News from Mission Communications for Water and Wastewater Professionals
Issue 35, Summer 2019
Mission Mitigates Melt Mess in Quebec
Mission Empowers RUSA to 'Solve Problems Before they Happen'
Thirsty Foods Consume More Water than Humans

Mission Bolsters Login Requirements

Cyber security threats against water infrastructures are becoming more prominent in the news these days. In order to ensure that Mission Communications continues to offer a highly secure product, there are two policy changes pertaining to user login credentials.

Upon logging into the web portal, each user will be prompted to change their username to a unique email address and update passwords that do not comply with new requirements.

Mission appreciates your cooperation in implementing these policies. If you have any questions about these new requirements, please contact

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

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 2: Hardware and Instrumentation

Week 3: Web Portal I  Notification and Unit Setup Options

Mission Mitigates Melt Mess in Quebec
As many devastating news stories have displayed, snow melts have caused severe flooding throughout many parts of North America, including Quebec, Canada this spring.  One customer of Mission Communications, the Ville de Lavaltrie, QC, is located along the St. Lawrence River. Lavaltrie encompasses 75 square kilometers (about 30 square miles) and provides water and wastewater collection services to approximately 12,000 residents out of a population of 14,500. They use 11 Mission remote terminal units (RTUs) to view trending data and develop strategies for flood mitigation. Lavaltrie started using Mission RTUs in the collection system in 2011, when the  Ministère de l'Environnement et de la Lutte contre les changements climatique  (Ministry of Environmental Affairs and the Fight Against Climate Change)  mandated that municipalities implement telemetry systems to monitor the amount of wastewater that was overflowing into rivers. 
Mission staff conducted an interview with Frédérick Rousseau, the Foreman of Engineering and Infrastructures at the Public Works Department of the city of Lavaltrie.* Rousseau has been with Lavaltrie for about 14 years. He participates in all public works projects, including  updating municipal networks. He is responsible for the filtration and wastewater treatment plant and oversees annual contracts with contractors such as snow removal, cleaning, marking municipal streets, and more.

This image shows Frédérick Rousseau in front of the Terasse Gravel panel, 
which contains two sewer flow meters connected to an M800 RTU. Photo credit: Ville de Lavaltrie

Using Mission Data for Melt Mitigation
Rousseau explained that prior to implementing Mission, the presence of bacteria in the sanitary lines was a source of concern each spring during the annual snow melt and spring rains. Part of the Lavaltrie sanitary network is a unitary network, which means that wastewater and rainwater flow through the same conduit to the wastewater treatment center (referred to as a combined sewer system in the U.S.). A portion of the bacteria-infected waters comes from the infiltration of water into the network caused by the age of the pipes and their proximity with the St. Lawrence River.
Lavaltrie water treatment plant is rated at 4,500 cubic meters (about 1.2 million gallons) per day. During the snow melt, the volume of water increases to almost 15,000 cubic meters per day. This can lead to flooding in many homes, as sewer lines are not able to handle the surplus water levels in a short period time.
Rousseau explained that the snow melt was more severe this year compared to previous years. "The last time we had a similar situation was in 2017. At that time, about 70 houses experienced sewer backups," he said. Mission has made a dramatic difference in the ability
This image displays one of the diesel pumps used to remove excess water from the sewer system during heavy snow melt. Photo credit: Ville de Lavaltrie
to mitigate flooding throughout the city. By observing the data provided by Mission, officials were able to identify the most critical parts of the network and where action needed to be taken quickly to avoid sewer backups. "We rented three diesel pumps and they were 
strategically placed along our sanitary line near the St. Lawrence River," he said, "by following the Mission data, we know when to start each pump." The water that was pumped away reduced the overload in the network. Rousseau explained, "This year, few residences were affected as we tracked Mission data transmissions and we were able to intervene at the right time." Rousseau consults the CSO/SSO and Volumetric Flow reports to track the effect of weather events on the sewer system, which helps avoid fines that have previously extended as high as $10,000.
Other Uses of the Mission System
In addition to tracking trending data in the spring, the city of Lavaltrie uses the Mission system in the wastewater collection system to ensure that the pumps are functioning normally, allowing for preventive action before critical mechanical problems occur.
The Public Works Department uses a rain gauge at a chosen site to predict the effect of
rains on the network, which allows it to detect possible overflows and to take  measures to prevent them.
Additionally, Mission relays are used to reset programmable logic controllers (PLCs) that control pump starts based on the reading of level transducers. Rousseau explained that the PLCs occasionally trip because of a flash or loss of AC power. In either case, he can see when the AC voltage went down and use the Mission relay to reset the PLC. Not having to go to the site saves Rousseau a lot of time because he can control everything remotely.
Overall, Rousseau indicated that Lavaltrie wishes to expand its Mission network. "We like the reliability of Mission enough to deploy the system in locations where we haven't been required to put a telemetry system in place." 
To learn more about the Mission system, contact .
*Frédérick Rousseau granted Mission Communications permission to directly quote him in English for this article.


Mission Empowers RUSA to 'Solve Problems Before they Happen'
Roseburg Urban Sanitary Authority (RUSA), based in Roseburg, Oregon, has been a Mission customer since 2010 and uses M800 series Mission Communications remote terminal units (RTUs) at nine pumping stations to monitor wet well levels and pump runtimes within the collection system. Jim Baird, General Manager for RUSA, is responsible for overseeing all daily operations within the utility. He has used Mission RTUs in various positions nearly since the company was founded.

The service area spans approximately 15.6 square miles and encompasses 11,000 connections, nine pump stations, 4,150 manholes, and about 160 miles of sewer pipeline. RUSA utilizes two treatment facilities. One is a traditional treatment facility with a dry weather average rating of 7.9 million gallons per day and a hydraulic capacity of 22 million gallons per day in the winter. The other treatment facility is a natural treatment system, which covers 340 acres and is used to cool and reduce the nutrients in discharge water before it is returned to the South Umpqua River.

Jim Baird poses with one of the Mission RTUs used in the RUSA collection system. Photo credit: Ryon Kershner

RUSA Saves Money and Time with Mission
RUSA implemented the Mission system when Baird was initially hired as Engineering Operations Manager. Prior to that time, RUSA used auto-dialers to alert the team of contracted operators of issues with the system. Baird explained, "An auto-dialer simply tells you when something has gone wrong. That is all it can do. That then requires you to go to the station and figure it out." RUSA officials and the contracted operators recognized a need for a system that provided more insight into potential problems.

Right before Baird was hired, the contracted company had submitted a proposal for a traditional SCADA system, but he proposed the Mission system as a cost-effective alternative. Baird said, "I ran the numbers for what it would cost to support the radio system, and that proposal was stopped just based on those numbers." Implementing the traditional SCADA solution would have required RUSA to update the network of radios according to FCC narrowband requirements. This would have cost $24,000 alone, not accounting for repeaters and regular tower maintenance.

Mission devices utilize the public radio data network, also known as the cellular network, which is maintained by the major carriers. Additionally, the Mission technology obsolescence guarantee covers the cost of replacement radios as cellular network technology evolves.

Baird explained that in addition to saving money, the 123SCADA web portal has allowed RUSA to save time. "Mission allows you to get snapshots of all your lift stations 24/7 and in theory, solve problems before they happen," he said. Though RUSA officials were initially impressed with Mission service, they opted to retain the auto-dialers as a redundant system because the area is subject to severe weather events during the wet winter season.

In late spring, Roseburg and the surrounding area were hit with two feet of snow accompanied by a nearly week-long power outage. The Mission system was critical to operations during this time because the lift stations were non-functional. "The chief mechanic was able to look at the 123SCADA app on his phone and figure out where to send a generator. We have a number of portable generators, but not one for every station," he explained. "He checked the level at each station to see how close it was to overflowing, and that allowed him to tell his crew where to take the generators first." Baird said that the Mission system was so helpful during this weather event that RUSA officials and the contracted operators have decided to remove the redundant auto-dialers and solely rely on Mission alarm call-out notifications to alert them of potential issues with the application.

Mission Aids Daily Operations at RUSA
Aside from relying on Mission data during severe weather events, RUSA monitors pump runtimes to help identify potential issues with the equipment and schedule preventative maintenance. "Trending is what it's all about when you're looking for failures. We use trending data to set alarms and intuitively try to figure out what is going on," Baird explained. "You can do it from your desk, and you don't even have to go out to the station but can still analyze a potential problem."
Jim Baird confirms that weekly maintenance checks have been executed properly. Photo credit: Ryon Kershner

Mission RTUs are also used to send data regarding wet well levels. Each wet well has three high-level sensor points to ensure operators are notified in the event of a potential overflow. Baird said, "No one thing should ever shut you out of pumping or alarming." The first point is the primary high-level, which is measured by an ultrasonic level sensor. The second is a redundant high-level, measured by a conductive probe. Finally, they have configured an overflow alarm setpoint, which they refer to as a high-high point. Baird explained that sewerage authorities in Oregon are required to have an overflow point for each wet well. If the well were to overflow, the date and time stamp of that level would be used when the event is reported to the state.

Additionally, the operators have wired a service mode relay to a light in each facility. The light illuminates when RTUs are in service mode, which is helpful to operators during their weekly maintenance visits to each site. The maintenance routine includes inspecting wet wells, pump equipment, and hatches. At sites with fixed generators, operators also exercise them for 30 minutes and ensure there is sufficient fuel in the event of a power outage. 

Long-Time Mission Proponent
Baird is a strong advocate of Mission service. In a previous position, he designed pump station control panels for wastewater and stormwater collection systems. When his clients requested a cost-effective monitoring system, Baird recommended Mission RTUs. "It is by far the easiest to implement and maintain. To have a map and all your stations there and the ability to view it on your laptop, desktop, or phone would seriously take hundreds of thousands of dollars if you did it in a different platform," he explained. "If customers didn't have a system and asked me to recommend one, I'd say 'it's really hard to beat this little box.'"

RUSA recently installed its first MyDro 850 unit to utilize the expanded I/O capabilities. Existing M800 units will be upgraded as budget allows so the utility will be able to benefit from any future enhancements to the Mission system. To learn more about the benefits of upgrading, consult the RTU Upgrade Options brochure, or contact .


Thirsty Foods Consume More Water than Humans
The GRACE Communications Foundation estimates that the average American uses about 60 gallons of water per day for tasks such as bathing, washing dishes, flushing the toilet, and drinking. These tasks encompass what is known as direct water usage. However, indirect water usage accounts for a much larger portion of America's water usage and includes items such as textile creation and food cultivation. Combined, these values encompass what is known as a water footprint. The average meat-eating American's water footprint is about 2,200 gallons per day, most of which is attributed to diet.

Not all foods are created equally. Meat cultivation requires significantly more water than fruits and vegetables because the water used to grow the animals' food must also be factored. See the list of common foods below for examples of water required to create a standard serving of each item. For easy comparison, foods with similar recommended serving sizes were selected for this article.

Carrot, 4 oz serving: 3.7 gallons
Broccoli, 4 oz serving: 9.8 gallons
Apple, 4 oz serving (1 small apple): 13.4 gallons
Banana, 4 oz serving (1 medium banana): 22.8 gallons

Potato, 3 oz serving: 8.9 gallons
Wheat bread, 3 oz serving (2 slices): 43.3 gallons
Pasta, 3 oz serving: 49.8 gallons

Beer, 8 oz serving: 15.7 gallons
Orange juice, 8 oz serving: 32.9 gallons
Apple juice, 8 oz serving: 33.8 gallons
Milk, 8 oz serving: 43.8 gallons

Chicken, 4 oz serving: 132.9 gallons
Pork, 4 oz serving: 165 gallons
Beef, 4 oz serving: 425.1 gallons

The LA Times has created a visual calculator that will allow you to estimate how much water was used to create various meals. Additionally, you can calculate your own water footprint by using this tool sponsored by the GRACE Communications Foundation.

The values for the water consumption of foods mentioned in this article are based on information gathered from an LA Times study conducted in 2015. Other general information was compiled from a study sponsored by the GRACE Communications Foundation.

"Water is the most perfect traveller because when it travels it becomes the path itself!"
~Mehmet Murat Ildan

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