Wastewater treatment facilities have gone through major transformations in recent years. The adoption and implementation of Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT) technologies like advanced sensing equipment, Ethernet communications, centralized monitoring applications along with data analytics. These applications have given municipalities and private water treatment facilities a more economical and effective means to process wastewater.
As wastewater from storm drains, run-off, industrial, commercial, and residential sources make their way to treatment centers, it is cleaned and purified through an intricate system of processes. From pumping stations, screenings, clarifiers, aeration, filtration, and so forth. Contaminated water goes through a long and arduous purification process before it is returned to our oceans, rivers and groundwater supply.
Factors of Success
The overall success of a water/wastewater treatment facility depends on several factors, starting with the contributions of personnel, engineers and plant operators. These individuals are responsible for understanding the process of water production as well as the technologies needed for successful water production.
The introduction of intelligent water/wastewater technologies has also been a key factor. By implementing new and innovative technologies, facilities can optimize water production through shared data, optimized system resources and system management.
Finally, and an unlikely contributing factor, is IIoT security. Protecting the integrity of data systems while managing access to critical system processes allows technology to perform. Without cybersecurity for IIoT technologies, advanced communications that provide data communications would not be possible.
Keys to Success in Water Wastewater:
Some of the keys to a more efficient plant operations have been:
- Training: Training plant engineers and system operators on new IIoT technologies including network protocols, security protocols, communication standards, and industrial networking architecture have led to a better-educated workforce and a more efficient system.
-Smart Water/Wastewater Technologies: Using advanced IIoT technologies applications such as mobility, high-speed communications, cloud connectivity, data analytics, and system monitoring have led to efficient plant operations of local facilities and remote stations.
- Cyber Security: Reducing the risk of cyber threats, while minimizing critical system exposure from would-be attackers and assailants. Adapting and adhering to security policies and practices including threat detection and mitigation processes.
Wastewater facility systems are typically interconnected through a series of Ethernet technologies over high-speed fiber-optic networks. These networks interconnect various stations and substations back to a central monitoring location. A typical wastewater facility network is configured in a ring style topology due to its inherent self-healing capabilities and millisecond recovery times. This style of network design is the preferred choice for large facilities that spread out over long distances. In newer or recently upgraded wastewater facilities, 10G fiber optic cables are used for backhaul connectivity, providing the bandwidth needed for transmitting the vast amount of data being generated throughout the site.
Industrial Ethernet switches and Modbus gateways provide the connectivity pieces for the station and substation connectivity. These specialized types of Ethernet switches are equipped with fiber optic ports that interconnect back to the backbone fiber ring. There are two distinct types of industrial Ethernet switches - managed and unmanaged. Both versions provide connectivity for industrial wireless access points, controllers, sensors, and other Ethernet-based technologies. Varying in size and port count, industrial Ethernet switches can provide power to local devices through Power over Ethernet (PoE) interfaces. Standard PoE switches can provide between 15-30W of power with some advanced switches providing up to 90W of power.
Other types of industrial Ethernet technologies such as serial-to-Ethernet and serial-to-fiber adaptors can provide Ethernet access to non-Ethernet devices such as older pumping equipment and process controllers. These industrial Ethernet adaptors provided a way to transmit system information from older legacy equipment back to monitoring applications in real-time. These types of technologies allow for prolonged life for aging water infrastructure.
One of the major advantages of industrial Ethernet technologies is improved efficiency through systems monitoring and real-time data analysis. With large volumes of process information collected and analyzed by facilities in real-time, greater production methods have been implemented that focus on lowering energy consumption, increased water production and sustainability.
Even with all the advancements of IIoT technologies, treatment facilities still face many challenges in the clean, safe, production of water. Environmental conditions are a huge challenge with erratic weather patterns causing severe rain and thunderstorms that can overwhelm treatment facilities, causing the discharge of untreated water into public spaces. Equipment challenges in older facilities can be unreliable causing slowdowns in production. Large pieces of process equipment can be expensive to replace and, in some cases, can cause a complete shutdown of water/wastewater processing. Connection challenges are often present when substations have no connectivity infrastructure. Luckily, cellular technologies can be implemented in these types of cases. However, this type of technology is often more expensive to maintain.
Antaira Technologies is a leading manufacturer of industrial networking communication and technology devices. Our highly reliable industrial systems include a wide range of products, which range from managed Ethernet switches to unmanaged PoE switches. For more information regarding our products, contact us today.