The city will soon begin to use technology to monitor water levels and pressure with a system that can be seen on city hall and water department computer screens.

City drinking water is supplied by three wells — a storage reservoir, elevated tank, a series of underground pipes of varying age and size, and pumping stations.

Currently, water department employees complete daily inspections of the system to avoid any loss of pressure or shortage of water.

The new technology will reduce man-hours for inspections freeing water department workers for maintenance or repairs and will enable the department to notify individual customers if they are pumping more water than usual.

Aldermen approved the purchase and installation of a supervisory control and data acquisition (SCADA) system at the Feb. 18 board meeting.

In January, the city asked for bids for a SCADA system to monitor controls in both the water and wastewater systems.

Electronic Controls, St. Louis, was the lowest qualified bidder, with a bid of $314,638 for both departments.

After a review of the budget, officials decided to proceed with the water system portion of the project and awarded Electronic Controls a contract for $182,769.

Electronic Controls agreed to begin work on the system within 14 days of receiving the signed contract and completing the work in no more than 60 calendar days.

The SCADA will monitor water levels in the city’s three wells and in the storage reservoir and tank, and throughout the system.

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.

The system 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, water and sewer department director, also can see it at home.

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

Individual customers will benefit from the real-time water flow information.

If an individual is pumping more than the normal amount of water, due to a line break or a faucet left on, the new technology will pinpoint the overuse and allow the water department to telephone the user immediately notifying them that something is wrong and they are using too much water.

In the past, Daphne Lindemann, water department secretary, notified customers if they were using an unusual amount of water, but up to now she has been looking at meter readings provided by the crew, which could be weeks after the overuse. With the SCADA system, she will get a call from the police dispatcher and can call the user the same day the overuse is detected.