Upgraded systems prevent costly problems
North Port, Florida Utilities Department Depends on SCADA and Remote Alarm Notification
Responsible for the city’s water and wastewater infrastructure, North Port Utilities manages 115 lift stations, 30 miles of sewer gravity lines, 70 miles of sewer lines, 3,000 manholes, 1,632 fire hydrants, 307 miles of water transmission lines, 3,000 valves, booster stations and storage tanks at two wastewater plants and one water plant. Visualization software, including SCADA, helps the city’s utilities monitor lift stations and both water and wastewater plants, which drastically reduces the frequency of visits to remote sites.
City of North Port, Florida, wastewater treatment plant’s contact chamber that holds wastewater while being treated with chlorine for disinfection. The chlorine is injected, mixed, and allowed to remain in contact with the water for the required time.
Photo Credit: all images provided by Robert Davies, City of North Port, Florida, wastewater treatment plant
WIN-911 is our ‘eyes-on’ during the eight hours when the plants are not staffed,”
North Port Utilities Instrumentation and Controls Supervisor
The plant’s chlorine analyzer measures true total chlorine and offers real-time control by providing continuous reading that indicate when treatment conditions have changed.
For approximately 13 years, the city has relied on SCADA and WIN-911, an alarm notification software solution, to push critical alarm and event details to remote workers in any abnormal operating conditions. Three years ago, Robert Davies, North Port Utilities Instrumentation and Controls Supervisor joined the team. He oversees all electronics, electrical maintenance, and SCADA for the city’s water and wastewater plants and sewer lift stations. After thoroughly reviewing the existing setup, including hardware and software, and bringing the city’s new wastewater plant online, he updated the water and wastewater plants’ servers and upgraded to the latest versions of AVEVA System Platform and WIN-911 Interactive. This ensured the visualization and notification software that manage the utilities’ sites were running on the most robust products.
Overview of the city’s wastewater equipment using AVEVA’s System Platform connected to WIN-911 remote alarm notification software. When an alarm occurs on specific equipment, City of North Port can visualize the alarms through their SCADA system as shown in the computer image.
In his supervisory role, Davies is intimately involved with servicing and maintaining their SCADA applications. Davies is also responsible for the configuration of WIN-911 which includes setting up alarm escalation. For example, the water plant is set up on a six-hour, day-and-night schedule because when the plant is staffed during the day the system does not send notifications. However, when the plant is offline, WIN-911 becomes active and sends alarms, if necessary, such as a power failure. The water and wastewater sites run 24 hours but are staffed for 16.
“WIN-911 is our ‘eyes-on’ during the eight hours when the plants are not staffed,” Davies said.
City of North Port, Florida wastewater treatment plant screen shot of WIN-911 software.
From a simple callout list to an advanced escalation workflow, WIN-911 allows users to quickly organize alarm notifications based on alarm types, severity, worker roles, or just about any other criteria chosen.
The utilities staff is using WIN-911 to receive alerts via SMS, Voice, and Email. Davies is currently in the process of implementing the WIN-911 mobile app to streamline decision making through push notifications. This will allow the team to quickly see what is wrong, send an acknowledgment, and monitor alarm condition changes in real-time, right from a smartphone. The mobile app also promotes team problem solving through a chat feature that will help Davies’ team converse, brainstorm, and share solutions on-the-fly, from wherever they are — whether in the plant, at home, or on the road. Another benefit of the mobile app is how efficiency will be improved through the team visibility feature that shows who has seen an alarm as well as who has acknowledged it, reducing guesswork and redundant responses.
“I really appreciate the escalation alarm feature. First it notifies the plant main phone line, then the operator’s cell phone, then the chief operator, the superintendent and finally it will call me if no one else has responded to the notification,” commented Davies. “However, I’m looking forward to exploring the robust features on the new mobile app,” Davies said.
WIN-911 is a good, solid product that saves me a lot of time and works exactly as it is supposed to. The Tech Support team is always timely in helping resolve any issues”
North Port Utilities Instrumentation and Controls Supervisor
Actual images of test alarms on North Port Utilities Instrumentation and Controls Supervisor Robert Davies’ phone. Win-911 Mobile provides Davies and his team a faster, easier way to resolve industrial alarm conditions in real time.
Making a Difference
The alarm notification software has been extremely helpful during unexpected communication failures at some of the utilities’ booster station cellular sites in notifying team members when the cellular modems were down. Typically, the alarm callouts are for power failures, analytical instrument out of ranges, pump start fails, excessively high water levels, and compliance issues that require quick reaction from the team.
Utilities are always concerned with saving money and avoiding noncompliance fines.
WIN-911 software provides Davies and his team with confidence to keep things running smoothly. This regularly occurs with a wastewater treatment plant that must maintain a specific compliance residual in the pouring contact chamber because water is put out for irrigation reuse purposes. At night, when no one is at the plant, if residual is lost the system goes into a reject mode. The water that continues to come in must go somewhere, which leads to the possibility of retention pond flooding. Continuing this domino effect, if the retention ponds overflow, this water could go into local estuaries and cause a lot of problems. However, because of the WIN-911 alarm notification, these issues are avoided.
“Getting notifications about compliance issues saves us a substantial amount of money by preventing any fines from DEP [for being out of compliance],” said Davies.
Davies also cited how advanced notification from the alarm software prevents problems with the lift and sewer and pumping stations. He is planning to integrate a Data Flow Systems database to an OPC DA server to be able to connect to WIN-911 for alarm callout for this application.
“WIN-911 is a good, solid product that saves me a lot of time and works exactly as it is supposed to. The Tech Support team is always timely in helping resolve any issues,” added Davies.
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