Tuesday, November 19, 2019

Systems that Work – How the City Invests in Water Quality

One thing is for sure, water quality has always been a top priority for the City of Southlake.

The City has consistently invested in applications to allow the City and residents to monitor water usage, detect for leaks as well as provide information about water quality. 

At the October 15 City Council meeting, Council approved the annual purchase agreement for BEACON Cellular Service for the City’s Water Smart Program with Badger Meter Inc. and upgrades to the City’s Supervisory Control and Data Acquisition (SCADA) system.  

BEACON is a cellular technology system that transmits daily readings to a central database through a cellular network. It’s the main source of the City’s Water Smart application. The BEACON Eye On Water operates as a central database to store utility customer’s water consumption readings to accurately bill the customer each month. 

This software tool also improves the customer experience by providing the customer an option to review their water usage in real time online through the EyeOnWater app.  In addition, it equips Public Works staff with the ability to monitor water operations such as investigate leaks, identify backflows and hardware issues and maintain cellular radio communication. All meters within the City of Southlake are equipped with this technology and residents can take advantage by downloading the EyeOnWater app for FREE.

The upgrades to the SCADA system are geared toward the City’s water distribution system and waste water collection system which is used to monitor and control the functionality and operation of drinking water systems, disinfectant levels, storage levels of the elevated and ground storage tanks of drinking water, pumping capacity of waste water lift stations, and delivery capability of transmission mains of both systems.  

To maintain this system and ensure that it is reporting real-time data, SCADA software coding, servicing and maintenance are required when incidentals arise. Currently, the SCADA platform is operating on Windows 2008 and its end of life support will expire at the end of 2019. 

The new upgrades will have the Wonderware software which includes the procurement of licensing, installation, setup and running the program on a cloud base reporting system. The upgrade will also bring enhanced reporting features to meet increasing regulatory requirements. 

 “Using the Wonderware and BEACON technology to implement cost-effective solutions for both the citizens and the utility allows us to take proactive measures when and if an issue arises at the customer’s tap,” stated Water Supervisor, Kyle Flanagan, “It also helps us maintain water quality as well keep a real-time eye on the overall condition of water and waste water infrastructure .”