News from Mission Communications for Water and Wastewater Professionals
Issue 36, Fall 2019
Mission Solves OJSRA Undetected Problems
Preparation Key for Successful Service Calls
Drones Provide Efficient
Water Assessment

September 23-25 
Chicago, IL
September 25- 26
Post Fall, ID
October 8-10
Bismarck, ND

October 20-22
Branson, MO

October 22-23
October 30- November 1
Myrtle Beach, SC
November 6-8
Saskatoon, Saskatchewan
November 13-15
Edmonton, AB
November 3 - 5
Raleigh, NC
November 18 - 20
Myrtle Beach, SC

November 19 -21
Las Cruces, NM
November 20-21
New Westminster BC


No Webinar. Come see us at WEFTEC 2019!

Week 1: Survey of Features

Week 2: Hardware and Instrumentation

Week 3: Web Portal I   Notification and Unit Setup Options

Week 4: Web Portal II  Advanced Features, Reporting, Supergraph, Volumetric Flow

Week 5: Special Topics

Week 1: Survey of Features

Week 2: Hardware and Instrumentation

Week 3: Web Portal I   Notification and Unit Setup Options

Week 4: Web Portal II  Advanced Features, Reporting, Supergraph, Volumetric Flow

Week 1: Survey of Features

Week 2: Hardware and Instrumentation

Week 3: Web Portal I  Notification and Unit Setup Options

Mission Solves Undetected
Problems for OJRSA
Oconee Joint Regional Sewer Authority (OJRSA) is located in Oconee County, South Carolina and provides wastewater transportation and treatment services to the cities of Seneca, Westminster, and Wahalla. Each city handles collection from residences and businesses; OJRSA then transports the wastewater from the trunk line to the treatment facility by way of pump stations and gravity sewer. The Oconee treatment facility is rated for 7.8 million gallons per day but moves closer to three million gallons. Mark Dain,
Mark Dain poses with OJRSA's Mission equipment setup. Photo by: Jeffery Watts
Maintenance Supervisor, explained that about 12 years ago, the textile industry left the area and the flow through the facility declined significantly.

Dain has been with OJRSA for 19 years, nine of them in his current position . The Mission system helps him oversee the maintenance of pump stations and the treatment plant. Dain also issues jobs, purchases parts and tools, researches and quotes contracts, evaluates employees, and assigns job tasks.

Dain explained that OJRSA uses 19 Mission M800 series remote terminal units (RTUs) to monitor pump runtimes, wet well levels, rainfall, and both analog and pulse flow. He appreciates the customized flow report that is automatically emailed each week. This report is used for billing the serviced towns based on the pulse flow value. The analog flow value is used for comparative and graphical analysis.

Mission Optimized for Water and Wastewater Utilities
OJRSA began using Mission RTUs in the fall of 2017 when the organization hired a new Director who enjoyed his experience with Mission-managed SCADA service with a previous utility. Prior to implementing Mission, OJRSA used a system that was not optimized for water and wastewater utilities. Dain explained that their previous system had originally been intended for monitoring generators and stumbled into the utility business. The RTUs for this system only reported every 15 minutes, and the analog inputs were difficult to configure for flow monitoring conveyance reporting. Additionally, the web portal for the system was not user-friendly. "Our director didn't like the way the portal was formatted for the previous system. After using Mission, I can see why," He said. "It didn't have graphs, and it wasn't as interactive. You couldn't customize reports like you can on the Mission portal."

Mission hardware and software are purpose-built for the water and wastewater industries, resulting in a system that is intuitive to operate with no cumbersome, unnecessary features. Mission 800-series (M800 and MyDro 850) RTUs send analog data every two minutes and update in real-time on a five percent or greater change. All Mission RTUs dispatch alarms in real-time.

OJRSA uses 19 Mission RTUs in their facility.  Photo by: Jeffery Watts
Mission Provides Unanticipated Functionality
The Mis sion system has provided OJRSA with solutions to issues that previously went undetected as well as presented a better course of action for a few previously existing processes.

Dain explained t hat during heavy rain events, the level sensing flow meter that measures the flume was experiencing dead band because of a blind spot above the head of the device. It would report a max reading and stop measuring flow due to configuration issues with the previous system. "We were losing money because we weren't able to bill the cities for those higher flows," he said. "We've gained a tremendous advantage. Now we see those dead band events and we can go back in to recalculate those flows based on the maximum flow."

Pumps within collection systems are highly susceptible to getting "ragged up" - where the impeller becomes entangled in some foreign object -  which results in the pump not running efficiently, leading to harmful and costly backups and equipment damage. Prior to Mission, when this occurred Dian had to comb  through pages of information looking for trending data for insight that would help identify this.
OJRSA uses current-sensing switches and current transducers on their pump motors to collect pump runtimes. With the Mission Pump Variance Report and Daily Station Summary Report, analyzing trending data is a streamlined, efficient process. "You can see a trend regarding your amps during usual pump runtimes. They're generally close together in comparison, but if you get a pump that is ragged, then you're actually pumping less water and your amps go down," he explained. "On the weekend, you're at home, and you're not always actively looking at the system, so that variance report has been really helpful too because it's almost like it grabs stuff without you having to go look for it."

OJRSA has also started using a Mission RTU to monitor the fuel level in their generators, using a Pulsar dBi ultrasonic transducer. He explained that this information is critical during severe weather events, since those sites can be without power for extended periods of time. "This capability is a huge advantage. If you don't have that, then someone has to go out in the rain and put a stick in the tank to see the fuel level. You're getting water in the fuel, and you're getting fuel on you," he said. "It's a huge advantage we have now."

Additionally, a portion of the OJRSA treatment facility was recently under construction, preventing operators from entering the area where chart recorders were located. They rerouted the 4-20 mA signals from the building to an M800 unit, which allows them to have all of their crucial system information sent to one central location. Dain said, "We like it so much. We like it better than the old way, so we kept it like that when the construction finished."

OJRSA officials are taking advantage of the generous Mission trade-in policy to upgrade their existing legacy (M800 and M110) units for the MyDro series. The LCD touchscreen makes the calibration processes remarkably easy.  To learn more about the benefits of upgrading to the MyDro series, contact If your utility has a need for a customized reporting feature, contact and ask for the Special Request Form.

Preparation Is Key For
Successful Service Calls
Being a field service technician can be a bit like being MacGuyver. No matter how much you plan ahead, something can still go awry. By visualizing each task you'll be performing, you decrease the chance of complications and set yourself on course to do the job accurately. Break down each task and its components to make a list of things you expect to need. Even though this may not be complete, it will help streamline each site visit.

We have spoken to several field technicians who have shared their experiences in hopes of providing you with some ideas that will help your site visit. Read a few stories and see if any of these situations sound familiar.
"I was fiddling around with the lock to open the door to the pump house when wasps started pouring out of the crack! I spent as much time waiting for the wasps to settle down as the rest of the job. I wished I'd had some hornet spray. Man did those stings hurt!"
"We were testing the high-level float on a brand new control cabinet. The noisemaker was the loudest I'd ever heard and directly in front of the Mission unit. I got my rain coat out of the truck and draped it over the noisemaker so I could think!"
"One of the best tools in my toolbox is a folding chair. I'll open the hatch of the sump and just sit there while I watch a couple of fill cycles. I pay attention to the floats. Might they get tangled up? Are they at the right heights? Is there any back flow when the pumps turn off (is a check valve working properly)? Does each pump run about the same length of time (is the alternator working)? There's just so much you can learn if you just slow down and look!"
"The Mission Technician emailed me a firmware update, but I forgot to bring the little adapter for the microSD card and my laptop. I wasn't sure if Walmart would have one but didn't want to go there anyway. After a couple of minutes, I realized my Android phone accepted those little memory cards. Murphy's law... I didn't have the little pin to open up the tiny slot on my phone. I searched around and found a little piece of wire that was just rigid enough. I felt a little like MacGuyver afterwards." Mission comments: firmware updates can also be performed over the air.
These stories prompted us to compile a list of equipment - in addition to the materials supplied with a standard installation - that can greatly improve your service visits. Each site visit can present its own challenges; these are suggestions for items that may not have been considered.
Personal Items:
* Wasp and bug spray
* Sunscreen and hat
* Rain gear, jacket
* Water and a snack
* A folding chair
Basic Tools:
* Multimeter (Volt Ohm Meter)
* Non-contact voltage tester
* Wire nuts
* Wire cutter and strippers
* Screwdriver including a very small one, a magnetic tipped one can be useful!
* Drill with bits and drivers
* Knife or blade
* Wrenches
Specialty Tools:
* Foldable step ladder
* Reciprocating saw
* Concrete drill bit
* A smart phone and charger
* A miniature key or small gem clip to open up the SD card slot
* SD card
* SD card reader or adapter
* Compass, GPS and level apps for your phone
* An extension cord
* Electrical tape, white tape can be useful for wiring identification
* Weather tape
* Sealant for drilled holes
* Unistrut, or pipe (for elevating an antenna)
* Pipe clamps
* 2 Amp mini fuse(s)
* Sheet metal and wood screws
* Mainboards (Legacy/MyDro)
* Antenna Cables (multiple lengths)
* Antenna Whips (standard/stubby)
* Radios (CAT M1, Dragon Fly, PSX8)
While each situation is different, and your needs may vary, making a list of general items that have helped others can take some of the guess work out of your service visits. We also recommend keeping a notebook, physical or digital, with you so that you can make a list of items that are most common during your service calls. We hope that the list provided here will be a good guide to help improve your site visits.

Drones Provide Effective, Efficient
Water Assessm
Scientists are looking for new ways to help you know what's in your water. The Environmental Working Group (EWG) found that water systems in 43 states are known to be contaminated by toxic contaminants known as per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) . EWG documents locations of publicly known pollution from PFAS chemicals nationwide, including public water systems, military bases, military and civilian airports, industrial plants, dumps and firefighter training sites. These systems serve approximately 19 million people and are regularly updated on an interactive map showing areas of concern.

PFAS are synthetic chemicals found in food packaging, household cleaners, carpets, paints, and nonstick cookware. Certain PFAS - called PFOA and PFOS - are no longer produced in the United States, but they can be found in some imported consumer goods. PFAS are often called 'forever chemicals' since they are not easily flushed from the body. According to the CDC, exposure to PFAS can affec t growth, learning, and behavior of infants and older children, lower a woman's chance of getting pregnant, interfere with the body's natural hormones, increase cholesterol levels, affect the immune system, and increase the risk of cancer.
Now, scientists are looking to the sky to help monitor water conditions. In September 2018, the Michigan Department of Environmental Quality launched a drone over Lake Margrethe. It is thought to be the first drone use specifically for monitoring PFAS.
"To the best of our knowledge, this the first time anyone has ever used a FLIR-equipped drone in the hunt for potential PFAS contamination," said Carol Isaacs director of the Michigan PFAS Action Response Team (MPART) in a press release. "Like our first-in-the-nation testing of public water systems, this innovative use of technology is another example of MPART's proactive approach to this emerging contaminant."
Nearby in Ohio, the University of Toledo is using the same technology to monitor algal blooms in Lake Erie that can negatively impact drinking water inlets and swimming locations. Armed with this information, water treatment plant operators can protect consumers from contaminated drinking water reaching their homes.
"We get the same results using drones as we do with more expensive and time-consuming measurements - including some made by probes put directly into the water," Dr. Richard Becker, associate professor in the UToledo Department of Environmental Sciences, told UT News.
According to Becker's study published in the  Journal of Great Lakes Research , satellite and other airborne monitoring systems may have limitations that drone sensors can fulfill. Drones are quick to launch and can obtain a lot of information in a relatively short amount of time. Traditional aerial monitoring via satellites can be hindered by cloud cover; drones are capable of flying under the clouds to gather data when other methods may fail.
Even NASA is utilizing drones to detect contaminates in water. Satellites scans get one pass per planetary rotation, which can be as much as two weeks between scans. Drones are not subject to the same constraints and can fly closer to the ground to gain more detailed information. This data is passed on to municipal water treatment facilities to allow them to adjust their machinery as necessary.
Methods of Collection                          
Drones allow researchers to collect data in a number of ways depending on their intended goal. Since water component concentration can vary greatly over small distances, drones can target smaller sections to sample physically and digitally, allowing for more accurate assessment.
* Direct collection of water via bags or bottles attached to the drones allows water to be tested in labs or mobile sites. Scientists can view water samples up close to determine contents and possible contaminants.
* Hyperspectral spectroradiometers - a special kind of camera attached to the drone - have optical measuring systems that measure spectral radiance or irradiance. Becker's study used these cameras to measure water-quality parameters that include chlorophyll, suspended minerals, cyanobacteria index, and surface scums. According to Konica Minolta , spectroradiometers are ideal for use in the field where accurate measurements need to be taken under real world conditions.
* Infrared cameras are used to detect water temperature and bacterial concentrations. Thermal imaging can show directionality of water flow and help to predict areas of possible future exposure to contaminants and track the sources of contamination.
Saving Time and Money
Drones assist researchers in gather ing samples and data efficiently and effectively while keeping costs down. The aircraft can be launched readily from almost anywhere and have a range of several miles. Their size and maneuverability allow for flying below clouds and right above the surface of bodies of water. These advantages make drones a cost-effective and simple choice for collecting data about water content.
Around the World
* Auckland, New Zealand is using drones to determine water quality at beaches.
* Drones help Barcelona, Spain efficiently inspect their sewer systems.
* Anglian Water , a water company that operates in the East of England , is saving time and money using drones to detect leaks in water pipes.
* NASA is pushing for aquatic conservation by utilizing drones that can see through waves to report on underwater environmental conditions.

"Some say that time is like water that flows around us (like a stone in the river)
and some say we flow with time (like a twig floating on the surface of the water)."

Chuck Klosterman, Eating the Dinosaur

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