News from Mission Communications for the Water and Wastewater Professional
Issue 10, Spring 2013
Loyal Sheltie Helps Water Utility Receive Alarms
4G Radios Bring Increased Reliability
America's Report Card for Water and Wastewater Investments
The Life and Legacy of Glen P. Robinson
Password Tips and Tricks


Wire the control panel HOA switch to a digital input to receive an alarm if the switch is left in the incorrect position after routine maintenance.
Americans drink more than 1 billion
glasses of tap water per day.  
Source: EPA





March 23-27 

Osage Beach, MO 


 KRWA Annual Conference

March 26-28 

Wichita, KS 


NEWWA Joint Operators Conference

April 3-4 

Worcester, MA 


Texas Water  

April 9-12 

Galveston, TX  


NMRWA Annual Conference

April 15-18 

Albuquerque, NM 


CWEA Annual Conference

April 16-19 

Palm Springs, CA 


VRWA Annual Conference

April 22-24 

Roanoke, VA 


AWWMA Annual Conference

April 29-May 2 

Anchorage, AK 


AZWA Annual Conference

May 1-3 

Glendale, AZ 


 NJWEA Annual Conference

May 13-17 

Atlantic City, NJ 


GRWA Spring Conference

May 18-21 

Jekyll Island, GA 


 AWWA ACE Annual Conference and Expo

June 9-13 

Denver, CO 




March 27

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

April 3

Week 1: Survey of Features   

 April 10

Week 2: Hardware, Instrumentation and Installation

April 17

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


April 24

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


May 1

 Week 1: Survey of Features  


 May 8

Week 2: Hardware, Instrumentation and Installation


May 15

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

May 22

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


 June 5

Week 1: Survey of Features


June 12 

Week 2: Hardware, Instrumentation and Installation


June 19 

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




































































































Loyal Sheltie Helps Water Utility
Receive Alarms
Eastsound, Washington is located approximately 100 miles northwest of Seattle. Ted Wixom is the Operations Manager of Eastsound Water Users Association (EWUA). Ted is deaf in one ear and profoundly deaf in the other. He wears a hearing aid on his good ear, but cannot hear high frequency tones. Ted receives alarm notifications for the Mission system via cell phone, pager and email.
Charlie and Ted working together at the EWUA office.

Ted has a service dog, Charlie, who helps him with his daily responsibilities. Although Ted cannot hear his cell phone ring, Charlie sounds the alarm. He responds and anxiously notifies him. "Charlie lets me know in no uncertain terms when my cell phone rings," explains Ted. "He usually jumps into my lap."

Charlie is a dependable six-year-old Shetland Sheep dog (Sheltie). Shelties are known for intelligence, obedience and loyalty. They are also known for being very energetic, a trait that helps Charlie notify Ted. "The high pitch tones make Charlie very anxious. When I first noticed that he was responding to the tones, I rewarded him. Over time, I trained him to let me know when my cell phone or pager was ringing," explains Ted. "He ignores all other electronic noises, so he doesn't send a lot of false signals. He's earned his kibble."

Without the ability to hear in one ear, Ted can no longer detect the direction from which sound originates. When someone begins speaking to Ted, Charlie notifies him by pointing him in the right direction. Charlie is a dedicated companion and goes everywhere with Ted. He even goes out in the field, although he stays in the truck for safety reasons.
In addition to alarming, EWUA uses the Mission system to monitor tank levels and pump cycles on remote tanks and wells. Water quality variables, such as turbidity and chlorine residual are also monitored at one of the remote treatment plants. Before using the Mission system, EWUA personnel had to predict when to conduct daily treatment plant routines. Occasionally, personnel arrived at the site too early or too late. "We are now able to operate the treatment plant instead of the treatment plant operating us. We trust the data and let it guide our actions," Ted explains.
Recently EWUA implemented a tank and well control package to control the pumps that fill a remote tank. Five hundred thousand gallons of water overflowed in 2012 because manual controls were used. After that incident, personnel knew there had to be a better way. EWUA then partnered with Mission to provide automatic controls with the hopes of reducing or eliminating overflows. Ted uses the analog reports and graphs during meetings to review turbidity and chlorine residual. The water quality changes each season. These analog graphs help Ted evaluate high and low values during seasonal  changes. "We're not interested in specific values; we're interested in trends. The data is displayed in a manner that allows us to review it in an intelligent and useful way," Ted explains.

EWUA began using the Mission system approximately one year ago. "This was very new to us, but we're quite happy with the results. The information that Mission sends me is great, but most of the time it can't make the final six inches to my brain and that's what Charlie's job is. He's a great companion," Ted said.


Increasing Reliability and Stability
with 4G Radios
In February of this year, Mission Communications released the new fourth generation (4G) AT&T, HSPA+ radios for deployment. AT&T's second generation (2G) radio networks will be phased out by 2016. Cellular carriers are currently transitioning cellular towers to accommodate the frequencies for the more efficient 4G networks. Upgrading to 4G radios will improve network layer protocol and error connection methods.
AT&T 4G radios are ready for deployment.

"Users will experience a higher rate of connectivity and enhanced performance, because of the fourth generation networks. Mission users can be assured of increased reliability, making the return on their initial investment that much greater," stated Forrest Robinson, president of Mission Communications.

The 4G radio migration will be implemented gradually in the next several years. Mission offers a technology guarantee in writing which states users will not be left with obsolete technology. Mission customers will receive a 4G radio upgrade, once a communication problem related to 2G cellular service is discovered by Mission technical support. Mission engineering and technical support personnel monitor the performance of each customer's equipment daily, and will notify them once a problem is discovered.

4G upgrades by cellular carriers are a welcome addition for increased dependability and performance-driven service. This 4G standard allows more Mission customers to dynamically share and utilize network resources, while supporting more simultaneous users. The 4G upgrade is just another way Mission continues to provide its customers with the highest quality service possible.


ASCE "Failure to Act" Report Summary
Water quality measures and mandates over the last 50 years have drastically reduced water-borne illnesses. These improvements have made the U.S. one of the largest suppliers of clean water in the world. This statistic may be unsustainable if fiscal realities are not addressed.

The "Failure to Act" report published in 2011 by the American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE) depicts a harsh reality for all Americans. The study includes an analysis of what will happen if water and wastewater infrastructure continues to be under-funded. The ASCE study covered various infrastructure elements such as pipes, treatment plants, pump/lift stations and other equipment. It determined how these components will suffer or prosper under current and future economic conditions. Strategies included new infrastructure installations and infrastructure rehabilitation.

Statistics are Grim for Old Infrastructure
Approximately 170,000 public drinking water systems exist across the U.S. Old systems continue to deteriorate just as new infrastructure is added. Infrastructure components have average life spans of between 15 and 95 years. Equipment in older cities is reaching the end of its life span. Failure to replace old equipment will lead to failure and an under-served population. Water infrastructure failures will cause damage to other infrastructure elements, disruptions in water service and delays to emergency response.

The U.S. has nearly 14,780 wastewater treatment facilities - a difference of 155,220 from the amount of public drinking water systems. Many of these facilities are also in poor condition and lack the capacity to efficiently serve the communities. Insufficient capacity is a dangerous proposition. It leads to the discharge of approximately 900 billion gallons of unsanitary effluent every year.
Source: www.asce.com

Maintenance Dollars on the Decline
Rehabilitation and maintenance of existing infrastructure totaled $91 billion in 2010. Only $36 billion was funded, which left a funding gap of $55 billion. These figures do not include costs associated with replacement and environmental impacts from infrastructure failures. It is obvious from these shortages that capital investment for water and wastewater infrastructure is not meeting societal demands. The funding gap is projected to grow to $144 billion if the current economic conditions continue. That figure falls short of the $195 billion needed to ensure an infrastructure that meets demand. Funding deficits will also have a ripple effect. The water/wastewater industry could lose up to 700,000 industry positions by 2020.  Those job losses could mean a $416 billion reduction in the U.S. gross domestic product.

Water/wastewater equipment providers can play a key role in averting infrastructure failures by developing technology for the evolving needs of the industry. Municipalities and utilities can do their part by investing in sustainable technologies and enacting proactive measures that enforce water efficiency practices. The benefits will far outweigh the costs when future generations are able to rely on sustainable water/wastewater infrastructure.

Securing Funds for a Sustainable Future
A sustainable future is possible with careful planning and proactive measures.  Water/wastewater utilities have a number of ways to secure funding for maintenance and infrastructure improvements. Many of these initiatives can be found in the form of federal grants, low interest loans and environmental initiatives.

The American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 is one source that makes funds available to individual states to ensure clean and safe drinking water. The Clean Water State Revolving Fund and The Drinking Water State Revolving Fund programs are two other options that can be found on the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) website. The EPA makes grants available to states and Puerto Rico to finance high priority water and wastewater infrastructure projects. Individual utilities should consult their respective state governments to find out what funding is available and criteria they must meet to secure infrastructure improvement funding. Here are some links to assist utilities in researching funding sources:

Detailed information from this article can be found in the 2011 ASCE "Failure to Act" report. The 2013 "Failure to Act" report was recently released in March of this year.  


The Life and Legacy of Glen P. Robinson  

It is with our deepest regrets to announce that Mr. Glen P. Robinson passed away on January 16, 2013. Mr. Robinson, founder of Scientific Atlanta, was an early investor in Mission Communications and the father of Mr. Forrest Robinson, the President of Mission Communications.

Mr. Robinson began his lifelong legacy as a chemical engineering student at the Georgia Institute of Technology. His education was temporarily interrupted by his recruitment into the Naval Signal Corps and service in the Pacific Theatre of World War II. When the war was ending, Mr. Robinson built and used ham radios to relay information from the soldiers back to local U.S. radio stations.

After his return from the Asia-Pacific War, Mr. Robinson returned to the Georgia Institute of Technology and began his pursuit of a Bachelor of Science in Physics.

In late 1951, Mr. Robinson and six Georgia Institute of Technology colleagues formed Scientific Atlanta. The organization helped NASA establish ground stations for communication with astronauts during the Mercury, Gemini and Apollo projects. The voice of John Glenn, the first American to orbit Earth, was transmitted and received by radio antennas designed with equipment built by Scientific Atlanta.

Mr. Robinson remained the CEO of Scientific Atlanta for twenty years until he retired in 1979. He was presented with several awards and recognitions such as the Georgia's Small Businessman of the Year award received in 1965, Georgia Business and Industry Association's Entrepreneur of the Year award received in 1981 and he was elected to the Georgia Technology Hall of Fame in 1993.

Mr. Robinson invested in many small companies throughout his lifetime. From his extensive experience in the communications industry, Mr. Robinson knew Mission could provide a very valuable service to municipalities at a low cost.

 "My father loved to be involved in small companies. He always said that he liked knowing everyone by name," Mr. Forrest Robinson recalls. "A company doesn't have to be big to be great. It has to have the right people and knowledge to be successful."

Five Password Tips and Tricks 

Many accounts are hacked because a simple, easy-to-guess password is chosen. A complex password is one of the many elements of a secure SCADA system. Listed below are five tips for creating passwords that are hard to hack, but easy to remember:

  1. Combine your base password with the first two vowels and the first two consonants of the domain name. Capitalize the consonants and vowels. This will give you a different password for all of your logins. Example: Let's say my base password is "Scada" for www.gmail.com. The new password would be "ScadaAIGM". A and I are the first two vowels in "gmail". G and M are the first two consonants in "gmail".
  3. Use a simple word and shift one letter to the right on the keyboard. For example, "Scada" becomes "Dvsfs".
  5. Use a personal mnemonic. For example, "IgciM11" stands for "I graduated college in May 2011".
  7. Use a simple math equation like 10*2=20. Using numbers and symbols increase complexity.
  9. Use the FCC ID # on the back of your iPhone or a unique number that is easily accessible.


If you find it difficult to remember all of the passwords for your accounts, 1Password provides a cloud service that stores all of your passwords.

Did you find the password tips helpful? Share your thoughts with us by sending an e-mail to news@123mc.com.  

"Water has a perfect memory and is forever trying to get back to where it was." -Toni Morrison 
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