Agency Works to Automate Canadian System

The Ontario Clean Water Agency (OCWA) is currently the largest operator of water and wastewater facilities in Canada, operating 429 facilities across the province. OCWA was created by the government of the Province of Ontario in 1993 to provide environmentally responsible and cost-effective water and wastewater services to Ontario municipalities on a cost-recovery basis.

The Ontario Clean Water Agency (OCWA) is currently the largest operator of water and wastewater facilities in Canada, operating 429 facilities across the province. OCWA was created by the government of the Province of Ontario in 1993 to provide environmentally responsible and cost-effective water and wastewater services to Ontario municipalities on a cost-recovery basis.

OCWA’s automation strategy incorporates SCADA, computer modeling, on-line manuals, computerized maintenance management systems (CMMS), process data collection (PDC) systems and extensive data analysis to ensure compliance with objectives and optimized O&M costs. When fully implemented, OCWA’s automated operating systems will set new standards in the Canadian water and wastewater industry and rival the best available, anywhere in the world.

Monitoring and Control Networks (MCN)

A key feature of OCWA’s operations strategy will be the implementation of centralized operations control centers located strategically throughout the province. This configuration will enable OCWA to provide improved services to its clients at lower cost. This goal will be achieved by increasing information distribution and automation within its facilities. Staff productivity will be increased through automation and seamless access to information. Additional efficiencies will be achieved through continuous monitoring, analysis and control of power and chemical usage, an improved maintenance management program, dedicated access to OCWA’s corporate resources and knowledge base, and better record keeping, flow trending and overall management at the operator level.

Monitoring and Control Networks (MCN)

Provisions for 24-hour monitoring and control of the remote facilities from the monitoring and control center will be made through dedicated or leased radio networks to the networks at these facilities. SCADA HMI’s (Human Machine Interfaces) at the control center are capable of directly and continually interacting with SCADA nodes at each facility, providing the same level of control and monitoring that is available at the facility.

Client Connection

The Client Connection system is another initiative in the evolution of OCWA’s information management system. OCWA’s computer network provides easy access to timely, accurate information regarding the operation and management of client facilities. This is accomplished through OCWA’s Web Site (http: www.ocwa.com) where clients can access their own facility information through the click of a mouse. The information included here is gathered from operations and business data processed through OCWA’s corporate network.

Client ‘Operations Window’ — Web Monitoring

OCWA believes in providing accountability to its clients and with this goal in mind, is in the process of positioning itself to provide its clients with real-time access to operational data through several access points. These options will provide clients with the flexibility to access information on the operation of its facilities, anytime of the day, seven days a week from virtually anywhere in the world. Via the Internet, clients will be able to view facility HMIs or custom-designed data screens showing real-time water demand, equipment run-times and usage, power consumption, flow, levels and any other process or compliance information requested.

Remote Access

As a second control and monitoring option, OCWA will offer redundant remote access to its control center through a secure dial-up Remote Access Server (RAS). From any location, depending on access, OCWA staff will be able to dial in to monitor and/or control operations at the control center, and have complete access to information including the Data Historian archives, PDC and maintenance activity via CMMS.

Outpost 5™

Outpost 5™ is an example of OCWA’s commitment to cost reduction, infrastructure maintenance, and greater protection of the environment. Outpost 5 is a state-of-the-art facilities monitoring and control systems developed by OCWA and S-S Technologies, Canada’s premier industrial automation engineering firm.

Outpost 5™

The system offers five levels of functionality, from simple data logging to a graphical user interface, and a multi-device monitoring and control system. Compared with setting up independent controls at each site, Outpost 5’s central-hub approach to management of remote and local facilities offers significant cost savings and adaptability.

Standardization

OCWA has developed SCADA standards that allow the agency to implement a cohesive control system strategy while meeting a number of other important objectives. These include maximizing the efficiency of its process control systems, minimizing staff training time, lowering the cost of spare part inventories, and reducing support costs by cross training staff to support most, if not all, installations.

Standardization

By developing systems that adhere to these standards, OCWA ensures its ability to satisfy all operating requirements, operate large sites remotely and to add or remove sites from control center systems as required.

Integration

As OCWA continues to introduce ever more sophisticated technology to the operations side of its business, the integration of SCADA and other corporate systems becomes increasingly important to success. This integration approach has resulted in clear benefits to both staff and clients by providing a single integrated view of all control and information resources.

Integration

An integrated SCADA system, combining traditional SCADA components with other corporate software packages, such as a Computerized Maintenance Management System (CMMS), a Process Data Collection System (PDC), Facility Operations Reporting, and computerized operation manuals, provides senior operations managers easy access to information related to plant performance and the maintenance program. Thus empowered, operations and maintenance personnel can view, edit, update and retrieve information pertinent to process operation and equipment maintenance.

Centralized Maintenance, Management System (CMMS)

One of OCWA’s most recent initiatives is the implementation of a new automation tool for the maintenance and management of its vast operations infrastructure. In partnership with Hansen Information Technologies, a comprehensive package called Hansen Version 7 Infrastructure Management Systems (IMS), has been implemented to make the management, administration and maintenance of assets within each of its facilities both more efficient and more effective. Utilizing the corporate network infrastructure, each OCWA facility will have real-time access to a centralized database containing consolidated data on all assets within the agency.

Centralized Maintenance, Management System (CMMS)

This system provides clients with improved reporting, record keeping, equipment tracking and maintenance services on each facility. System flexibility allows for powerful ad-hoc reporting requests, such as reviewing asset listings and performance data for all facilities, reporting on all work orders issued in a specific facility, within a particular month or, for example, reviewing the maintenance history of all water facilities over the last six months. With a link to the agency’s SCADA systems, the computerized maintenance management system will provide clients with significantly improved approach to preventive and predictive maintenance.

Centralized Maintenance, Management System (CMMS)

Maintenance personnel will also be able to access the system from any computer on the corporate network; remotely, from a notebook computer carried in the field and eventually, from anywhere in the world via the Internet. Maintenance crews will be able to process work orders, perform scheduled and unscheduled maintenance on equipment, and even update asset inventory while working in the field.

Centralized Maintenance, Management System (CMMS)

OCWA has also begun to deploy reports across the Web using the Crystal Reports Web-enabled reporting engine to provide clients access to dynamic maintenance reports on their facilities. In addition, by using digital photography, pictures of new and existing equipment and parts will be added to the asset management component of the system. Since safety instructions will be included with work orders, maintenance crews will also be able to perform their tasks safely, simply by referring to and following the standard safety practices.

Process Data Collection (PDC)

OCWA’s proprietary Process Data Collection system (PDC) provides clients with a standard, systematic way of collecting, storing and retrieving operational data for each of their facilities. Some process information is captured automatically via a direct interface to the SCADA system and other data is made available through operator entry. All of this information is then processed on a daily basis and made available to operations managers and clients alike for review and analysis.

Process Data Collection (PDC)

Some of the information captured includes performance (flows, process parameters), significant events, equipment performance, capital expenditures, chemicals and energy usage, laboratory analysis, staff training and accomplishments, health and safety records, and community relations. Regulatory performance assessment and compliance reporting can be electronically transmitted to the Ministry of the Environment (regulatory body) as required.

Security

Despite the benefits of electronic information and communication systems, they are not without risk. At each point in the process, OCWA has taken measures to ensure that accidental or deliberate misuse of systems is prevented. It is in this context that their Information and Technology Group has implemented the necessary security and developed the policies and guidelines required to identify and address these concerns. Security is, without question, of major concern in OCWA’s enterprise networked environment and because of this, the agency has established standard mechanisms to deal with it.

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