More Data for State’s First Membrane Bioreactor Wastewater Treatment Plant

6 min video  /  3 minute read

Project Scope

  • Tags: 13,956
  • Screens: 37
  • Clients: 7
  • Alarms: 908
  • Devices used: 3 workstations (laptop, desktop, tablet), 55-inch touchscreen, 6 PLCs, 42 VFDs
  • Architecture used: Standard
  • Database used: 1 SQL Server Database
  • Historical data logged: 2,092 tags per second

Project Overview

This was a SCADA project for the first membrane bioreactor wastewater treatment plant in the state of Arkansas. The City of Decatur’s plant treats water from municipal, industrial, and commercial sources. The new SCADA system provides the Utilities Department with real-time decision-making data it had never had before.


The plant previously had a non-existent controls system made up of an indicator light board and push button panels. The plant was not connected to the other utility departments. There was no line of sight on how much waste was being treated in real time for the various sources. The Utilities Department had to rely on manual data prone to error for invoicing the municipal, industrial, and commercial sources.


Using Ignition, H2O Innovation and Automation Station upgraded the existing indicator light board and push button panels to a full state-of-the-art SCADA application. The team added local control to multiple automation systems, real-time trending, reporting, and a data historian. The SCADA system is now being used by the City of Decatur’s Mayor, the Director of Public Works, and neighboring cities’ Utilities Directors — allowing them to make real-time decisions for their respective departments.

Using Python scripting, H2O and Automation Station were able to bring real-time weather data and a live radar map into the historian. Now the City can view historical weather events and correlate that to process data to trend how its plant reacts to large storms. This allows the City to take preventive actions prior to weather events in order to ensure the plant remains in compliance.

The plant’s operators now have the ability to enter data and upload documents from its lab into the SCADA system. The City can then trend this lab data against other process variables, which helps ensure that the plant meets compliance thresholds.


This project allowed H2O and Automation Station to push the standardized approach to SCADA design. The two companies were able to develop scripts that will mine a PLC to automatically populate UDT tags and link to templates. This allows for rapid development, as the system can populate all of the UDTs with a single click of a button.

The City benefitted by modernizing its system. It now has the ability to make real-time decisions based on data to ensure compliance. For example, the City can work with the neighboring cities’ utilities departments to temporarily divert water in high-demand situations so that no overflows occur. Now that the SCADA is deployed, the plant can accept waste from a commercial factory that needs real-time data to meet regulatory obligations.

Additional Information

The wastewater treatment plant is the first membrane bioreactor treatment plant in the state of Arkansas. A big concern was the increase in energy consumption most membrane bioreactors have. H2O implemented several energy-saving modes to alleviate the increased amount of energy used. Using the SCADA system, real-time energy consumption is tracked, and reports demonstrate the savings.

H2O and Automation Station also automated the plant’s reporting. Discharge Monitoring Reports (DMRs) submitted to the state are generated from Ignition, allowing the City to save time manually entering data. There is also an upload function to store pertinent information associated to each report on the server, such as in-house daily logs, email correspondence, and reports from a third-party laboratory.

Project Information

Created By:   H2O Innovation & Automation Station

H2O Innovation is a leader in customized water and wastewater treatment solutions using membrane technologies. The company designs and fabricates state-of-the-art, integrated water treatment systems for municipal, industrial, and commercial users. H2O also specializes in applications for drinking water, water reuse, wastewater treatment, and industrial process water. Automation Station offers unique industrial SCADA solutions, Visual Management tools such as KPI Dashboards, Facility/Energy Management, OEE and Andon Systems. Located in South Texas, the company delivers high quality solutions on both sides of the US/Mexico border. Automation Station is dedicated to helping industries continually improve their processes through automation, and aims to exceed their expectations.

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Posted on September 30, 2019