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>>Alexi Beck Gray: Most of us take for granted that when we turn on a faucet, fresh and safe drinking
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water will come out. But where does that water come from? And how does it get to our taps?
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And when it goes down the drain, where does it go?
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Hi, Alexi here from Opto 22. I'm here today in Waterford, Michigan, to get some answers
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to these questions. The Waterford Township Department of Public Works has invited us
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here to show us how they treat and transport water to its over 74,000 residents.
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It's a highly automated system with advanced monitoring capabilities. In fact, it's got more technology
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than I've ever seen in a water and sewer district. So let's go take a look.
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I am sitting here with Terry Biederman from Waterford Township's Department of Public Works.
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Terry, can you tell us a little bit about yourself?
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>>Terry: Well, I'm the director of Public Works for Waterford Township. It's a community
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that's about 35 miles northwest of Detroit. It's in Oakland County and we're responsible
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for 11 water treatment plants and we produce our own water. It comes from ground water
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and we treat it and pump it into the distribution system where we have elevated tanks. Sewer-wise,
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we've got 62 sewer pumping stations, 350 miles of sewer main, and 360 miles or so of water main.
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>>Alexi: Very cool. You've got quite an elaborate alarming system. How many alarms
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do you have and what happens with those alarms?
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>>Terry: We alarm on over 1200 different events because none of our facilities, water or
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wastewater facilities, are manned 24 hours a day. For example, we've got a program
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in our control scheme using, you know, Opto 22. Basically, when an operator walks into a plant,
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a dialog box will pop up on a screen and they've got to enter their password within 60 seconds.
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If they don't enter a password within 60 seconds and that water plant is running,
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the program will shut that plant down. We actually de-energize the motor control center and then
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our people will get e-mail notifications telling us that we've got an unacknowledged intrusion
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and that the pumps have been locked out so that they can respond accordingly.
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All of our facilities have got ingress/egress monitoring and it's all done through the Opto
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equipment as well. If the door opens, our people, you know, it'll get beamed back through the radio system,
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which then gets into the SCADA system and the alarming package. It tells us what
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facility it is and what type of ingress/egress it is, whether it is an internal motion detector
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that got tripped, or whether it was a door alarm. So we know at all times who's coming
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and going in the various facilities. We are currently using Opto 22 for everything in
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control and automation. When I came here as a director in 1996, I wrote specifications
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for a whole new SCADA system and it was centered around the Opto application.
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>>Alexi: Wow, it's amazing! I understand you get calls from all over North America
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from other municipalities interested in what you're doing here in Waterford. What is it about
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your water and sewer systems that make it so unique?
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>>Terry: Basically, I think where people see us a little differently than most other places
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is the way everything is integrated together. It's not one application. It's not SCADA's
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over here by itself, you know, or computer maintenance management's over here by itself, or document
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management's over here by itself. Everything is integrated within one application. Our
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GIS application integrates document management, water modeling, sewer modeling. They never
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have to leave that environment. They can go in, they can create work orders in that environment,
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they can search on work orders in that environment, they can bring up customer files in that environment.
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So we can respond very quickly to our customers' needs and we can give them accurate information
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a lot quicker than other communities can. We've also incorporated a broadband wireless
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network, which means our people basically are mobile and they've got the same bandwidth
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that they would literally have sitting at the desk in their office in the field.
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>>Alexi: You also do things like monitoring pumps, how often they're turning on. Why do you do that?
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>>Terry: Well, we monitor pumps on both water and wastewater. We monitor obviously if
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the pumps are running, power failures, station flooding conditions, communication
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failures, and all kinds of things. But more on the wastewater side, our sewer lift stations,
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because what we're doing is, every day, we reset them all at midnight. And what we're
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looking for is to make sure the pumps are alternating the way they're supposed to.
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And we look at the runtimes to make sure that the runtimes for each one are consistent
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with each other. For instance, if we've got a station that's got one pump that is double the runtime as the other
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pump, we know that we've got a pump there that's probably either ragged up, or needs some type of maintenance put on it,
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or really it could have a bad impeller, or whatever. Once again, it's proactive for us to go and take
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care of that, as opposed to reactive. You know you've got a pump that is running
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twice as long as the other one, well, that's a waste of energy.
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>>Alexi: You've seen energy savings from that as well?
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>>Terry: Absolutely, we've actually seen, probably pretty substantial energy savings.
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Keeping in mind that our system has grown from where in 1996, we could only produce
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14 million gallons of water a day, today we are producing almost 30 million gallons of
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water a day. And then of course, the energy costs have increased, probably doubled since
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then. So for it to only go up $60,000 USD over 12 years with that kind of an increase,
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and that's due to everything from control systems, to monitoring, to putting in variable
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frequency drives, you know a lot of energy management stuff. It's also saved us a tremendous
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amount of overtime because the system is really automated. What we are really doing is programming
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in a lot of our institutional knowledge, into the processes of these facilities so that
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the programs themselves take care of a lot of these things.
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>>Alexi: Even though you're not a programmer, you like to play around with the software.
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What do you like about it?
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>>Terry: I love the flowchart programming. I mean, that's the way I learned to program as an
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engineer, and it's very basic as opposed to say, ladder logic, which by the way,
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I can't believe anybody uses anymore [Alexi laughs]. But you know, you can make it as
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complicated as you want, but at its core, it's very basic. You know, you ask a question:
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Is a wet-well level greater than or equal to this level? And there are only two things can happen:
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it's either yes or no. Yes, you're going to do this, no you're going to do that. And then
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you just kind of cascade that through it. It's the way I think, basically.
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>>Alexi: So what were some of the key features that made Opto 22 such a good fit for your
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application and your needs?
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>>Terry: Well, it's PC-based, the cost is less, it's more open architecture than really
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most other applications that I've played with. I've used Motorola systems, I've
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use Square D systems, I've used Fisher Bailey systems, I've used Allen-Bradley systems,
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and I really like Opto's flexibility. I like their backward-compatible philosophy.
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I've got stuff that's been there 12 years. They all talk, they all work, they're very
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reliable and so yes, my overall satisfaction is that I am very happy with it.
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>>Alexi: Right. Thanks for talking with us Terry. And thank you for watching the video.
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For more information about this application, visit opto22.com. See you next time.
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