News Overview

Wastewater treatment facility implements reliable, secure control system to eliminate unscheduled downtime


Wastewater Treatment  

Reliability and Securty in Wastewater Treatment

A Beneficial Application Story

When it comes to wastewater treatment, reliability of the systems used to manage the treatment is key. Régie intermunicipale des eaux de St-Césaire/Rougemont, a wastewater treatment facility serving the cities of St-Césaire and Rougemont in Quebec, learned this the hard way.

When the programmable logic controller that it had been using to control its wastewater treatment processes suddenly stopped working, the facility required a new, more reliable solution; and it needed it fast, to avoid the possibility of untreated wastewater being released into the river.


The facility turned to Nivek Automatisation, a custom solution integrator based in St-Césaire, Que. Nivek was tasked with retrofitting the automation and enabling communication between the main treatment facility and two remote pumping stations. Reliable operation and secure communication were a must moving forward.


The Project


The first part of the project involved retrofitting the automation with a solution that would get the system up and running quickly, but that would also provide long-lasting reliability.


“The main concern was the long-term reliability of the system,” explains Kevin Dufresne, Nivek’s president.


With that in mind, Nivek replaced the old PLC and SCADA (Supervisory Control and Data Acquisition) system with the compact, modular and highly reliable ILC 330 PN Inline Controller from Phoenix Contact. The controller features 112 digital inputs, 80 digital outputs, 16 analog inputs and 16 RTD inputs. It also features PROFINET interfaces, which enables it to couple to other controllers and systems, extending the field of application.


“The system is really easy to expand,” says Dufresne, adding that this is an important feature, “because the company plans to add additional capabilities in the future.”


The facility’s new SCADA system is based on Phoenix Contact’s Visu+ software, which offers visualization, trend representation and alarm management, while enabling data logging, trend display and recipe management — key features that meet the company’s data acquisition and report generation requirements. A bonus is that the software is also simple to use and enables easy access to data and reports.


Phoenix Contact’s Smart Managed Compact Switch (SMC) is also part of the updated solution. It is tailored to the retrofitted system to ensure optimum operation of the facility’s Ethernet network, as well as smooth data traffic for fast and consistent information flow.


The second part of the project involved enabling communication between two remote pumping stations and the main treatment facility. Here, Nivek employed an ILC 191 PLC, Phoenix Contact’s modular small-scale controller with 48 digital inputs, 16 digital outputs, four analog inputs, two analog outputs and one serial communication card. Each remote site also has Phoenix Contact’s network-capable EMpro energy meter with Modbus TCP communication and remote visualization using a TP touchscreen programmed with Visu+ software.


In addition, remote communication was made possible with the Phoenix Contact FL mGuard RS2000 unit, which provides rugged and industrially rated security functions, including firewall, routing and VPN to industrial networks, while providing secure, fast connectivity for remote installations. With its high-level, Layer-3 networking functions, the RS2000 is designed to protect industrial networks from outside attacks.


“We needed a very stable link for the communication with the remote sites, because the pumps at the remote sites need an authorization from the main site to start. The VPN with FL mGuard is stable and safe,” says Dufresne.


The next stage of the implementation, scheduled for 2019, is to measure oxygen in the system, and adjust the damper of the blower when less oxygen is needed. It will involve replacing one of the facility’s four 100-horsepower soft starters with a variable frequency drive to control blower speed. This step will eliminate the need for a technician to take bi-weekly readings, as well as the need to start and stop the blower manually.


Once the variable frequency drive is implemented, Dufresne estimates that it will reduce electricity consumption, resulting in energy savings of about 10 per cent, or an estimated $10,000 in savings.


Benefits Realized


Reliability — a must for this project — was one of the biggest gains the facility realized.


“Last month I connected to the system, and we were at 647 days up,” explains Dufresne. “That’s nearly two years without any unplanned downtime.”


Thanks to Nivek and its updated system, the wastewater treatment facility has a control solution that not only offers reliability, but also peace of mind.


8240 Parkhill Drive
Milton, Ontario L9T 5V7

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