City Wants New System To Monitor Water Levels - The Missourian: Local News

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City Wants New System To Monitor Water Levels

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Posted: Friday, January 17, 2014 12:00 pm

The city of Pacific is seeking proposals from qualified bidders to install a new supervisory control and data acquisition (SCADA) system to monitor water levels in the city’s three wells and in the storage reservoir tank.

The information collected can be used for monitoring real time water levels, sending an alarm if water levels drop and for keeping records needed for reports, according to City Administrator Harold Selby.

“If there is a fire or a water main break and we lose a lot of water, the reservoirs can empty,” Selby said. “The SCADA system will notify the police department dispatcher that we’ve lost a lot of water and she can contact city hall with an alarm.”

The dispatcher will receive a signal and call water and sewer department personnel for a number of malfunctions in the systems.

The city has three wells that pump water to city reservoirs and feed the water into the water mains.

The way the system works is it reads inputs such as flow, pressure, water level, power usage, etc., and sends a signal to a computer in the city maintenance shed or city hall.

“Robert (Brueggemann) can even see it at home,” Selby said.

The system will monitor the flow of water through the city. If a break occurs, and more water is moving than normal, the dispatcher will be notified.

Pumps that lift drinking water to Osage Hills and Forest Glen subdivisions also will be monitored.

“If for any reason those pumps are not working and pressure drops there would be no water for the folks in those subdivisions,” Selby said. “There is a small tank up there, but we can’t let it run out of water.”

The monitor on the pump would notify the dispatcher if a drop in water pressure at the pumps occurs.

The wastewater system also will be monitored.

“We have to pump wastewater over hills,” Selby said. “If that were to go out, we’d have a problem. The monitor sends a signal back to the dispatcher.”

Some pumps are in remote locations that have back-up generators, which also will be monitored by the SCADA system.

“The system we have now is antiquated,” Selby said. “It’s unreliable and we can’t get parts for it.”

Every day, water and sewer personnel make rounds to each of the data collections points, visiting every pump and lift station in the city as well as the water tank and reservoir.

Sometimes a reservoir is low because of something as simple as a switch that is stuck, but the problem isn’t detected until a physical inspection is made.

“The old system didn’t let us know if there was a drop in the reservoir,” Selby said.

The new technology will eliminate the need for daily checks on more than two dozen points throughout the city, he said, and put vital information at the fingertips of Robert Brueggemann, water and sewer director, and Dan Rahn, city engineer.

Recent new technology in the SCADA systems allows cameras to be placed at all locations so crews can visually see what is happening at the location.

Even individual customers will benefit. The city has had cases of individual users pumping 100,000 gallons of water a day due to a line break or a faucet left on. The new technology will pinpoint the over use and allow the water department to telephone the user immediately notifying them that something is wrong and they are using too much water.

“The way it is now, Daphne (Lindemann) notifies customers if they’re using an unusual amount of water, but she is looking at meter readings provided by the crew, which can be weeks after the overuse,” Selby said. “Now she will get a call from the police dispatcher and can call the user the same day the over use is detected.”

If someone opens a fire hydrant in a remote area, the system will pinpoint the site and notify the dispatcher of the water usage.

Cost

Estimated cost of the system is $100,000, but the increased security of the water supply, as well as the savings in labor and fuel for city crews to make the daily rounds, easily justify the expenditure, officials said.

“This system offers us a lot of opportunities to protect and improve our water system,” Selby said. “Everybody benefits.”

According to the public notice, bid documents will be available Jan. 10 and can be obtained from 21 Design Group, 901 West 14th St., Suite 230, Washington, MO 63090, for a cost of $5. Bids will be opened Jan. 28.

If a bid is awarded, a notice to proceed with the work will be issued in February.

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