Remote monitoring gives water plant operators peace of mindMarch 31, 2017
“I love remote monitoring!” That was the reaction of Erik Weber, Buckland’s water plant operator, after ANTHC Tribal Utility Support personnel recently installed more than 30 sensors in the community’s water treatment facility. Remote monitoring systems collect information such as temperatures, pressures and flow rates and, using an internet connection, display them on a webpage. This allows operators and others to troubleshoot problems at a distance and to track and collect data which could help reduce fuel and electricity waste. The system also sends out mobile phone alerts to operators if problems arise, which can prevent potentially catastrophic damage to pipes and equipment. Monitoring energy investments to ensure that ongoing energy savings are realized and maintained is an important part of the work that ANTHC does to ensure sustainability of the utility systems. The small wireless sensor devices are installed in key locations in the water plant without disrupting normal operation. These sensors supply information to an internet-based data bank on a regular recurring schedule. The data assists state, federal and Tribal health organization responders to identify threats to the systems that may not be detected locally. The data will also create a record of long-term operational performance that can help operators, engineers and others identify trends and make recommendations to save energy, supplies, labor and money. Plant operators like Weber can now check on the water plant even while he is traveling away from the community. “It’s given me peace of mind,” he said. Since the program started, 22 communities have had systems installed and four more are slated for this year. Water operators, financial administrators or other community members are welcome to also monitor the information captured by visiting the Remote Monitoring Dashboard available online at http://rm.anthc.webfactional.com/map/.