At a Glance
Until recently, West Dundee lacked access to real-time flow data and timelines from a remote wastewater metering flume because it was retrieved manually from a small monitoring shed. The village implemented a small-scale SCADA system which enabled quick access to water flow data and faster response times.
The Village of West Dundee serves over 7,300 residents and counts 2,600 sewage service connections under its management. All village wastewater flow data is sent to Fox River Water Reclamation District (FRWRD) and is currently metered through a Parshall Flume that has historically displayed both its current flow rate and totalized flow on a local readout and paper chart recorder in the small, remote metering station. The paper chart recorder records the instantaneous flow rate, and the meter totalizer keeps track of the total gallons that have passed through. The village’s wastewater is split between two different entities, and reports were traditionally sent to FRWRD via manual data entry once per month.
Adam Peters, West Dundee Utilities Superintendent, and his 3-person staff made daily rounds to the sewer flow points where they record data manually. This gave them point-in-time snapshots of the data. For a time, this was the only way to access any of that data.
In 2018, the Village asked Waterly for help to automate the process. One idea was to install a closed-circuit television camera (CCTV), fixed on the totalizer and viewable at their Public Works center. This, at least, gave them remote access to the totalizer data, but even that was limited, as there was not real-time trend data available – but it was still an improvement. Superintendent Peters investigated having a remote SCADA node installed, but at quoted costs of up to $15,000, it was outside the budget for the Village.
West Dundee used/is using Blue Pillar and Waterly to address this/these challenge(s).
Waterly, working in partnership with the new water data platform, WaterClick, and the Village, found and vetted Blue Pillar, a company whose IIoT Gateway device securely connects industrial equipment to the Internet for trending and notification. With Waterly, Blue Pillar could assemble an affordable remote monitoring gateway package to transmit the data to the Cloud. The gateway is a cellular-based device that West Dundee connected in line with the existing paper chart recorder and metering equipment to provide a real-time flow rate and totalizer pulse reading in a one-way, encrypted cloud message packet (transmitted every 5 minutes). This data is then shared with Waterly's new integrated data platform called WaterClick, which then is also shared with FRWRD, facilitating more collaboration between the utilities department and the water district.
Within a few weeks of seeking a new solution, West Dundee had the remote monitoring gateway connected to its Parshall Flume metering device and reported flow rates. This new access to wastewater flow data allows the utilities to address developing issues quickly, improving resiliency to benefit the village’s residents. According to Superintendent Peters, now that they have near-real-time data, they can see the peaks and valleys in the flow that explain variations in data and associated fees. The data paints new pictures they didn’t have the ability to see before.
- Village of West Dundee, the FRWRD district and other nearby towns now have shared access to current data necessary to closely monitor water levels in the case of a public safety emergency.
- The new system was implemented quickly at an affordable price, and with a seamless integration it was easy for staff to access summary data.
- With a more unified picture of data, staff can now easily use trend data to explain billing anomalies, which could not be done before.
- Staff shortages are no longer a constraint to having accurate data from the station, giving staff visibility on weekend flow rates without making the trip.
- The village saved over $3000/year in labor costs, not including vehicle time and mileage, as well as the $150 spent yearly on chart paper.
Who Should Consider?
Water and wastewater utilities looking for simple and affordable automation of remote water or wastewater assets, improved data accuracy and visibility on a smaller municipality budget.