Water Authority Leverages Ignition for Faster Processes & Lower Costs

6 min video  /  3 minute read

Project Overview

The Arapahoe County Water and Wastewater Authority operates a Collection and Distribution (C/D) system of approximately 30 sites, consisting of waste water lift stations, water wells, storage tanks and booster pump stations serving approximately 3,500 homes and businesses in an eight-square mile area south of Denver, Colorado. The system uses over 30 Rockwell programmable controllers at each site communicating to three Master Terminal Units via serial radios which transmit data across Ethernet radio to a Master PLC, using over 300 message instructions.

The operator interface used out-of-support HMI software, was aging, and depended on communications from Data Highway so it could not be virtualized, and the PLC was also obsolete. The system has over 400 alarms and due to long polling times, operators were constantly going out to the remote sites to check on alarms at a high cost of staff overtime. The IT staff were challenged to support the system, and few local integrators could work on the system, which made the addition of sites and changes to the HMI nearly impossible. The historical data system used a proprietary flat-file database that could not be accessed using current database tools.

The Authority wanted to use open-source software and unify its systems across four treatment facilities to enable staff usage, improve support and reliability, and minimize costs by eliminating operating system licenses. The Authority was happy to find the Ignition software that enabled the HMIs to run on VMWare ESXi servers using Ubuntu Linux while saving money by using Linux cube workstations running the Ignition clients.

The system has approximately 1,800 tags and 75 graphics screens. The Authority uses three Ignition clients on a regular basis, and uses additional clients for after-hours support. There are over 400 alarm tags in use for the remote sites. The system collects process data for 500 tags using Ignition transactions and stores data in a MySQL process database and uses store/forward to a central MySQL database. There are several clients in use as well as clients that are used for after-hours monitoring using a VPN and Windows terminal server. The virtualization technologies make the backup and restore process seamless and reliable, and the Ignition client system running on the Ubuntu Cubes has simplified IT department support.

Innovative SCADA, the Authority’s selected integrator, configured a development server at its office during the system development and provided access to the Authority so that staff could review screens and collaborate on system design as screens were created. The existing system was accessible by the Innovative SCADA team so that database tags could be verified during development. Standardization was supported through the use of many templates for most of the screen components.

The Ignition system was able to provide more accurate data by using expressions that eliminated rounding errors with the existing system, and also utilizing auto conversion of the integer register to floating point tags. Ignition’s ease of use has enabled operators to easily respond to alarms, and the improvement to the telemetry system has reduced the polling times from 20 minutes to less than one minute, eliminating a large number of false alarms, reducing site visits and staff overtime.

Innovative SCADA also employs an ESXi server in its offices with current virtualized clones of the Authority’s HMIs and PLCs to enable timely remote support.

Project Information

Created By:   Innovative SCADA

Innovative SCADA was formed in 2014 and specializes in the application of HMIs for water and waste water treatment facilities. Innovative SCADA has four employees with combined experience of over 75 years. We have experience in many different brands of programmable controllers, radios, HMI systems and various types of instruments and control systems. Our team has specialized experience in vendors’ packages, like turbo blowers, centrifuges, and batch reactors as well as conventional advanced waste water treatment plants and packaged water filtration plants.

Website: www.innovativescada.com

Project For:   Arapahoe County Water and Wastewater Authority

ACWWA (pronounced “Aqua”) provides drinking water and waste water services to the people living and working within its service area. With an area of 3,500 residences and businesses primarily in Arapahoe County, some of the customers we serve are actually located in northern Douglas County. While most of our customers are businesses, over the past few years, we have realized more residential development of both multi- and single-family homes. At eight square miles, our service area is located about 10 miles southeast of downtown Denver, Colorado.

Posted on September 1, 2016