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Modern, Automated Controls Increase Efficiency, Security
Water/Wastewater Systems Operator IV Rick Lawrence demonstrates a new dashboard for the District’s automated control system, which displays pressures, flows, and other critical data from far-flung water and sewer facilities on a single screen.
Situation: Ten years ago, DSRSD was using an outdated SCADA (supervisory control and data acquisition) system, connected by a serial network, to remotely monitor and control pump stations, reservoirs, turnouts, and sewer facilities.
Many components had been built and programmed at different times by different vendors, making it cumbersome for Field Operations staff to learn, operate, troubleshoot, and repair the system.
Because the serial network carried data round-robin rather than point to point, it could take 20 minutes or longer to send and verify a single, simple adjustment at a remote facility.
Solution: In 2017, the District completed a $6.7 million, eight-year project to modernize automated control systems and the data networks that connect them. The improvements help staff observe, adjust, and troubleshoot water levels, pressures, flows, and water quality more efficiently.
Now operators use an integrated online “dashboard” to monitor and communicate with 47 facilities--from anywhere. Electronic commands are sent, executed, and confirmed in seconds, whether employees are working in the control room or on a mobile device in the field.
The District integrated databases and standardized system components and data displays, making it easier for staff to view and analyze real-time and historical information. These improvements also simplify staff training and reduce maintenance and design costs.
In addition to upgrading to high-speed networks, the project enhanced network and software security by adding monitoring, alarms, managed switches, firewalls, software version control, and disaster recovery capability. The District also strengthened physical security at the facilities, adding intrusion alarms that provide real-time notifications to staff.
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