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How DPS Helped a County Fairground Monitor a Lift Station Wet-Well

By John Ebury

March 28, 2022


Providing solutions for large telecoms and energy producers is a routine exercise for us here at DPS Telecom. I also get inquiries for our gear from smaller entities, typically as a result of a recent incident.

These incidents generally arise from an inspection, where our client is suddenly needing to meet licensing or code requirements. I tend to enjoy these types of inquiries, as I'm provided an opportunity to leverage our expertise, while also providing a very personalized solution.

Two water pumps monitoring by current transducers and a TempDefender RTU
In this quote diagram, I explained for my client how our TempDefender G2 RTU will interact with water pumps and the controller board.

Using our information request form on our website, one of these smaller entities reached out. They're a county fairground. The request read:

Good morning, I'm the Maintenance Manager at the County Fairground. We are looking to install a RTU for our wet well (lift-station). We would like to know do you have a RTU specifically for this application? It would be monitoring two GOULDS 30hp, 230/460 volts, 3phase, Class F submersible pumps, audible and light alarms, three low voltage floats and a standby generator.

After reading this request, a few options came to mind. However, none of the options at the top of my mind allowed me to proceed - not without first obtaining more information from our prospective client.

Understanding Your Project Goals Leads Us to Recommend the Perfect Solution

With all of our prospective clients, having a full understanding of the project is a crucial first step. Mainly, we are seeking these three elements:

  • What you are wanting to accomplish?
  • What is your current setup and/or configuration?
  • What is your future growth and/or expectations?

These three bits of information allow DPS Telecom to achieve our main goal: a perfect solution for our client (you). It also eliminates any potential to up-sell and (even worse), any attempt to extract maximum dollars from client's budgets. We'd rather "up-sell you in the long term" by really nailing the first project properly. That always leads to more projects later.

Remote Monitoring Can Be the Solution to Your Incident

Our prospective client - the Maintenance Manager, provided me the first of the three informational elements of the project. He revealed exactly what I had mentioned earlier: They recently received a letter from their regulatory agency informing them of non-compliance of their wet-well notification system.

The County Fairground had one main goal: Quickly gain compliance with regulations and retain the permitting. Of course, this assumes a rapid solution with a rapid deployment. Otherwise, fines would be endured. They might even suffer the loss of operating the wet-well completely. The latter is worse, as this would effectively shut down all events and operations at the fairgrounds.

Your Current Gear May Not Provide You With the Right Type of Notifications

The Maintenance Manager continued explaining his predicament. His current notification system consisted of a flashing light and audible alarm. Both alarms activated when the well was in danger of overflowing. This essentially is a visual and audible alarm system. If the right people are not in the visual and/or audible range, the alarm is ineffective. Since the well was holding water classified as sewage, a potential health hazard existed in the event of an actual overflow.

Your Alarm Monitoring System Should Provide You with Notifications, Even if You Are Off-Site

The County Fairground's non-compliance letter explained a requirement for remote notification. Email, SMS text, and/or automated phone call would also need to be introduced - in addition to their existing visual and audible alarms.

It's interesting how things tend toward harmonious flow in this business. In describing what our prospective client was attempting to accomplish, we were already gathering the "current setup and/or configuration" piece.

DPS Provides a Simplified Experience, When Selecting Your RTU

Our Maintenance Manager client had been tasked with finding a solution for the County Fairground. He already had a busy schedule. I try to make everything simple and burden-free for all our clients. For some, it's an effortless task to provide a picture of their setup. Oddly enough, it broadens our insight on the project.

Pictures provide DPS Engineers with an excellent method of verifying compatibility with existing gear. It also allows me to design the perfect solution.

It was now time to move on to Part 3: determining if there is any need for future growth or expansion.

DPS Gives You Monitoring Options That Range From Basic to the Most Comprehensive

Wiring diagram from control board to RTU
The power-out sensor will tie into the control board and be monitored by the RTU at the pump site.

I explained to our prospective client how to establish the needed monitoring. Here is a snippet from my email:

I have included an additional option for monitoring your water pumps. Choosing to monitor your water pumps will implement an additional layer of early problem detection and give you these key benefits:

  • Be alerted when your pumps are not working as expected. When your existing equipment activates Pump 1 and/or Pump 2, the NetGuardian LT G2 will detect if the pump is active by monitoring its power current draw. If no power current draw is detected, a digital alarm will be set in the NetGuardian LT G2, alerting you of a problem.
  • Be provided with an early problem detection of your pumps, allowing you to dispatch staff to prevent unsanitary overflow.

You may also consider implementing:

  • This redundant system implements additional floats to measure water levels. If your existing visual and audible system fails, you will still be notified of potential unsanitary overflow.

I crafted the proposal which included a topographical overview of their system. I was able to use the pictures of their existing setup, to illustrate how our gear would be implemented in their existing environment.

The Most Economical Solutions Can Sometimes Leave You Exposed

After their initial review of the proposal, the topographic illustration prompted our prospective client with some additional considerations. The County Fairground only needed a minimized and cost-effective solution, yet they were very keen on creating a fail-safe system.

Continuing our dialogue over phone, we discussed the limitations and fail-safe designs. The County Fairground agreed, the most economical solution is not always the best approach. In this case, the economical choice introduced a vulnerability. It was completely reliant on their existing notification system. Should their (aging) gear fail, the entire notification systems fails.

Redundant Monitoring Introduces a Fail-Safe Design for Protecting You and Your Company

I re-worked the recommended solution. With a topographic illustration (of course), we ultimately arrived at our final outcome. Here is another snippet of key points, from our final outcome conversation:

  • TempDefender G2 - This is a very effective, low-cost solution for monitoring smaller sites. You will be alerted through email (or SMS text messages) when water levels rise to alarming levels, currently determined by your existing equipment. The TempDefender G2 is equipped with 8 discrete (dry contact) alarm points and 1 D-Wire sensor port. This equipment is capable of handling all 8 of your sensors. It also allows you to create a separate isolated early problem detection by monitoring your water levels. You will not have to rely on just your existing equipment, creating a redundant back-up alarm system
  • Power-Out Sensor - Designed to continuously monitor incoming line voltage. This will monitor your existing audible and/or visual alarm line levels. When your visual and/or audible alarms are activated, it will send a contact signal to the TempDefender G2 indicating an alarm is active at your site.
  • Vertical Liquid Level Switch - Three level switch act as a float sensor. When tripped, an alarm will be sent to the TempDefender G2, sending an alert there is a problem. Three sensors are provided and should be installed similarly to your existing 3 floats.

My final recommendation included one of our (many) small capacity RTUs - TempDefender G2. The TempDefender G2 is a compact, simple and reliable RTU that monitors basic environmental conditions and now water levels.

Redundant discrete water level float sensors in a tank
Redundant discrete water float sensors will be deployed in this tank to monitor the level at multiple locations. This provides a better data "picture" than any single sensor. With these three float sensors, the TempDefender G2 can now monitor water levels independently from the County Fairgrounds existing gear.

DPS Has Cost-Effective, High Quality RTUs You Can Rely On

The TempDefender G2 is the best, cost-effective way to proactively monitor the County Fairground's wet-well. Our prospective client, the Maintenance Manager was pleased. DPS Telecom relieved him of stress surrounding his very time-sensitive conundrum. DPS Telecom deservedly earned the phrase "Our Client", the County Fairground.

This is my quintessential inquiry from a smaller entity. I especially enjoy them the most, when it transitions into a symbiotic outcome. That is always the goal here at DPS Telecom.

Let DPS Work For You and Find A Perfect Monitoring Solution

When you and your organization encounter an incident that calls for a monitoring solution, it doesn't have to be a dilemma. Let's flip your new project's dilemma into a great outcome. Call us today at 559-454-1600. You can always send a quick email message to sales@dpstele.com

John Ebury

John Ebury

John "JP" Ebury has a background in Technology and years of experience in Writing, Project Management and Quality Management. With 13 years of previous experience in a government agency, his attention to detial makes him the ideal person to provide assistance with even the most challenging procu...