability and support in the long-run over the previous control system.

About the Author

Tim Gregorski

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