Utility integrates control across 41 remote stations

Running, maintaining, and upgrading a sewer system is challenging enough when a municipality has unlimited project funding. However, when funding is tight and a manufacturer no longer supports installed control equipment or can provide a reasonably priced alternative, the job becomes far more difficult.

02/01/2005


Running, maintaining, and upgrading a sewer system is challenging enough when a municipality has unlimited project funding. However, when funding is tight and a manufacturer no longer supports installed control equipment or can provide a reasonably priced alternative, the job becomes far more difficult.

This problem was recently faced by Orangetown Department of Environmental Management & Engineering, responsible for the sewer system that serves about 50,000 people in New York's southern Hudson River Valley. Orangetown had 41 remote sewage pump stations, only 11 with networked via radio telemetry. After receiving a grant from the State of New York to upgrade controls and connect all 41 stations, the municipality discovered that the supplier of its existing control and telemetry equipment no longer supported it. Alternatives were deemed too expensive.

Robert J. Beckerle, director of the Orangetown Department of Environmental Management & Engineering, sought a reasonably priced solution with more robust capabilities that would integrate with the company's Microsoft Windows 98-based LAN and be supported by the manufacturer through its lifetime. Optimum Controls Corp. (OCC) of Reading, PA, integrated GE Fanuc's Cimplicity HMI/SCADA, part of the Proficy Intelligent Production Solutions software family, and VersaMax controller.

With pump stations from 20-hp submersible motors on float balls to 1,000 hp (four, 250 hp pumps) with variable frequency drives and ultrasonic level controls, Orangetown houses a tremendous range of applications.

For continuity and ease of maintenance, each of Orangetown's 41 remote sewage pump stations are configured similarly. The stations' control logic and cabinets have three designs to match the diversity of applications: two pumps with float controls; three pumps with float controls; and three pumps that receive analog signals from ultrasonic indicators.

Pumps are controlled through variable-speed ac frequency drives that match the pump speed to the inflow. Each configuration has a GE Fanuc VersaMax PLC, which monitors and controls performance indicators such as alarms, wet well levels, pump speed/inflow, and status points.

The PLC at each station transmits pump data via a wireless Modbus network to a Cimplicity SCADA system in the plant. Information received through the radio telemetry system is distributed to four stations through an internal LAN. One station has a Cimplicity server that provides status of each pumping station and alarming functions. The other three stations are clients that enable plant personnel to monitor the pumping stations from their desks.

Beckerle says, "We receive more complete information about each pumping station at a better price than we did with our previous solution. And the new system has experienced zero downtime. The installation itself, according to Beckerle and Terry Campbell of OCC, was relatively easy, and the equipment is user-friendly.

www.gefanuc.com





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