Company Offers New Approach to Lift Station Control

A new lift station controller combines control, data-logging and communications functions in one unit. It allows wastewater operators to build a network of "smart" lift stations that can be monitored and controlled in real time from a central station miles away.

A new lift station controller combines control, data-logging and communications functions in one unit. It allows wastewater operators to build a network of "smart" lift stations that can be monitored and controlled in real time from a central station miles away.

The EnviroRanger from Milltronics also answers increasing concerns about state and federal environmental reporting requirements for combined sewer overflow by pairing open channel monitoring (OCM) and data-logging functions, allowing operators to inform regulators about the precise time, location and magnitude of any unplanned releases.

By monitoring lift station inputs, directing pumps and alarms, monitoring open channel flowmeters, logging data and communicating with a central control facility, the controller does a job that previously required up to four separate systems. Because it is a single unit, it is also simpler to install and easier to maintain.

In developing EnviroRanger, Milltronics organized face-to-face meetings with almost 200 customers and listened as operators described what they needed in the next generation of lift station controllers. They told Milltronics they wanted real-time level measurement and control, a remote telemetry unit (RTU), a configurable controller, OCM and data-logging - all in one box.

EnviroRanger has the ability to obtain level information from two ultrasonic transducers, and has eight discrete inputs, including two that are configurable as frequency inputs or as pulse counters. It also has five discrete outputs that may be used to control pumps or other external devices.

Other features include:

  • a real-time clock for data logging and alarming purposes;
  • an RS-232 interface;
  • optional local area networking via interfaces using industry standard fieldbuses;
  • wide area networking via an RS-232/Modbus RTU port that may use leased line, radio frequency or dial-up modems.

The controller provides automatic monitoring and logging of combined sewer overflows, including data such as date, time, duration and volume. It also provides record keeping for all analog and discrete variables by the following methods: exception, average or fixed time interval.

The system comes with pre-programmed pump control strategies that fit the requirements of most collection systems. The use of built-in pump control strategies eliminates the process of debugging code. Users who want more control can create their own pump routines.

EnviroRangers communication capabilities allow remote access from most common communications systems via leased telephone lines, dial-up telephone lines or radio modems. The use of the Modbus protocol allows connection with popular control systems and remote access using third party SCADA and Modbus drivers that are available off the shelf.

The combination of built-in RTU, pump control strategies and real-time communications simplifies operations. Even the most complicated pump control strategies can be configured within a matter of hours, saved to disk and downloaded to other stations via a remote link.

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