FlowWorks Plays an Integral Part to Keep I&I at Bay

Be sure to check out the Inflow and Infiltration (I&I) piece in this month’s Municipal Sewer and Water magazine. The article gives the reader a sneak peak into some of the steps the City of Richmond (CA) takes to mitigate sanitary sewer overflows (SSOs) and highlights FlowWorks ability to combine all your various sources of data.

Richmond, CA 

Benefits of Monitoring Your Water Distribution & Water Collection Systems

In an article from earlier this year, The American Water Works Association’s Opflow magazine highlighted some of the key benefits that come from monitoring your water distribution and water collections systems. Below is a brief overview of some of the bullet points they laid out:

  • Access to remote, real-time, and historical data.
  • A common data platform for all parameters. All data resides in one common database, allowing users to easily analyze and compare different data.
  • System scalability.
  • Automated operation. Data collected, stored, and transmitted automatically, eliminating the need for field personnel to travel to remote sites to manually download and collect data.
  • Alarm notification and management. Alarms can be sent as text messages to mobile devices or as email messages sent via the web.
  • Low procurement, installation, and lifetime operating cost of ownership. Typical remote monitoring system installations are 1/3 to 1/5 the cost of traditional SCADA RTU installations.

“For water and wastewater utilities, several existing data sources can be combined with distributed sensor technologies to provide a robust decision-support framework that will lead toward optimized distribution and collections systems”

With FlowWorks software, you are able to check all of these boxes while also being able to combine all of your time series data sources into one consolidated location. No more silos of data that cause headaches with jumping back and forth between software programs or having to jump through hoops to export and consolidate your data into Excel. If you would like to attend a free web demonstration or start a free trial account (with demo data or your own), give our office a call (206-859-6999) or email sales@flowworks.com.

Internet of Things – How Can it Transcend Water Management?

Whether it be leakage, droughts, or floods, water and the management and conservation of such a valuable resource has become an even more critical topic. The importance of improving the infrastructure nationwide and monitoring its performance, to mitigate water loss, is widely understood. It has been estimated that 2.1 trillion gallons of treated water are lost every year due to leakage within the urban water transportation infrastructure. The aability to monitor and optimize the transportation and use of water has never been more valuable, especially when it comes to the agricultural industry.

With the internet of things (IoT) and the advanced technologies that are becoming more prevalent in water management, this data is more readily available thanever before.

IoT and Water Management Video Clip

Having access to monitoring data and utilizing the tools than can accompany the IoT allows organizations to transform their data into actionable information that can save significant time and money. Having access to flow and other monitoring data and near real-time alerts allows organizations to be notified the moment an issue occurs. Having that transparency allows organizations to be as proactive as possible to minimize the damage.

“The Internet of Things is enabling smarter use of water at home, in the fields, and across American cities. By tackling old problems in creative ways – using technologies that are simple and increasingly inexpensive – these firms and their government partners are reducing waste and keeping waterways clean.”

With FlowWorks, organizations are able to incorporate all of their environmental, time-series data, into one platform and set-up custom alarms according to whatever parameters they may have. Whether it be agricultural, industrial or municipal, FlowWorks can add significant value to an organizations monitoring network.

Don’t Get Wiped Out

The disposal of non-woven wipes into toilets or sewers continues to cause problems & cost residents extra money. Unlike typical toilet paper, non-woven wipes do not dissolve and in turn, clog the sewer system. For example, in an article from The Day, a New London treatment plant found a few small holes in a screen that prevented solid objects from entering the plant. When they looked inside their sludge storage tank they found a mass the size of a Volkswagen bug of congealed grease, cotton & disposable wipes. In another example, New York City has spent more than $18 million from 2010-2014 for wipe-related problems in their system.

With the trend of disposing wipes in the sewer still increasing, it is key to educate the public about the problems that occur when disposing wipes in the sewer system. Specifically, the expenses the municipalities must take on and how much of that cost is being passed on to the public.

Cottonelle & Charmin have come out with “flush-able wipes”, as a substitute for toilet paper. Cynthia Finley (Director of Regulatory Affairs at the National Association of Clen Water Agencies) commented “From experiments we’ve done, (there’s) one wipe on the market that we think might be flush-able.” The NAWCA isn’t interested in banning wipes from being called flush-able, knowing it will just increase the use of baby wipes and cause greater damage.

The NAWCA estimates that the damage caused by wipes is anywhere between $500 million – $1 billion dollars. To try and tackle this issue, the NAWCA has recently launched a “toilets are not trash cans” campaign to properly educate the public on proper disposal practices for various products, including wipes.

Similar to issues such as recycling and global warming, the best way to accomplish these efforts is for the public to take on the initiative as a whole. Providing transparency on the fees that are being passed on to the public can help drive the point home and show how it is not just affecting the municipality, but the general public as well.

The Future of Big Data Solutions

In the March/April issue of WEF’s Water Online magazine, Barry Liner (Director of the Water Environment Federation’s Water Science and Engineering Center) and Pam Kenel (Solution Lead for Smart Community & Water Analytics in Black & Veatch’s Smart Integrated Infrastructure Business) discussed some of the drivers and barriers to the adoption of smart water infrastructure and big data solutions. They go on to talk about the great opportunities of harnessing that data.

In their discussion they highlight how cloud-based platforms align well with small and medium sized utilities’ with resource constraints by only requiring a small investment in hardware and software while providing the opportunity for implementation of smart water infrastructure technology and big data solutions. “Cloud-based solutions provided by innovators will help water utilities of all sizes advance smart water infrastructure.”

Barry and Pam go on to point out that smart water utility initiatives are trailing both gas and electric, when it comes to implementation. Mentioning citizen engagement as a method to increase the implementation throughout the water utilities. Specifically, intelligent metering and data analytics allowing utilities to alter the dynamic of education and customer communication about individual water consumption.

For water utilities, the data must be refined into information so that it can motivate either the utility or the customers to take action. They then go on pinpoint some of the various key aspects of a big data platform.

Integration -Integration is critical to have one platform managing the data, as separate silos of data only create separate silos of insight. An integrated solution has to be bigger than one technology.”

With FlowWorks  flexibility, you are able to eliminate any silos and have all your data stored in one place.

Analytics - “Analytics tools are used to analyze the data, providing more sophisticated, accurate, and actionable information.”

In addition to storing your data, FlowWorks significantly improves your ability to transform raw data into actionable information by allowing you to perform real-time analysis, monitor alarms and create reports accessible from virtually any web browser.

Visualization - “Visualization tools bring the information into a form that is understandable by decision makers, be they utility managers, government officials, or customers.”

FlowWorks allows users to graph their data using our high performance and fully interactive data graphing engine to help provide a visual component for all necessary reports and analysis.

Security & Governance - “Security & governance are critical to maintaining sensitive data that must be protected, which is especially important for public sector agencies including many water utilities.”

The FlowWorks online platform offers the latest and highest level security features available for our clients.

With FlowWorks, you are able to check all of these boxes while providing the flexibility to implement projects of any duration. If you would like to find out more about how FlowWorks can help manage your environmental data email sales@flowworks.com or give our office a call 206-859-6999.

Irrigation Districts Benefiting Greatly From Cloud Management Software

The “Bringing Irrigation District Management to the Cloud” article from the April issue of Irrigation Leaders (pages 31-32) highlights how implementing cloud based software solutions can save significant time & money. The article focuses on WaterMaster, who provides cloud-based water accounting, invoicing, water order and delivery tracking.

Like WaterMaster, FlowWorks is a state-of-the-art cloud-based software that does not require a contract and eliminates the hassles of maintaining servers or software while also eliminating the need to upgrade, pay maintenance fees, or purchase tech support. You simply pay as you use the service. If at anytime you are unhappy with the service, you can cancel without any consequential fees. A quote from Curt Landreth, president of Advanced Control Systems, highlights a few of the benefits of a cloud-based system. “The lack of a physical product is the benefit of a cloud-based system. You do not have to maintain software or have high-tech computers or an IT department. All you need is an internet connection.”

The Cloud

Investments in the cloud computing space are continuing to ramp up, with Google targeting 2016 as a pivotal year to broaden its feature set. A report from the Synergy Research Group shows a 28% annualized growth in investments into the continued advancement of the key cloud service and infrastructure segments (Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS), Platform as a Service (PaaS), Software as a Service (SaaS), Unified Communications as a Service (UCaaS)). Investing in and utilizing cloud technology will only become more prominent in the coming years and will provide greater flexibility, scalability, and better security.

If you have questions about the benefits of using the cloud or what it means for your organization, email sales@flowworks.com or call our office (206) 859-6999. Also, be sure to continue to check the FlowWorks website and blog for the latest news and feature releases.