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SCADA System Evaluation and Upgrade

Client: Coldwater Board of Public Utilities

Location: Coldwater, Michigan

Coldwater operates and maintains a water treatment plant, two booster pump stations, three water towers, a wastewater treatment plant, and 14 wastewater lift stations. The existing control systems throughout these facilities were not standardized and, in some cases, were past their intended (or supported) life span.

It was Coldwater’s goal and Donohue’s recommendation to standardize the control system throughout the facilities. The recommended standardization includes, but is not limited to, hardware, software, communication, graphical displays, alarming, equipment functions, logic functions, and historical data collection and compression. Benefits to control system standardization include increased reliability, reduced overhead costs, and more effective operations.

Donohue provided various hardware, systems integration, and programming improvements. The water plant’s existing SCADA software licensing was upgraded to be utilized for the entire utility. By combining the SCADA system into one application rather than two, the Utility saved approximately $100,000 as well as annual maintenance and support fees of $20,000 per year. The SCADA system was installed on four virtual servers. Virtualization allows for reduced server hardware cost and regular “snapshot” backups of servers for disaster recovery.

Standardized PLC programming and SCADA graphics were developed for consistency throughout the utility for ease of maintenance and future troubleshooting. Obsolete control hardware was replaced and new PLC hardware provided a distributed approach, where each process area has its own controller. Controllers throughout the plant communicate to each other on a limited basis but are not completely reliant on each other to run the process. Networking upgrades provide a faster, more robust Ethernet network through the plant.