Case Study: Iron House Sanitation District

Posted by jBrown on Tue, Mar 22, 2011 @ 7:19 PM

The Iron House Sanitation District in Oakley, Calif., uses a RACO Verbatim Gateway  autodialer as backup for its SCADA system.

Iron House’s SCADA system monitors the district’s wastewater treatment plant and its 30 lift stations with Opto 22 controllers. The controllers monitor sump level, pump status and power usage and failure, and communicate the data using radio modems.

The system uses a PC-based platform, relying on Paragon software engineered by Intec Control of Walpole, Mass. It continually interrogates the controls to get all the necessary information on the system, performing a complete system scan in just three seconds. The SCADA system also creates reports with the data it collects.

The Verbatim Gateway system provides backup during nights and weekends, when the treatment plant and lift stations are unmanned. It provides both alarm monitoring and status-checking functions. The system monitors up to 96 points, and reports alarms by calling a preprogrammed list of numbers until a plant staff member answers. Plant personnel also can call into the system to receive status updates at any time. Verbatim reports both alarms and status updates using preprogrammed voice messages. The system also provides failure protection with a backup battery and a power failure alarm.

Verbatim Gateway links to the SCADA system main computer with a Modicon Micro PLC, which converts the Modbus RTU master protocol to a Modbus RTU slave protocol.

With a Modbus-based link, Verbatim has to be the master. However, software engineers are developing a Modbus slave driver protocol for Paragon that will allow Verbatim to connect to the main computer without the Micro PLC.

The SCADA system collects data, then transmits it to Verbatim if it sense an alarm condition. Verbatim then begins to call its preprogrammed list of numbers to alert plant personnel. When a staff member answers the call, it reports the location and the problem with a pre-recorded voice message. The staff member acknowledges the alarm by pressing a button on the phone. Even if conditions return to normal, Verbatim will continue to call so that plant staff knows that a problem occurred.

To find out more about the Iron House Sanitation District and its Verbatim Gateway system, download the complete case study.

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