The Press Newspaper
For about a year, a room at the Northwestern Water & Sewer District office building near Bowling Green has somewhat resembled a control center at the National Aeronautics and Space Administration.
A display wall of eight, 55-inch screens allows district personnel to monitor the system of water and sewer lines, hydrants, pumps and valves for problems. Because district crews working in the field travel in Geographic Position System-equipped vehicles, their locations are known to personnel at the office and they can easily be dispatched to where they are needed.
Gavin Smith, the district’s information technology director, describes the telemetry system as “our Water and Sewer Warning and Control Center” or “WASWACC” for short; though many district employees call it the “NASA wall” or the “display wall.”
“It provides situational awareness for our dispatch personnel in the operations department and it serves as a command center where there is an emergency event such as large water leak or substantial flooding after a major rain event,” he said, adding the screens can be configured to link to security cameras at remote sites or other software or websites that may be needed in an emergency.
The system was funded with a rural development grant of $150,000 from the U.S. Department of Agriculture.
Simon Gundy, assistant superintendent of the district, said the system is a vast improvement over what was in place.
“The system monitors sewer pumps at 80 different sites as well as monitoring nine wastewater plants,” Gundy said. “This technology is far superior to any we have had in the past. With Geographic Information System layers available on the display wall, we have hydrants, main line valves, water and sewer lines, with all the associated specifications on county maps. This allows us to pinpoint the exact problems and specifications of the lines/valves so we can fix problems with quicker response times using the right tools for the problems that do occur.”
The telemetry system is constantly monitoring the network of alarms in towers and pumps, he said, and some problems can be fixed remotely by a technician with a laptop.
AquaHawk Alerting is offering the service to customers of the district to help manage water usage.
Jerry Greiner, district president, describes the program as a “state-of-the-art leak detection and notification system.”
“AquaHawk is an amazing system, where you are notified of problems and, in my opinion, the best feature is to set up a monthly budget to reduce usage and save money on utility bills,” he said.
AquaHawk has features that allow the system to send alerts by text, email, the Internet or direct mail. Customers can also see estimated bills to date.
Details are available at www.nwsd.org.
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