News from Mission Communications for the Water and Wastewater Professional
Issue 28, Fall 2017
Weekly Management Report Displays Comprehensive Overview
How Businesses Can Prepare For Disaster
The Smart App That Stops Over-Watering


September 30-October 4
Chicago, IL

October 11
Lancaster, SC

October 15-18
Charlottetown, PEI

October 26-28
Myrtle Beach, SC

November 7-9
Kearney, NE

November 12-15
Raleigh, NC

November 21-22
Richmond, BC

December 4-6
Montreal, QC

December 4-6
Myrtle Beach, SC

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

Week 1: Survey of Features

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

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

Week 1: Survey of Features

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

Week 5: Special Topics

Week 1: Survey of Features

Week 2: Hardware, Instrumentation, and Installation

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



Weekly Management Report Displays Comprehensive Overview
Mission is excited to announce that a newly enhanced format of the Weekly Management Report is available on 123SCADA. The new report provides an extensive overview of Remote Terminal Unit (RTU) functionality and customer responsiveness to call-outs. It summarizes all data that is gathered and features charts and graphs that are updated weekly. The enhanced report has all the qualities of the weekly report offered through the legacy web portal, plus additional features for more thorough system monitoring. Multilingual versions are offered for non-English speaking customers.

Weekly Management Report Monitoring Features:
  • RTU Count displays the number of devices installed, including spare and disabled RTUs.
  • Messages Transmitted indicates how many digital, analog, and overhead messages (including signal strength, battery, AC voltage, and ambient temperature) were sent each week.
  • Notification Results specifies how the alarms were acknowledged. All alarms should be acknowledged either by pressing "1" during the voice call or by replying to an email or text message with "OK."
  • RTU Connectivity shows the average and worst performing sites.  Connectivity below 95% is considered "poor" and should be investigated.
  • Alarm Count details the number of events detected by the RTUs that were turned into notifications.
  • Acknowledgement Time computes the amount of time from when the RTU detected the alarm until Mission received an acknowledgment from the service user.
  • Disabled Inputs lists named RTUs that have been disabled for alarm notifications.
  • Backup Battery Condition monitors backup batteries for low-voltage readings. A low-voltage reading could be an indication that the battery is unable to power the RTU for an extended period of time in the event of an AC failure.
  • Untested High-Level Input reports a float that should be exercised to validate its proper function.
  • Failed Notification Destinations reports telephone numbers and fax numbers that Mission has been instructed to contact but with which connection was not possible.
  • Site Accesses lists specific dates when personnel used their electronic keys to access the site.
  • Tank and Well Configuration allows managers to monitor and confirm that "Best Practices" are being followed. This section is included if a customer has the Tank and Well package. The document "Best Practices for Remote Control Applications" is available from your web portal under "Downloads."
The newly formatted Weekly Management Report features graphs and charts to visually represent overview of data.

Parse Data at a Glance:
The management report  displays various easy-to-read
charts that visually represent 
data with a grading system for 
each section. In the top right of 
each text box there is a green, 
yellow, or red circle. Green indicates the functionality is currently good,  while yellow and red suggest there is room for improvement in these areas. These alerts can mean that RTUs  are sending too much data, the response time to call-out  notifications may be long,  and/or connectivity may be poor.
The Management Report will go 
out each Monday via email to designated users. You may also 
access it in your 123SCADA portal  by selecting "Start Menu," then "Reports," and then "Management Report." 

How Businesses Can Prepare For Disaster
Planning for the worst-case scenario before an emergency is imperative for water/wastewater utilities. Mitigation planning ensures that business operations are quickly resumed and run smoothly after an event. In addition to developing an overall emergency strategy that includes a communication plan and alternate arrangements for completing work, consider the following precautions:
  • Have a backup power plan for critical components and the tools your staff requires, such as generators for equipment and uninterruptible power supplies (UPS) for computers. Also consider small solar-equipped battery packs for smart phones.
  • Designate emergency roles for personnel so disaster operations are as organized as possible.
  • Make certain the Mission call-out schedule includes multiple ways to contact staff members in case one is compromised.
  • Have operators save phone numbers of co-workers to their smart phone contact lists.
  • Have spare parts for critical equipment and machinery on hand, as well as service tools.
  • Equip trucks with debris clearing tools like chainsaws. Include safety items such as fire extinguishers and sorbents, and spill kits for cleanup. 
Prepare with Your Mission System:
In addition to the recommended bi-annual system maintenance, it is a good idea to check the status of backup batteries in your Mission RTUs prior to winter or an impending natural disaster. The standard 12-volt, 5-amp hour RTU battery can offer up to 72 hours of power to the M110 and M800 series RTU when it is new and fully charged and up to 50 hours for the MyDro series.
Mission offers more than 50 unique reports, charts, graphs, and features that can help you plan for severe weather conditions with historical data available for comparative analysis. Users can do pump station assessments and analyze system vulnerabilities, usage, outages, runtimes, and potential problems associated with storm surges and record rainfall. Reports include:
  • Runtime vs. Rainfall reports to determine inflow and infiltration (I and I)
  • Runtime Variance Report
  • Estimated Flow Calculations
It is a good idea to consider all of this information as we continue through hurricane season and approach winter. If your organization does not have an emergency plan in place for severe weather, now is the time to implement one. Mission can offer custom reports for the specific needs of your utility and assist in your hazard mitigation planning. For more information on how Mission can help with weather preparedness planning, contact:

Mission Communications Monitors Hurricane Irma

Mission staff monitors the RTU status in Puerto Rico leading up to Hurricane Irma.  Photo Credit: Nickie Soleimanzadeh
In this photo, Mission Communications staff members were watching the radar as Hurricane Irma approached Mission-monitored sites in Puerto Rico. Irma made landfall on the southeast side of the island as a Category 5 storm with intense wind gusts as high as 155 mph and sustained winds of 118 mph. More than one million residents were left without power. When the local sites lost AC power, Mission remote terminal units (RTUs) continued to run on backup battery power.

The Smart App That Stops Over-Watering
Lush, green lawns came into vogue among the upwardly-mobile aristocrats in America when lawn mowers were invented in the 19th century. Well-groomed lawns are commonplace today, accounting for nearly 40 million acres of land, according to Columbia University. That much grass requires a lot of fertilizer and irrigation. The problem is most yards are over-watered, compromising valuable fresh water reserves. This is especially problematic in drought-prone areas like Texas.

WaterMyYard helps users understand the appropriate amount of time to water their yards. Photo Credit: Texas A&M Agrilife Extension Service

The over-watering problem was solved in 2013 when North Texas Municipal Water District (TNMWD) officials collaborated with Texas A&M AgriLife Extension engineers on a simple yard notification system called WaterMyYard.  The smart app developed by university engineers tells homeowners when and how long to run their sprinklers. The application analyzes current local weather conditions, compiles the data, and makes customized watering recommendations based on the type of irrigation system that is being used. These suggestions are sent out weekly to homeowners via text or email.
"Studies show that on average, about 50% of all water used for landscape irrigation is wasted," explains Dr. Guy Fipps, Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service engineer in a press release. "WaterMyYard uses the best science-based methods available to determine how much water to apply when irrigating lawns and landscapes."
WaterMyYard was upgraded in 2015 to include more service areas, weather stations, and remote rain gauges to measure rainfall amounts. It even makes recommendations for above-ground hose-end oscillating sprinklers. Approximately 8,700 Texas homeowners now subscribe to WaterMyYard in more than 80 participating cities. The app has been credited with saving approximately 718 million gallons of water per year.

How WaterMyYard Works
AgriLife Extension Services collaborate with Texas water districts, cities, and public utilities by offering WaterMyYard as a free app to water customers in their service areas. Because there is no state funding, app service costs are sponsored by water companies with a set-up and annual program support fee. Participating utilities must install an agricultural or Texas ET Network-based weather station in their service area to collect the data used by WaterMyYard. Information is stored and maintained by the Texas ET Network. 
WaterMyYard sends text messages to tell users how long to water their yards. Photo Credit: Texas A&M Agrilife Extension Service
The WaterMyYard app collects information from automated weather stations and local 
evapotranspiration  data 
to generate weekly watering recommendations for water customers. These directions are specific to each type of landscape a homeowner has. Customers download the smart app from their local utility website. They input the size and type of yards they have, their sprinkler precipitation rate or type of system, and WaterMyYard does the rest. It tracks watering and local weather conditions before it texts or emails recommendations to homeowners. The app also lists current water restrictions. This takes the guess work out of watering and counteracts what Dr. Fipps calls the "set it and forget it" mindset.
"What we've found is when irrigation systems are put in by contractors, the homeowner quite often doesn't ever change any of the settings on the irrigation controller," explains Dr. Fipps. "Typically, contractors set the controllers for summer watering requirements, which if not changed, will apply way too much water during the spring and fall months."
Dr. Fipps told Mission Communications they are open to expanding WaterMyYard to water utilities in other states as well as partnering with an organization like an irrigation controller company that could offer the app nationwide. Utilities interested in setting up a local WaterMyYard app can inquire at

"There's plenty of water in the universe without life, but nowhere is there life without water." 
~ Sylvia A. Earle 
  Newsletter Survey
We value your feedback! Please take a few moments to share your thoughts about this newsletter and tell us about your application. You could be featured in the next newsletter! Click here to complete the online survey.