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Four Ways to Put Information Technology to Work on Your Wastewater System

wastewater-sitewalk.jpgWith new smartphones, home security and automation and entertainment options at our fingertips, technology is constantly changing. While not always as flashy as the latest apps, wastewater treatment technology has become just as useful. With our time and resources being stretched thinner with each passing day, putting technology to work for your wastewater treatment system makes a world of good sense. Keep reading for four ways to bring your wastewater operations into the 21st century.

1.) Remote Notifications

Many wastewater treatment operators are familiar with auto-dialers or telemetry, which have been available for decades since analog (think rotary dial) phone lines were the most modern and efficient way to transmit information quickly over long distances. Remote notifications today are used quite similarly, except that email and text messages are the most common communication medium. Basic off-the-shelf notification devices often allow up to four email address or text numbers to be programmed. When the sensors at your wastewater facility reach a trigger threshold, your device will automatically send alerts to several contacts. No more waiting until Monday morning to find out that your treatment chemical tank is empty. Your staff and/or contractor can be notified and mobilized immediately to replenish the chemical tank so that your treatment stays in compliance.

2.) Data Logging and Storage

Most devices that offer remote notification capabilities also store data log files onboard and can transmit them right to your inbox on a set schedule. Circular and strip paper chart recorders provide low-resolution data. When the regulatory limit is 5.5, there can be a big implications depending on whether that reading is 5.4 or 5.6. Meanwhile, an electronic data log allows the user to see numbers with near pinpoint accuracy to what the sensors are reading. Going electronic not only helps to eliminate paper files that clutter your desk or get misplaced when you need them most, but electronic data log files are much easier to store, search, share, and turn into useful tools such as tables and graphs for trending and analysis.

3.) Trending and Analysis

A data file isn’t much to look at until it is translated into something useful. The data collected by a logging device can help to recreate events that led to a premature failure or discharge violation, and help to predict when a failure is going to happen before it leads to costly emergency work and/or down time. Summarizing technical data from your logs can be made easy when the data already exists in an electronic format. If you have a periodic deliverable that could benefit from a visual depiction of data, simply import the data file into a spreadsheet, convert the data into a chart, then paste the chart into your report or presentation. Some devices even have convenient charts read to download for certain time ranges. This method can save tedious hours of manual data entry so you can concentrate on more important tasks.

4.) Remote Control

The ultimate in technology for wastewater treatment systems is SCADA or Supervisory Control and Data Acquisition. SCADA provides all of the features above, PLUS the ability to remotely control some or all aspects of your wastewater system as if you were standing in front of the control panel. SCADA is not a substitute for direct, hands-on operation using sight, smell, sound, and touch, but for many applications, the SCADA system allows multiple users to collaborate and solve problems more quickly than relying on information relayed over the phone by personnel in the field.

If your wastewater system is operating is operating in the dark ages, contact Triumvirate for a free evaluation with recommendations for putting technology to use at your facility.

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