News from Mission Communications for the Water and Wastewater Professional
Issue 22, Spring 2016
Real-Time Monitoring Guarantees Snow Cover at Telluride Ski Resort
Smart Solutions on the Horizon for the Water and Wastewater Industry
Volumetric Flow Calculation Enhancement Removes Unwanted Runtimes
Monitoring Record-Breaking Rainfall


Test Your Notification Destinations

After your destinations are added to the alarm callout system, you can test each contact method with the alarm test function.

Click on the destination icon to receive a test voice call, text message, or email. After you accept the test alarm, the transmission ID on the test page will turn green to indicate a successful transmission.


NVWEA Annual Conference
April 5-6 
Sparks, NV

AWWMA Annual Conference

April 18-21 
Anchorage, AK
VRWA Annual Conference

April 18-20 
Roanoke, VA

 NMRWA Annual Conference  
April 18-20 
Albuquerque, NM

Wyoming Rural Water
Spring Conference
April 19-22 
Casper, WY

Texas Water
April 19-22 
Fort Worth, TX  

CWEA Annual Conference  
April 26-29 
Santa Clara, CA
April 26-28 
Bozeman, MT

AZ Water Annual Conference
May 11-13 
Glendale, AZ

NCRWA Annual Conference
May 16-19 
Greensboro, NC 

ACE 2016
June 20-22
Chicago, IL 

 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  
Week 4: Web Portal II -  Supergraph, Reporting, Volumetric Flow and Advanced Topics
  Week 1: Survey of Features
  May 11
Week 2: Hardware, Instrumentation and Installation

May 18
Week 3: Web Portal I - Notification and Unit Setup Options

May 25
Week 4: Web Portal II -  Supergraph, Reporting, Volumetric Flow and Advanced Topics

June 8
Week 1: Survey of Features

June 15
Week 2: Hardware, Instrumentation and Installation 


Real-Time Monitoring Guarantees
Snow Cover at Telluride Ski Resort
Snow guns or snow cannons are used by ski resorts to produce artificial snow. These machines increase the amount of snow cover to extend the season for ski resorts. Snowmaking machines use water pumps and air compressors to force pressurized air and water through small nozzles. It takes about 75,000 gallons of water to cover almost an acre with six inches of snow, according to SMI Snowmakers. Telluride Ski Resort in the Rocky Mountains of Colorado uses approximately 75 million gallons of water per year to manufacture snow. Water is gravity-fed from ponds on the 223-acre resort to the pump house. From there, it is pumped up the mountain through pipelines and valves to over 90 snowmaking guns. Four Mission RTUs are installed on remote stations to monitor pump status, discharge pressure, pond level, and flow rates for the ski resort.

A skier navigates the Telluride slopes. Photo credit: Casey Day, Colorado Ski Photography.

Snowmaking is different from typical water systems that are either high pressure-low flow or low pressure-high flow. The Telluride Ski Resort system is high pressure-high flow for optimal distribution of water to the snow guns. The discharge pressure is around 600 pounds per square inch (PSI) and the average flow is 2,000 gallons per minute (GPM).

Before the Mission system was installed it was difficult for the Telluride Ski Resort snowmaking team to get the process ramped up and turned off in a timely fashion. Any delay is costly to the resort since snowmaking can only be done three months out of the year, and during prime weather conditions.

"Getting everyone in place to start the system and to run the guns was quite a coordination effort. If anything went wrong, there were hours of downtime, but with Mission we're able to start, stop, and monitor remotely which has saved us a lot of time," explains Brandon Green, Snowmaking Manager for Telluride Ski Resort.
Brandon Green explains the snowmaking process for Telluride Ski Resort. Video credit: Life Cycle Studio.
Brandon Green explains the snowmaking process for Telluride Ski Resort. Video credit: Life Cycle Studio.

Annual snowfall in the Rocky Mountains varies and timing is unpredictable. Green must ensure there is enough snow on the slopes regardless of the weather. Remote start-up from the Mission system is a lot easier than getting the team in place for start-up. Remote monitoring capabilities have saved workers a great deal of time. System capacity can be observed on the web portal and problems can be resolved immediately. If water levels approach maximum capacity, they can be reduced to avoid crashing the system.

"For us, time is money. There is a significant time savings. Ultimately, we're at the hands of weather, but this enables us to start up faster and run longer because it's a more efficient start-up process," Green explains.

Telluride Ski Resort is an award-winning resort known for exemplary water and energy conservation efforts that include system and snow gun enhancements. Click here to read more about Telluride Ski Resort.

Smart Solutions on the Horizon for the
Water and Wastewater Industry
One in nine people worldwide do not have access to clean water, according to the United Nations. This is largely due to pollution from urban runoff and industrial and agricultural activities. Several new technologies may help sustain freshwater ecosystems.

Underwater robots store and transmit environmental information. Photo credit: EU FET-PROACTIVE H2020 project subCULTron.

European scientists have designed the world's largest water quality monitoring system in Venice, Italy. The subCULTRON project is coordinated by the Artificial Life Lab at the University of Graz. The team uses a swarm of 120 robotic mussels, fish, and lily pads to measure and report water quality. The underwater robots collect data on how Venice canals and waterways are impacted by industry, tourism, transportation, and sewage. The data is then sent to government agencies. If successful, the underwater robots could replace manual sampling.

The robots network with each other through bio-inspired algorithms called swarm communication. They mimic the way social insects communicate when they interact with their environments. Artificial mussels monitor algae and bacterial encrustation in the canals. They also store data gathered and shared. Lily pads collect information on the surface from ship traffic or satellite data. Fish explore and monitor waterways and exchange that information with the other robots. The scientists hope to expand the project for other applications. 
Smart Concrete Paves the Way to Sustainability
England researchers may have solved the problem of storm water runoff and flooding with a form of porous concrete called Topmix Permeable. The aggregate absorbs 1,057 gallons of water every 60 seconds. Even if it is 96 percent clogged, it still functions like standard concrete. The concrete has a structural and hydraulic layer. The hydraulic layer contains aggregate and voids that expand when water freezes. Topmix Permeable could offer sustainable storm water management that prevents flooding and protects water quality.

Melting Ice with Electrified Concrete
A slab of conductive concrete demonstrates de-icing capability outside the Peter Kiewit Institute in Omaha during a winter storm in December 2015. The concrete carries just enough current to melt ice while remaining safe to the touch. Photo credit: Chris Tuan and Lim Nguyen.
Traditional methods of de-icing roadways are hard on the environment, labor-intensive, and expensive. University of Nebraska Engineering Professor Chris Tuan may have solved the problem with a concrete mix that conducts electricity to generate heat and melt away ice. The concrete mixture contains a 20 percent blend of steel shavings and carbon particles. The conductive concrete is being trialed by Federal Aviation Administration officials in Omaha, Nebraska.

This solution saves time and money by eliminating the need for gritting trucks following a snowfall because it de-ices itself. The concrete also shows promise for roadways that can charge electric cars. Initial costs of installation are high but can be recouped once de-icing chemicals and personnel costs are no longer needed. 
Volumetric Flow Calculation Enhancement
Removes Unwanted Runtimes 
Flow monitoring helps operators analyze system performance and assists with comparative studies for growth analysis. The Mission system can report hourly flow rates using the Volumetric Flow Calculation method. The system calculates the volume moved during each cycle based on:
  • Cross sectional area of the sump or wet well
  • Start and stop levels (either from a level transducer, or using fixed values for each pump event)
  • Start and stop times from digital pump runtime inputs
The Mission algorithm accounts for inflow while the pump is running. This feature is available on Mission M800 RTUs which report real-time pump state changes.

Some Mission customers also monitor runtimes for blowers, chemical dosers, and generators. Mission software developers recently added a new feature that allows you to exclude unwanted runtimes from volumetric flow calculations. If you are using the Volumetric Flow Calculation feature, chances are you do not want generator runtimes or chemical dosing pump runtimes to be included in the calculation.

In the table above, the start level is measured when the pump starts. The end level is measured when the pump stops. The number of gallons is the total amount pumped during that cycle. This value includes the start gallons, the inflow rate, and the excess gallons. The pump GPM is the number of gallons pumped per minute during that cycle. To receive the most accurate readings, make sure the pumps run individually. They should also completely start and stop. Pumps controlled by a variable frequency drive (VFD) cannot be used. A more in-depth calculation of each pump cycle is available in the Volumetric Calculations document.

To remove a runtime input from Volumetric Flow Calculations:
  • Log into your web portal.
  • Select Setup in the left sidebar.
  • Select Unit Maintenance.
  • Select the station RTU (click on the wrench).
  • Scroll to Volumetric Flow Calculation and select Edit.
  • Select Disabled next to the digital runtime input.
  • Click Update.
If you have questions regarding Volumetric Flow Calculations or the new enhancement, please contact Technical Support for assistance at (877) 993-1911, option 2.

Monitoring Record-Breaking Rainfall

In early March, a storm dumped heavy rain across parts of the south, causing severe flooding in several states. A Mission customer in Louisiana monitors rainfall with rain tipping buckets that are connected to pulse option boards. The tipping bucket reported over 20 inches of rain over a four-day period as illustrated in the Rainfall Calendar below. 

The heaviest rainfall was recorded on March 9. A closer look at the data to the right shows there were several 15-minute intervals where 0.5 or more inches of rain fell. These readings represent about 3 to 4 tips per minute.

You can download rainfall data on your web portal to Excel, create a table, and sort the readings. This way you can further analyze the data to determine when the heaviest and the lightest rainfall occurred.  

If you have a large service area, consider strategically placing tipping buckets throughout your territory. You may be able to determine if early preparations for large inflows are necessary based on consistent weather patterns in your area. For instance, a Mission customer in Alabama monitors the west side of town for heavy rainfall to determine if preemptive action should be taken to divert flows on the east side of town.

The Runtime vs. Rainfall report can help inflow and infiltration problems. The graph below shows that runtimes dramatically increased when heavy rainfall began on March 9.

Pump runtimes doubled following the rain event on March 9.

Best Practices for Rainfall Tipping Buckets
Location and area conditions are important to consider when installing a rain tipping bucket. Make sure the tipping bucket is not located next to a building or structure. This prevents inaccurate readings due to rainfall splatter from the roof or swirling winds. It is best to place rain tipping buckets in areas with no falling debris. Leaves and bird droppings can affect the accuracy of the rainfall readings. Birds and rodents also like to nest in tipping buckets. Make routine checks to be sure nests are not obstructing the bucket.

No Missing Data
From time to time, cellular carriers perform routine maintenance on cell towers and RTUs will have a temporary loss of communication. The pulse option board will continue to count the tips from the tipping bucket and store them locally during these events. The readings are reported on the web portal when communication is restored.

If you have any questions about monitoring rainfall, please contact Mission Technical Support at (877) 993-1911, option 2.

"Running water never grows stale, so you just have to keep on flowing." ~Bruce Lee
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