Lake County Public Water District Grows With the Help of B&W Control Systems Integration and InduSoft

Upgrades to Lake County Public Water District SCADA system added redundancy, remote monitoring, and current PLC communications
  •  InduSoft Web Studio (IWS) made upgrading from a system installed almost 10 years prior extremely easy.
  •  InduSoft Web Studio proved to be the ideal solution for the current requirements and planned future upgrades of the Lake County Public Water District.
  •  The developer found IWS “very intuitive, straightforward, and everything proceeded with a minimum of time spent in additional development.”
Municipal water districts are integral aspects of the infrastructure of any city. Water and wastewater treatment are absolutely vital for any city, and in order to meet both state and federal regulations, water treatment must be carefully monitored. From the water source to the tap, there is a complex process that city water supplies must go through to maintain safety and reliability. Oversight of the process is an important way to ensure that water supplies make it through the entire process while adhering to health and safety regulations and reliably providing water to a large number of residents.

The Lake County Public Water District, which serves the City of Zion, the Village of Winthrop Harbor and the Illinois Department of Natural Resources (Illinois Beach State Park and North Point Marina) on a non-profit basis, recently found their system in need of an upgrade. B&W Control Systems Integration was chosen for this large municipal project.

B&W Control Systems Integration specializes in municipal clientele and does everything from facility automation to water and wastewater SCADA and remote SCADA applications. The Lake County water/wastewater treatment SCADA application was built using InduSoft Web Studio, and it presented B&W with an opportunity to work with new SCADA development software.

The application monitors a water treatment plant that services Zion, Illinois, among other nearby towns. The plant pumps in water from Lake Michigan. Low lift pumps bring water into the plant, and then take it to the main water facility where it goes through three different clarifiers. During this stage of the process, mixers, water levels, pumps, valves, and equipment failures are all monitored by the SCADA system. The clarifiers feed the water through four different filters. Here, the application monitors and records data such as water levels, pump and valve activity, the backwash process, and the time the water spends in each step of the process. The water is fed into the clearwell where three high service pumps move it into a large storage tank. The application keeps track of the water flow in each stage of the process, and also monitors the main storage tanks.

The largest challenge of the project was the upgrade of equipment. Lake County’s current architecture made use of outdated PLCs with proprietary protocols. For the new system, Allen Bradley Control Logix PLCs were employed in a massive upgrade plant wide. This new upgrade would take the plant from producing 4.5 million gallons of water per day to producing 6.5 million gallons per day.

Another unique challenge of the project included the need for remote process monitoring to help keep the plant active at all times. The upgrade required that B&W incorporate a remote SCADA solution. An additional requirement for the project included adding redundancy measure to ensure that the plant remained online in the event of a hardware failure.

The current SCADA software used by Lake County was InduSoft Web Studio v4.0. The developer who worked on the project, Jim Gramhofer, was tasked with upgrading an unfamiliar SCADA system using a newer iteration of the software, with new PLCs and additional tag requirements.

The upgrade for The Lake County Public Water District was able to incorporate all the functionality of the original system, and introduce the new features necessitated for the upgrade. B&W developer Jim Gramhofer said, “Upgrading the InduSoft application went perfectly. We only had to install the new software, copy the data over and plug in the new information, and everything went off without a hitch.”

The upgrade brought the application from version 4.0 of InduSoft Web Studio to v7.0. InduSoft develops new versions of the software with compatibility in mind, meaning that even applications developed in the first iteration of InduSoft Web Studio can still be developed in the newest version. This allows plant owners to upgrade equipment such as PLCs and computers with the assurance that development time used to create the original application for the system is not lost. Integration can be performed easily for upgrades because the application will still be compatible with the new software.

Another benefit of using InduSoft for the upgrade was the fact that the drivers required to connect with the new Allen Bradley PLCs are native within the software. No additional modules or protocols needed to be purchased to connect directly with the new hardware.

B&W added some redundancy features to the system during the upgrade. Before, the InduSoft Web Studio based SCADA system resided on one server. The new architecture includes two rack servers that act as a redundant pair. The licenses included with these redundant servers also offered Lake County two additional remote thin client viewers that clients can use to connect to the system.

This web connectivity was a great addition to the upgrade. With the thin client viewers, the plant operators and supervisors can monitor the process from remote locations, such as offices or homes. This ensures that it’s easy to take the SCADA system with the personnel wherever they go, and helps ensure that alarms are addressed as soon as possible. This improves the safety and reliability of the system, and reduces downtime in a critical municipal utility.


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