Suffolk County upgrades to Xylem’s SCADA system

Outdated monitoring and control systems for wastewater pumping stations were costing the Suffolk County Department of Public Works thousands of dollars per year. When the utility installed the next generation of Xylem’s Flygt Outpost SCADA system to more proactively manage their sewer system, it saved $182,000 (S$259, 148.89) per year.

Managing large operations more effectively
The Suffolk County Department of Public Works (DPW) in Long Island, New York, has a large district to manage. It includes 26 sewage treatment plants and sewer districts, over 80 pumping stations, and more than 1,250 miles of sewers. The plants range in size from 35,000 gallons per day up to 30.5 million gallons per day.

With such a large district, Suffolk County DPW wanted to upgrade its SCADA system with smart technology and data analytics. This would enable them to optimise energy and performance, proactively maintain assets, and manage their assets remotely more effectively, so they didn’t need staff constantly in the field.

As an example, staff often spent up to four hours traveling to and from a single site to respond to nuisance call-outs. What’s more, technicians were physically checking pump stations every day to ensure they were operating properly. With more than 80 pump stations, that practice added $182,000 per year in labor costs.

By improving automation and controls, they could get better visibility and control of critical water and wastewater operations.

Xylem’s Flygt automation and control SCADA solution
Having a long history with Xylem and their Flygt pumps and mixers, Suffolk County DPW engaged Xylem and their local Flygt distributor, GA Fleet, to find a solution. The DPW decided to implement the next generation of Xylem’s Flygt Outpost SCADA system. The utility based its decision on its success with a previous version of the Flygt Outpost SCADA network, which enabled the utility to manage the flow and peaks of its collection system in real time during Hurricane Sandy in 2012.

During the hurricane, Suffolk County expertly utilised the strength of the Flygt Outpost SCADA tool to remotely monitor their lift stations and field assets. This enabled them to proactively make system corrections to ensure that there were no wastewater spills. The real-time data and analytics of the system avoided unnecessary costs and helped protect the environment.

Using MultiSmart® iPSM to prevent problems
Along with the Flygt Outpost SCADA system, Suffolk County DPW installed Xylem’s MultiSmart® Pump Station Managers (iPSM) to simplify its waste and sewage water management processes. Beyond being a local controller with data-logging capability that seamlessly communicates with Flygt Outpost SCADA, the MultiSmart® iPSM is another effective preventative maintenance tool. With built-in automation to measure flow and regularly clean the sump, the MultiSmart® iPSM avoids problems before they materialise.

For Suffolk County DPW, the MultiSmart® iPSMs provided a sophisticated technology that can collect data and trigger control system alerts from their stations, and prioritise issues that truly require a technician call-out. Additionally, the intelligent controller monitors and calculates power usage in real time. This enables the utility’s operators to identify and control any inefficiencies by leveraging the most efficient pump and reducing overall power consumption in the facility.

Remote monitoring and prioritising of alerts
The implementation of an effective remote monitoring system has enabled Suffolk County DPW personnel to recognise the true priority of an alarm. Now, rather than sending personnel to remote locations to collect data and monitor the wastewater system, Suffolk County DPW can track, manage, report, archive and control equipment and settings from a central location. The SCADA system not only informs operators of existing issues, but more importantly, it alerts the team to future situations, enabling the utility to take preventive action and avoid unforeseen expenses.
Remote monitoring also reduced the need for technicians to physically check pump stations from once per day to once per week. At a cost of $50 per hour to dispatch a technician to each pump station, Suffolk County DPW is saving $182,000 per year in labor costs.

With the MultiSmart® iPSM, Suffolk County DPW now has the ability to quickly diagnose, repair and, if necessary, replace equipment in the field. Rather than carrying a highly diverse set of controllers that would be difficult to have all technicians trained on, Suffolk County has streamlined their inventory by only using MultiSmart® iPSMs. This amounts to a cost avoidance of $24,000 compared to having multiple controllers on the shelf.

These savings are in addition to those achieved by Suffolk County installing Xylem’s Flygt Concertor intelligent pump system in 2015. At a lift station that before was frequently clogging, Flygt Concertor completely eliminated clogging. Since the installation of the Flygt Concertor system, maintenance costs have been reduced by $4100 (S$5839.10) per year. Additionally, the pump station has seen a reduction in energy consumption of 45% and has avoided $6,000 (S$8545.02) in pump replacement costs.

Xylem’s solution reduces costs and overflows
Once the monitoring and control system was fully commissioned, the Suffolk County DPW saw immediate results in reduced costs, reduced overflows, and improved asset management. The data collected on the MultiSmart® iPSM is communicated throughout the entire system via the Flygt Outpost SCADA network.

With the help of smart automation and control technologies, the Suffolk County Department of Public Works now has the ability to actively monitor its operations and make real-time adjustments based on data-driven decisions to better serve the community.