Reliable operation of three water treatment plants as well as elevated water towers, booster pump stations and raw water wells – located at a distance across a large county with diverse elevation levels and pressure zones – is an inevitable challenge. Yet for the Clermont County Water Resource Department, the conditions are a reality. Operating with hardware and software that had already surpassed their expected utility by a decade further complicated the challenge for CCWRD.
As responsible stewards of the county’s funds, CCWRD professionals resourcefully forestalled the expense of a system upgrade by diligent and astute maintenance. However, failures became more frequent and when they occurred, replacement parts were sparse – and expensive due to limited supply. CCWRD recognized that ensuring stability and accuracy required faster and more efficient control levels for its water production operation. Wanting solid expertise and astute oversight, CCWRD selected Rawdon Myers for the needed update.
The initial focus of the project was the replacement of the 20-year-old system components with more progressive hardware and software. The scope became multi-faceted with RMI’s recommendation additionally to restructure the system’s communications for a wholly integrated network across all remote sites and plants.
With the new hardware and software came an entirely redesigned Human Machine Interface (HMI), enabling CCWRD to harness current industry capabilities. Because of the HMI overhaul, they can more effectively view their system, manage their processes and organize their data in ways previously not achievable.
VPNs, located at each of the three plants and two of the booster pump stations, create a private tunnel in addition to the private Verizon cell network tunnel. Numerous security protocols are in place, such as SSL encryption, firewalls and password authentication. Multiple failsafe protections have been implemented as well, including redundant VPN tunnels, redundant programmable logic controllers (PLC), and a fail-over internet connection. Voice, email and text alarms are sent via landline and/or internet client email.
Communication among the sites is fast and efficient, a result of RMI’s expertise. Screens provide more complete and varied information, organized for greater clarity. Operators appreciate the user-friendly layout and functionality enabling them to readily review critical information so they can take action to effectively control their production process. One benefit is a “sticky note” used by operators to electronically document an issue, ensuring a trackable trail between personnel and even across shift changes.
Rawdon Myers reconfigured the county’s existing cellular equipment, reprogramming their modems to utilize a simplified and stronger network, while managing the challenges of the entire system’s integration from a series of separate plants into a unified network utilizing a singular SCADA system and communications structure.
To ensure a smooth transition and an efficient learning curve, RMI provided several components. Because of the 24-hour operation of CCWRD, two 2-hour training sessions were held. Additionally, a 70-page manual with thorough explanations, supported by screenshots as a visual reference, was provided. Most important in ensuring a smooth transition is Rawdon
Myers’ accessibility. Located within a 15-minute drive of CCWRD, RMI is always a phone call away, 24/7/365.
The new SCADA system brings significant advantages for the Clermont County Water Resource Department:
- More robust daily/monthly reports allowing for correction of potential problems before they become critical
- Ability to remotely access all sites from the VPN connection
- Granular activity and production tracking
- Efficient and thorough resource management
“Rawdon Myers wrote the SCADA program for our BMW plant in 2012, so we knew firsthand the quality of their work. We understood that our recent upgrade would be challenging and were confident that RMI was able to meet our needs. RMI had the skill, experience, responsiveness and integrity that we wanted.”
— Tim Neyer, Assistant Director of Operations, Clermont County Water Resources Department