Data Integration, Visualization and Analysis in the Water Industry

by | Oct 16, 2012 | Control & Safety Systems, Industry, Water & Wastewater

Jim Cahill

Chief Blogger, Editor

Municipalities feel the squeeze between aging facilities and increasing regulatory requirements. Emerson’s Greg Schirm, a member of the Power & Water Solutions team, highlights ways they are addressing these conditions.

It seems that running a treatment plant or even a municipal water system was much simpler many years ago. Today, municipalities are facing numerous pressures including decaying infrastructure, loss of experienced workforce, and funding/budget reductions; never mind the increased operational, security and regulatory obligations.

How does one navigate these modern day challenges in the face of growing constraints? We are seeing many of our customers implement data integration and visualization strategies in order to maximize the usefulness of the abundant data available in their plants and corresponding systems. And many customers are using Emerson’s EDS solution to do this.

EDS is a client/server application package that acts as a multiple-system, multiple-site process integration and visualization tool. It provides accurate, up-to-date process information for executives, managers, supervisors and engineering analysts. The ability to monitor processes from anywhere within a user’s municipal IT architecture provides additional flexibility for improved operations, and enhanced evaluation and decision support.

To provide some context, we recently had a municipal wastewater customer implement an EDS Enterprise project that is gathering information from seven of the customer’s individual Ovation wastewater treatment plant control systems as well as other plant data sources including the SCADA and master metering systems.

This particular EDS Enterprise system integrates information from each plant EDS, iFix SCADA and MMP systems, and a Telog enterprise server to provide a single interface for viewing plant data from multiple sites. (The provided EDS cluster is scalable in size to accommodate additional systems.) Additionally, five years of OSIsoft PI data was migrated to the new EDS Enterprise system.

Authorized municipal wastewater personnel can now monitor operations at multiple sites from anywhere within the corporate organization. Each site’s EDS server tracks water runoff collected from water meters located throughout the service area. This data can then be viewed and monitored through a variety of predefined process diagrams, trends, alarm screens, and reports from any authorized location within their network.

A customized web-portal was also created for easy navigation to specialized trends, reports, point information, alarms, and user analyst profiles.

In the end, we are seeing more and more municipalities pursue these types of strategies. The ability to access and visualize important information has several intrinsic benefits:

  • More eyes on the process leads to a better understanding of current conditions and to quicker problem identification and resolution
  • Process experts benefit from up-to-date data at their fingertips instead of waiting for delivery of periodic reports
  • Enables remote access to key system information
  • Establishes a platform for energy management strategies, advanced analytics, and diagnostics via pattern recognition applications

Adopting a sound data integration and visualization strategy can help water and wastewater organizations take full advantage of the data available within their operations so that they can not only do more with fewer resources, but also achieve significant operational, environmental and economic efficiencies.

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The opinions expressed here are the personal opinions of the authors. Content published here is not read or approved by Emerson before it is posted and does not necessarily represent the views and opinions of Emerson.