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Session 10A: Utility Planning - Livestream
8:00am - 8:45am
Being “Smart” Is Essential For The Utility Of The Future: Understanding What Is Hard To See In The Data
Brown and Caldwell, United States of America; firstname.lastname@example.org
Utility leaders find themselves caught in a paradox of working within a society that increasingly achieves benefits through smart technologies and the reality that their organizations remain unable to capitalize on large utility data storage across systems often referred to as “dark data.” Bringing this dark data into the light and leveraging past and future investments in digital technologies is essential for effective utility management. Of the nearly 60,000 water and wastewater utilities in the U.S., only a small percentage have tapped into existing data resources to achieve effective utility management.
Today’s utilities are challenged by increasing customer expectations, the need to continuously improve efficiency, loss of institutional knowledge, and managing an aging and complex infrastructure. Managers want to believe technology holds the promise of solving problems and improving service. Yet these same managers find themselves asking questions like, “Is my existing data any good”, “are smart solutions really going to improve my bottom line”, and “do I have the workforce to support more advanced technology solutions”. For many, smart solutions have the appearance of “supervisory control and data acquisition (SCADA) with a new coat of paint” or something that seems to over promise as many other new ideas have done.
Answering the questions above is possible by taking a phased approach customized to the utility’s vision and digital technology requirements to allow for building confidence in smart utility solutions. A phased approach allows the utility to explore the possibilities of smart solutions on specific use cases testing their efficacy in a practical manner.
Elements of this presentation were featured at 2019 WEFTEC and in a Podcast hosted by Water Online. This paper will present use cases implemented in various utilities using a phased approach that allows the utility to explore the possibilities of smart solutions on specific use cases testing their efficacy in a practical manner.
8:45am - 9:30am
The City of Vancouver Has Reduced Significant Utility Risk and Improved Use of Enterprise Data Through Re-design and Replacement of the Wastewater Control System IT Infrastructure
IT infrastructure is the heart of the control system used for automated monitoring and control of critical infrastructure, including wastewater systems. Advances in IT components and implementation approaches can be applied to provide faster, more reliable control systems with better access to integrated enterprise data to help engineering, planning, and O&M staff better understand and manage their facilities. Correct application requires thoughtful planning and regular upgrade to keep the system functional and reliable.
The City and its contract operations partner, Jacobs, are nearing completion of a major Supervisory Control and Data Acquisition (SCADA) system upgrade of the City’s two Wastewater Treatment Plants. The SCADA upgrade included complete redesign of the IT systems at the City’s Wastewater facilities, which has reduced major risk and provided significant value to the City.
The new core network and computer equipment includes virtualized servers with automated backups to reduce physical space and facilitate disaster recovery, ring networks for improved reliability, a DMZ for protected access of shared system data, updated computer hardware with current operating systems and software to accommodate supportability and reliability, and new fiber optic cable infrastructure. The project will also network-connect large Variable Frequency Drive motors for monitoring of voltage and current, and remote resetting of drive failures. The SCADA system will be linked to the computerized maintenance management system to allow work orders to be automatically triggered based on equipment alarms or runtimes from the SCADA system.
Operators can now monitor and control the entire wastewater system from workstations at either treatment plant or from any remote station. Jacobs support staff provide troubleshooting and maintenance via secure remote access, and are notified of problems in real time to provide faster response.
This presentation will include video interviews with plant staff describing what has changed, current operational practices and lessons learned.