How SCADA Shapes the World (Part 1 – Water)

There was a time when hearing someone use terms like scum, sludge, or grit chamber would have made me think I was listening in on the creation of a new comic series or primetime TV drama. Now, when I hear these terms (which, incidentally, is not often) I know that I am actually listening in on a discussion about something much more significant. These are terms used in the waste water treatment industry. I know “waste water” is not really a hot buzzword with the kids today, but it is very important aspect of today’s efforts to conserve and sustain our precious resources. And does a resource get any more precious than water? I think not.

So, what does this blogger think he’s up to writing about waste water treatment on a blog that has been clearly dedicated to SCADA? Well, that’s about as good of a transition as I can muster.

The waste water treatment industry has become one of the largest consumers of SCADA software. It just so happens that the treatment process is one that lends itself quite nicely to the features of a SCADA deployment, and the success of such deployments has only accelerated the trend.

A powerful SCADA system has optimal tools for enhancing operational efficiency, from detecting leaks to controlling distribution. One immediate benefit facilities receive after implementing a visualization solution is that small leaks can be detected before they become larger and a major (more expensive) problem. By carefully monitoring the conditions through each stage of the treatment process, the slightest abnormality becomes immediately noticeable. Detecting small problems before they become larger can save facility operators and maintenance technicians a tremendous amount of time – and the facility itself will save money.

Before SCADA, technicians would have to go out in the field to manually inspect gauges on each individual tank. Pump stations would be visited daily. Now, all of these conditions can be monitored remotely, allowing technicians to focus on improving plant operations and increasing efficiency. All of this has led to an increase in the output of accountable water.

So, SCADA is helping water treatment facilities save time, money, hardware and – most importantly – water. No wonder more and more facilities are implementing SCADA systems. Water treatment is just another one of the many ways that SCADA is helping shape the world in which we live.

(For more information on SCADA in water treatment, or to view a case study, visit our website.)


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