News from Mission Communications for Water and Wastewater Professionals
Issue 34, Spring 2019
MyDro Upgrade Improves Olathe Operations
Mission Evolves with the Cellular Network
Sleeping (and Dining) with the Fishes

The 123SCADA web portal is highly customizable. Users can even upload their own company logo to appear on the desktop background. 

To upload a custom logo and adjust the size, go to Start Menu > Preferences > Customer. Users can also move the logo to a different position on the desktop by clicking and dragging it to the desired location. Configurations made in Customer Preferences will affect all users on the site. 

To learn more about 123SCADA features, watch "Top Reasons to Use 123SCADA" or email
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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

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

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

MyDro Upgrade Improves Olathe Operations
The City of Olathe, Kansas has used Mission-managed SCADA for more than a decade. Located in Johnson County, Olathe is one of the most populated cities in the state with more than 140,000 residents. Olathe currently uses 25 Mission remote terminal units (RTUs) to monitor wastewater collection and the landfill leach field site, as well as detect leaks in the clean water distribution pipeline . Currently, Olathe is in the process of upgrading legacy (M110 and M800) units to the MyDro series as part of an effort to update technology.  

Lloyd Harold poses with a MyDro retrofit RTU. Photo credit: Lloyd Harold
Lloyd Harold, Lift Station Supervisor, has been with The City of Olathe for two and half years and has more than 20 years of experience in the water and wastewater industries. For 15 years, he has worked closely with the Mission system, having installed nearly 300 Mission RTUs. Because of his expansive knowledge of Mission products and services, Lloyd oversees all operations that involve the Mission system in Olathe. By strategically separating devices across three web portals (Solid Waste, Clean Water, and Wastewater), Lloyd can manage each application individually.

Solid Waste Management
When garbage at the landfill has decomposed and liquified, the resulting slurry runs into the leach field through underground pipes. A Mission RTU monitors the levels in the leach field and sends an alarm notification when the user-designated level is surpassed. The liquid is then transferred for treatment to prevent a potential overflow.

Clean Water Distribution
The City supplies approximately 100,000 individuals with an average of 25 million gallons of clean water per day. Solar-powered RTUs monitor the pressure in their freshwater distribution pipelines. Changes can indicate breaks or leaks.

Wastewater Collection
The majority of RTUs at Olathe are used at sewer lift stations to monitor a portion of city wastewater collection. The City collects approximately 1.23 million gallons of wastewater per day. The remainder of the wastewater is collected and treated by Johnson County, explaining the discrepancy between water distributed and wastewater collected.
A rainfall tipping bucket at the Olathe North Woods site. Photo credit: Lloyd Harold

The City has 22 lift station sites and operates three different types of pumps in its collection system, submersible pumps, dry pit pumps, and vacuum prime pumps. The lift stations use interfaces such as Pulse Input and Analog Input Expansion Modules as well as instrumentation, including flow meters, pressure transducers, and rainfall tipping buckets. In conjunction with these interfaces and instrumentation, the Mission RTUs are used to monitor pump runtimes, flow, well levels, and backup generators. The Daily Runtime report is used to assess the overall health of pump equipment by looking for anomalies such as excessive runtimes, which may indicate the need for preventative maintenance.

Benefits of Upgrading
As vacuum pumps age, their seals become increasingly susceptible to leaks, which can be difficult to locate. A vacuum pump with a leak will not be able to pull water into the volute, only pulling air instead. Lloyd said the ability to wire current sensors directly to the digital inputs is one advantage of the MyDro series. "It allows us to get runtimes on the vacuum pumps, so we know if a vacuum pump is getting a leak in a seal or experiencing other problems. Now we can get runtimes on our vacuum pumps at our lift stations," he explained. Over time, runtimes become longer, indicating that there may be a leak in the seal. This information is helpful for performing preventative maintenance, which can extend the lifetime of a pump.

This digital chart displays pump runtime information.
Lloyd said he also appreciates the increased capacity of the auxiliary power supply output. MyDro units have a boost-buck converter with a 12 or 24 VDC selectable output. "The increased voltage is useful because we use a lot of instrumentation. We do a lot of data collecting, so having that robust power supply really helps," he explained.

So far, Olathe officials have upgraded five of their legacy units to MyDro. The process was straightforward and only took about an hour for each unit. "All of the upgrades were retrofits, so we used the existing case and just changed out the mainboard and wired it up. It was an easy transition," Lloyd explained. Olathe staff is in the process of redesigning control panels for older lift stations and once that process is complete, they will continue to upgrade existing legacy RTUs to the MyDro series.

In addition to the benefits described, the MyDro series has removable terminal blocks, a convenient LCD touch display, high current onboard relays, increased memory, a smart backup battery charging circuit, and more. To assist in the upgrade process, Mission created an instruction manual that can be accessed through the web portal. Learn more about the benefits of upgrading legacy units to MyDro by contacting


Mission Evolves with the Cellular Network
The cellular network is a fundamental part of daily life for many, but few realize how complex the technology is. In the past 40 years, the network has advanced through several generations (i.e. 2G, 3G, 4G). Unfortunately, these classifications can be difficult to understand because the major carriers often misuse them as marketing and sales tactics. Generations refer to required capabilities for speed, data transmission, security, and other factors. These requirements are updated to reflect the intended usage of the network with the advancement of each generation. 

The first cellular networks used analog technology, and it was not until later that the 1G classification was given to this period in the cellular network evolution. Analog networks were unencrypted, making it easy for anyone with a scanner radio to listen to calls. The 2G network marked the transition to digital technology, which provided increased security and supported text messaging and web browsing. Subsequent generations, including 3G, 4G, LTE, and upcoming 5G have incrementally increased security, capacity, and data transmission rates.

As these advancements relate to Mission service, capacity is the most important factor. If a cellular tower is a bucket, then the customers using data from that tower are varying sizes of stones in the bucket. With the analog cellular network, the bucket was small and filled up quickly, and the fuller the bucket, the slower the data transmission rate. The bucket becomes larger with the advancement of each generation, making room for more stones. Mission Communications is a grain of sand in this analogy. Mission does not require higher speed to transmit RTU data, but the increased capacity means there is more room in the network. 

While "generations" refer to the capabilities of different phases of cellular technology, there are also classifications for how data is transmitted. Currently, there are two standard types of data transmission architectures in the United States, Global System for Mobile Communication (GSM) and Code Division Multiple Access (CDMA). At the time of its creation, GSM stood for Groupe Spécial Mobile, representing the committee designated to define the European standard during the evolution from analog to digital technology. The term was given its present meaning after the standard became commonplace in cellular networks throughout the world. The technology that later became the CDMA standard was first used by the Allied Forces in World War II to keep Nazi forces from jamming radio signals.

Both GSM and CDMA are multiple access technologies, meaning they are designed to allow for multiple calls and/or internet connections on one radio channel, though the methods for establishing connections and transmitting information are different. AT&T and T-Mobile developed their networks in accordance with the GSM standard; Verizon and Sprint use CDMA technology.

Many cellular providers are now focused on achieving LTE adherence, which was developed based on the GSM standard. LTE stands for long-term evolution, as this generation of cellular service is intended to adjust to the needs of consumers over time. Most importantly, the goal of LTE service is to increase capacity and speed. In order to adhere to the LTE standard, Verizon announced that it will retire support for its 3G CDMA network, effective December 31, 2019.

Mission pioneered managed SCADA service by utilizing the analog cellular network in 2000 when the first remote terminal units (RTUs) operated on the control channel of the Advanced Mobile Phone Service (AMPS) network. Since that time, Mission has kept stride with changes in cellular technology, including adding support for the successive generations of the GSM and CDMA networks and adding dual-carrier radios. Mission is currently in the process of upgrading 3G Verizon radios to LTE.

The Mission technology obsolescence guarantee ensures that customers will never be financially responsible for upgrades due to technology phase-outs. Some of the oldest Mission RTUs in the field are still operating and are working with their fifth different type of radio over the course of almost 20 years. Before the Verizon CDMA phase-out, Mission will send approximately 5,000 radio upgrade kits. Each kit supplies a radio, SIM card, firmware chip or SD card (for legacy and MyDro units, respectively), chip extractor, and written instructions. The process should take no longer than 15 minutes per RTU. Contact to learn more about the radio upgrade process.


Sleeping (and Dining) with the Fishes
According to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Association (NOAA), nearly 95% of the ocean has yet to be explored. Curiosity drives tourists to flock to remote regions, such as Fiji, Tanzania, Europe, and even Florida to dine, dance, and commune with nature in underwater restaurants and resorts as aquatic life frolics around them.

The list below highlights a few examples of popular underwater attractions:

Conrad Maldives Rangali Island Hotel is advertised as the world's first all-glass undersea restaurant and residence located nearly 17 feet under the Indian Ocean. A two-level guest residence, called The MURAKA, offers dining, living, and sleeping quarters above the water, along with an exclusive underwater bedroom, living space, and a bathroom with aquatic views.

Photo credit: Justin Nicholas

Subsix opened in 2010 and is known as the world's first underwater restaurant and club. It is located nearly 20 feet beneath the Indian Ocean on a coral reef garden. Patrons arrive by boat and descend a three-tier staircase to reach the club. Floor-to-ceiling windows offer views of the illuminated sea floor.

Photo credit: Subsix, Niyama Private Islands Maldives

The 5.8 underwater restaurant was constructed in New Plymouth, New Zealand. It was shipped to the 5-star Hurawalhi Island Resort in the Lhaviyani Atoll in Maldives and submerged 16 feet below sea level. Patrons can enjoy panoramic views of the coral reef while dining on high-end fare that includes a seven-course dinner for two.

Photo credit: Hurawalhi Island

The Jules' Undersea Lodge can only reached by diving 21 feet beneath the surface and entering through an opening in the bottom of the structure where guests can either stay the night or just dine on pizza delivered by a scuba diver.

Photo credit: Jules' Undersea Lodge

The Atlantis resort is modeled after the mythical missing city, and tourists can immerse themselves in underwater suites called the Poseidon and Neptune. Each suite features luxury accommodations with floor-to-ceiling views of the Ambassador Lagoon and 65,000 different marine animals. Accommodations include two complimentary dolphin encounters for guests who want to have a more interactive experience.

Photo credit: Atlantis, The Palm

The Manta Resort is a high-end getaway that offers a floating private Underwater Room encircled by a turquoise blue bubble. A boat takes guests to the multi-leveled structure 250 meters offshore. The landing deck at sea level features a lounge area and a bathroom with open-air shower. A ladder leads up to the outdoors for sunbathing, and the lower level leads to a bedroom underneath the ocean with 360-degree views of aquatic life that is attracted by spotlights.  

Photo credit: © Manta Resort

Underwater Fun Facts
  • Seventy percent of the world's oxygen comes from the ocean. The ocean emits oxygen as a result of photosynthesis that occurs through phytoplankton, algae, plankton, and kelp. About 28% comes from rainforests and plants, and the other 2% comes from other sources.
  • To date, scientists have mapped only 10% of the oceans, primarily using sonar technology. Only 35% of the coastal waters around the United States have been mapped.
  • Ninety-five percent of the water on Earth is in the ocean. It is also home to 94% of all life that exists on our planet.
  • Scientists at Oxford University discovered that fish are fast learners and use what is called spatial cognition. They observe their environments, make mental maps, and retain memories for months at a time, making them very observant to changes in their environment.

"To improve oneself you must be as persistent as the drip, drip, drip of water filling a bucket. 
Do a little bit, every day."
~Jeffrey Fry

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