News from Mission Communications for the Water and Wastewater Professional
Issue 12, Fall 2013
End-of-Line Resistors Eliminate Surprises
Electronic Reporting Mandate To Save Time and Money
Control Your Access Gates with Output Relays
Good Water Makes Good Beer


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Click once on the RTU icon in which you wish to edit. Click Unit Maint on the top toolbar.


Trade Shows



October 5-9  

Chicago, IL  


WEASC Operator Conference

October 31-November 2  

Myrtle Beach, SC


NMRWA Southern Fall Conference   

November 12-14

Las Cruces, NM 




September 25

Week 4: Web Portal II - Supergraph, Reporting, Volumetric Flow and Advanced Topics

October 2

Week 1: Survey of Features


October 23

 Week 4: Web Portal II - 

Supergraph, Reporting, Volumetric Flow and Advanced Topics

October 30

 Week 5: Special Topics

 November 6

Week 1: Survey of Features 


November 20

 Week 3: Web Portal I - Notification and Unit Setup Options


 December 4

Week 1: Survey of Features


December 11

Week 2: Hardware, Instrumentation and Installation

December 18

 Week 3: Web Portal I - Notification and Unit Setup Options












































































































































































































End-of-Line Resistors Eliminate
Unwanted Surprises

East Peak Fire blazing near La Veta, Colo. Source: DVIDS

According to the National Interagency Fire Center, over 46,000 wildfires destroyed 8.6 million acres of land in the United States in 2012. Tinderbox conditions and heavy undergrowth in the Western U.S. make this region especially vulnerable. Local officials often cut fire breaks in extremely dense areas to slow or stop the progress of wildfires. Apex Companies in San Diego, California is familiar with the negative affects of fires. Several years ago, the environmental and engineering services firm installed Mission M110 RTUs to monitor several manholes outside the city, an area regularly hit by wildfires. Fire breaks are cut to prevent them from spreading. When these fire breaks are cut, the cables are severed which causes the firm to lose contact with its RTU floats.
A plow cuts a deep fire break.

Each Mission M110 RTU monitors three manholes. Because of the large distance between each manhole, cables are used to extend the float cables from each manhole to the Mission RTU. A junction box is placed near each manhole to connect the float cable with the extension cable. The cables running from the Mission RTU to the junction boxes are often severed when a fire break is cut, leaving no way to detect the state of the manholes. This makes Apex vulnerable to undetected spills.

To solve this problem, Apex installed end-of-line (EOL) resistors in the junction boxes to monitor the integrity of the connection between the junction box and the RTU. The EOL resistors were designed to supervise input wiring for electrical interruptions caused by disconnected wires or breaks in the line. Installing the resistors is a good practice to implement because notifications inform personnel of problems before they lead to more serious issues. In this case, Apex personnel are now notified when a cable is severed. The company is no longer susceptible to spills that go undetected. Aside from monitoring the manholes, Apex has also installed three Mission RTUs to oversee critical pump stations along Coronado Island, a popular beach community near San Diego Bay.

Mission RTUs monitor critical pump stations on Coronado Island, California.
"The island's elevation is six feet above sea level and it's fairly narrow. When there were spills, we were in trouble - it went straight into San Diego Bay," explained Mike Clark, Apex Project Manager. "With the Mission system, we are notified right away if the level rises too high which eliminates a lot of problems, especially considering the U.S. San Diego Naval Base just a short distance from the island."
Proposed EPA Electronic Reporting Mandate To Save Time and Money

State and federal agencies are expected to reduce annual regulatory reporting costs by $29 million with a proposed Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) electronic reporting mandate. With less time spent on filing reports to regulatory agencies through the paper-based system, utilities will be able to focus on infrastructure management. This in turn will result in improved water quality and better compliance rates.  


The Electronic Reporting Rule is part of the National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (NPDES) program. The NPDES requires all utilities to monitor and report data on pollutant discharges. The eReporting mandate is currently under review by the Office of Management and Budget (OMB). Inherent in the Clean Water Act, this rule will convert current reporting of Discharge Monitoring Reports (DMRs), Notices of Intent (NOIs) and other reports from a paper-based to electronic filing system.


Water/wastewater facilities will be required to submit electronic reports directly to their  appropriate state regulatory authorities through a web portal. This change should reduce the number of man hours currently needed to manually input reports to the EPA database. It will streamline the submission of facility-specific information like inspection and enforcement history, pollutant monitoring results and other data by state reporting authorities. Proponents insist uniform electronic reporting will increase transparency, reporting compliance and provide immediate public access to utility reports on the EPA website.  


A Two Phase Roll-out Expected

Water/wastewater utilities will be required to submit data electronically one year after final approval of the NPDES mandate by the EPA. Facilities with limited Internet access may opt for a one year extension to convert to an electronic reporting system and still be in compliance. Electronic reporting will be rolled out in two phases as per EPA guidelines. The first phase will be completed by January 2014 and the second phase by January 2015.  


Mission Helps Simplify Regulatory Report Creation

Mission Communications built its reputation on offering ready-made reports and data folders to ease management and help customers compile data for regulatory compliance reporting. Featured information includes rainfall data reports, flow data for inflow/infiltration and analog data for chlorine, turbidity pH and more. Mission also offers specialty reports such as Sanitary Sewer Overflow/Combined Sewer Overflow (SSO/CSO), Safe Drinking Water Act (SDWA) and Chlorine reports that are specifically available to simplify compliance reporting.


While regulatory changes can be burdensome, Mission plans to ease some of that stress by adding data reporting formats that reflect electronic reporting requirements once they are firmly established by the EPA. This will provide a consistent template to assist customers in their electronic reporting changeover and make eReporting much easier.

"We will provide the tools to make it as efficient as possible for our customers to electronically file reports based on the data from our system," says Forrest Robinson, President of Mission Communications. "We are always looking for ways to make our customer's jobs easier." 


EPA Requesting Public Input

New electronic reporting requirements should not come as a surprise. Several state regulatory agencies have already switched to electronic reporting systems. Pennsylvania has been electronically filing discharge management reports for about five years. Electronic reporting is also not new to the EPA. The federal agency has utilized electronic filing for its Integrated Compliance System (ICIS-NPDES) and NetDRM for quite some time. Electronic submissions by regulated utilities have been voluntary, accounting for less than half of the data the EPA receives. Electronic submittals will be mandatory under the new rule.


The EPA is requesting feedback on the best platform to implement for electronic reporting. EPA officials have yet to choose the reporting tools and protocols required for electronic submittals. They want to select the best possible platform and find out if third-party software should be available to input data into the EPA database. Agency officials say they want an open platform where NPDES-authorized facilities, states and third parties can all use software developed for the EPA.


The EPA is also requesting additional comment on aspects of their proposal relating to pre-treatment programs, combined sewer overflows (CSOs) and separate municipal storm sewer systems (MS4s). The EPA wants to determine whether sewer overflow, sanitary sewer overflow and bypass reports should be electronically filed and how to properly standardize reports required for MS4 permits.


Public comment can be sent to the EPA on or before October 28, 2013. More information on the proposed rule can be found here.


Control Your Access Gates with Output Relays

Hillview Water Company supplies water to thousands of customers in the mountainous terrain

Access gate.

that surrounds Oakhurst, California. The utility lies in a valley, drawing its water from sources several miles away. Most of their tank, well and treatment sites are very remote. Some of these sites are gated for security reasons. Each of the remote terminal units (RTUs) are equipped with three output relays which are used for

control applications.


Hillview not only uses the output relays to

control wells that feed their tanks with water, but they also use them to remotely open and close an entry gate for maintenance and service visits. The normally-open output relay is wired to a dry contact actuator in the gate control box. Utility personnel open the gate before they arrive at the site by logging on to the mobile website and closing the output relay. This method makes it easy to give electricians and other third parties access to the site. Using the output relays for gate control gives users fewer codes to remember and a lighter key ring to carry. 


"If someone needs access for service, we no longer need to provide them with a code or a key," explains James Foster, manager of Hillview Water Company. "We simply open it remotely when they call us to let us know that they are on site. You can really get creative with what you do with the system. It's given us the ability to simplify the way we operate."


Are you using the output relays on your RTUs for a special application? If so, we want to hear about it! Send us an email at news@123mc.com with a description of the application. 



Good Water Makes Good Beer

What do the human body and beer have in common? They are both 90 percent water. Water is essential to life and every step of the brewing process. It is necessary in the mashing, sparging, boiling, cooling and sanitation that go into brewing beer. Characteristics such as pH and mineral content are critical to beer quality and taste. High levels of calcium are perfect for pale ales, while soft water is better for pilsners. Chemical composition aside, breweries could not produce good quality beer without a plentiful source of good quality water. Since 6.3 billion gallons of beer were consumed in the U.S. in 2011 alone, the demand for good water is high.

Today's breweries often try to mimic the water found in European regions known for beer brewing by changing the chemical composition of their local water. Breweries obtain mineral and pH levels from municipal water facilities to determine the additives needed prior to brewing. This ensures proper and predictable fermentation.

Breweries do not settle in areas where water is bad. Bad water elevates a brewery's cost due to treatment costs that are incurred. To avoid these unnecessary costs, breweries prefer to do business in areas with an abundant source of good quality water.

Craft Breweries Unite for Clean Water
The U.S. has the finest water anywhere in the world. A total of 117 million Americans get their drinking water from public water systems which are supplied by headwater and non-perennial streams. In other parts of the world, five times the U.S. population does not have clean water to drink. Many people walk up to five miles for drinking water. Clean water proponents believe this makes our nation's watersheds an irreplaceable resource that needs protection.

As many as 20 U.S. craft breweries recently joined forces with the National Resource Defense Council (NRDC) in the Brewers for Clean Water initiative. This alliance is calling on the federal government to protect the U.S. Clean Water Act (CWA) of 1972. NRDC officials claim small streams and wetlands have been vulnerable to pollution and destruction in recent years. Federal guidelines drafted in 2011 could restore protection to those watersheds. Action on these guidelines has stalled in Washington. NRDC Water Program Senior Policy Analyst Karen Hobbs says the breweries are adamant about protecting our watersheds. "They need their number one ingredient protected to maintain their business and slake the American thirst for tasty brews," explains Hobbs. "You can't keep our biggest sources of water and beer clean if polluters are allowed to dump into the streams and wetlands that our larger waterways depend on."

Arcadia Brewing Company of Battle Creek, Michigan is one of the brewers that joined this initiative. According to Jim Brown, Brewmaster with Arcadia, good beer is simply impossible without good water. "Being the largest ingredient in the finished product, you need good water to make good beer," explains Brown.  

Location is Key
Michigan is home to some prominent craft breweries in the U.S. Two of them, Bells Brewing and Founders Brewing in West Michigan have received national awards. Brown credits good and plentiful water naturally found in Michigan for that success.

"A location close to natural sources for water definitely has an advantage," says Brown. "Although water can be filtered and stripped of other chemicals and then made to resemble great brewing water, a natural source is still the best. Being surrounded by the Great Lakes makes Michigan an ideal location and truly the 'Great Beer State'."

Perrin Brewing is a relatively new micro-brewery near Grand Rapids, Michigan that owes their success to good local water in an area serviced by North Kent Sewer Authority, a Mission Communications customer. "Grand Rapids has become a great area for craft brewing and takes pride in calling itself Beer City," says Larry Campbell, Director of North Kent Sewer Authority.

Reducing the Water Footprint
Water scarcity is a concern for many breweries in the United States. Local breweries in western states actively practice water conservation due to drought conditions. Full Sail Brewing in Hood River, Oregon is a top tier U.S. brewery with one of the lowest water use to beer brewing ratios. Full Sail achieved a savings-per-brew of over 800 gallons in 2012. That amounts to over one million gallons of water annually. Innovative brewing and conservation technology made this a reality. Full Sail averages two and a half gallons of water for every gallon of beer brewed. Many breweries average six to ten gallons for every gallon of beer.

Jamie Emmerson, Executive Brewmaster with Full Sail said conservation and environmental stewardship have always been their philosophy. They evaluated brew house sizing very early, installing fewer large brewing vessels, instead of many small ones. Cleaning can consume up to 300 gallons of water explains Emmerson. "We don't brew a lot of flavors - six at any given time, as opposed to running thirty or forty flavors," says Emerson. "When you have a lot of flavors, you have smaller tanks, which means that you have more to clean."

Proactive Measures are Brewing
Water conservancy and water protection are fast becoming an active initiative among breweries worldwide. Conservancy is essential since a large brewery can consume up to 30 percent of a municipal water supply. Brewery efforts vary from conservation to active stewardship. SweetWater Brewing of Atlanta is actively committed to protecting rivers with its "Save the Hooch" campaign. Over $150,000 has been raised by SweetWater Brewing to support the Chattahoochee Riverkeeper's water quality and river patrol programs. The brewery also promotes a special brew, Waterkeeper Hefeweizen to raise awareness and funds for the Chattahoochee Riverkeeper.  Breweries nationwide are joining forces to not only produce good beer, but to protect our most precious resource - water.
"If there is magic on this planet, it is contained in water." - Loren Eiseley 
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