News from Mission Communications for Water and Wastewater Professionals
Issue 33, Winter 2018
Sainte-Thècle Chooses Mission Tank and Well Control
Rural Water District Performs Risk-Free Trial with Mission RTU
Rising Salt Levels Jeopardize North American Fresh Water

Read the French translation of this newsletter!

During cold weather months, pressure transducers are vulnerable to freezing conditions. If your application utilizes this type of instrument, you can consider the following options to protect it:
  • Insulate the transducer
  • Wrap the feed line with heat tape to avoid freezing
  • Implement oil-filled feed lines
  • Bury the transducer below the frost line
  • Implement pressure relief valves
You could also circumvent the issue by using a different type of device:
  • Use a submersible transducer instead of non-submersible transducer
  • Implement an UltraSonic or radar transducer 
  • Consider a bubbler level measurement device
  • Use a Milltronics-style level probe
With any solution that is implemented, please be sure that if chemicals are used they are safe for use with all materials that may be present at the site. 
Trade Shows

January 8-10
Pierre, SD

National RWA Executive Directors' Meeting
January 17-19
Hollywood Beach, FL
January 21-24
Indianapolis, IN

February 11-14
Denver, CO

February 12-14
Yakima, WA

February 12-14
Bismarck, ND

February 19-21
Effingham, IL

February 19-21
Honolulu, HI

February 20-22
Great Falls, MT
February 25-March 1
St. George, UT

March 10-12
Myrtle Beach, SC

Idaho RWA Annual Conference
March 13-15 
Boise, ID

January 9
Week 2: Hardware and Instrumentation

January 16
Week 3: Web Portal I  Notification and Unit Setup Options 

January 30
Week 5: Special Topics 

February 6
Week 1: Survey of Features

February 13
Week 2: Hardware and Instrumentation

February 27
Week 4: Web Portal II
Advanced Features, Supergraph, Reporting, and Volumetric Flow

March 6
Week 1: Survey of Features

March 13
Week 2: Hardware and Instrumentation

March 20
Week 3: Web Portal I  Notification and Unit Setup Options



Sainte-Thècle Chooses
Tank and Well Control
Many utilities throughout North America trust the Mission system to monitor their water and wastewater applications. A portion of these customers are from French-speaking Canada, and Mission is proud to offer these customers the same level of service and support as the large base of English-speaking customers. The Mission web portal can be viewed in French with metric scaling, and notification texts and phone calls can be configured to be completed in French as well. Mission also has both sales and technical support staff who are fluent in French and can help customers troubleshoot system issues. For this article, Mission Canadian Sales Manager, Eric Lapointe, conducted and translated an interview with Jean-Yves Piché, the Public Works Manager of Sainte-Thècle, Quebec.
Jean-Yves Pichè poses with a Mission RTU. Photo credit: Jean-Yves Pichè

Sainte-Thècle is a small village with an area of 83 square miles. Sainte-Thècle also provides clean water to a portion of residents of the neighboring village, Hervey-Jonction. The application uses a million liter tank (approximately 250,000 gallons) and moves nearly 200,000 gallons of water per day. Because the area is a popular tourist destination for camping in the warmer months, water consumption in the summer is 1.5 times higher than it is in the winter.

Piché has worked in Public Works for 25 years and been in his current position for the last 10. He performs many of the duties required to maintain the village by himself including repairing roads, submitting water reports, maintaining the sewer system, and more. Sainte-Thècle has been a Mission customer since 2011, when it purchased a Manhole Monitor to reduce the number of sewer spills that had overflowed into nearby Lac des Chicots. The municipality was contacted by a representative of Mission Canada who offered the Manhole Monitor as a cost-effective monitoring solution for high sewer levels. Since that time, the Mission system has been integrated into other municipal operations.

Following the Manhole Monitor, Piché placed a Mission remote terminal unit (RTU) at the village lift station. At that time, the clean water applications were controlled by an automatic system that did not allow for adequate monitoring. When the government mandated that clean water applications closely monitor tank levels, Sainte-Thècle purchased another Mission RTU for the clean water application to monitor the water tank level and analog thresholds. If the system failed and clean water got too low or too high, Mission would notify Piché to let him know there were potential issues.

Until August, Sainte-Thècle had a competitive system device in place for automated pump control, and when the area endured a severe storm incident, the whole tank site was affected. Lightning struck the water tower, ruining the competitive pump controller, level transducer, and  Mission mainboard. The tank level plummeted and the pump was running constantly to keep the tank level from reaching zero. This incident posed an obvious problem for Piché, who was responsible for getting the site back up and running to provide clean water to residents. Piché first attempted to contact technical support for the pump control device but was unable to reach anyone at the company for assistance. He then reached out to Lapointe for support in repairing the Mission mainboard, who quickly replaced the board and also got the utility set up with the Mission Tank and Well Control Package to replace the competitive system altogether.

Piché explained that the Mission Tank and Well Control Package was both a cost-effective and efficient solution. It has drastically simplified operations, primarily because he can access all of his data and reports remotely by using the Mission web portal. He described the greatest advantage over his previous device as being the ability to remotely start a pump simply by paging the unit to close a relay. He can also adjust lead and lag set points from the comfort of his own home. As the sole operator of the Public Works Department, Piché has many responsibilities in addition to water monitoring and reporting, so cutting site visits out of his schedule freed up time to tend to other duties. Now, he has the ability to access and analyze data from anywhere. Across all applications, Piché uses the CSO/SSO report, pump runtime report, and he uses flow information to create his own report that tracks the lowest consumption at night, which makes it easy for him to spot possible leaks in the system.

Mission is dedicated to customer service and exceeding expectations regardless of language. To learn more about the Mission system or the Tank and Well Control Package, contact


Rural Water District Performs
Risk-Free Trial with Mission RTU
Traditional SCADA systems can be costly and difficult to maintain. After the consulting SCADA engineer for Highway 71 Water District No. 1, a rural water district in Alma, Arkansas, passed away in 2017, the organization had a difficult time servicing their system. Radios in the application began to fail, and without expertise on system details, operators resorted to the short-term solution of moving working radios from less important sites to replace inoperable hardware at system-critical sites.

Jesse McChristian Jr. uses the 123SCADA web portal to view tank and well information. Photo credit Jesse McChristian Jr.
General Manager for Highway 71, Jesse McChristian, Jr. was eager to find a more reliable and long-term solution. The Office Manager attended the AWW&WEA Annual Conference in Hot Springs, Arkansas earlier in the year and collected information about the Mission system from Eddie Stewart, Midwestern Regional Sales Manager for Mission, and Joshua Christiansen, a representative from Bertrem Products, Inc., a distributor of Mission products in Arkansas. McChristian said that Highway 71 was in the process of considering a couple other telemetry systems, but that support shown by Stewart and Christiansen was a significant factor in choosing Mission. The pair visited the Highway 71 office multiple times to discuss the system and perform live demonstrations with hardware and the 123SCADA web portal. "Mission has an excellent support system, it's 24-7-365, so that was a plus for us," McChristian explained. "It's user-friendly. It's something we could actually service ourselves if we needed to, so that was a big seller for us."

McChristian said that he was keen to implement Mission, but Stewart and Christiansen urged him to complete a 30-day trial with the Mission unit to ensure it would suit the needs of the application. Highway 71 moves about 20 million gallons of water per month and services 3,000 customers. It uses telemetry to monitor high and low tank levels as well as pump runtimes. The trial unit was placed at a site with a control valve that fills the tank. During the trial period, the site experienced a severe thunderstorm that caused it to lose AC power. The Mission unit reverted to backup battery power and sent a call-out notification to alert operators so staff members could travel to the site and tend to the issue. Following the trial period, McChristian approached the board of directors, explained the many benefits of the Mission system, and made the recommendation to fully implement the Mission System at the Highway 71  application.
This station pumps 80% of water used at Highway 71. Mission is used to monitor pump times and pump faults at this site. Photo credit: Jesse McChristian, Jr. 

Highway 71 now uses a total of eight Mission RTUs and  the Mission Tank and Well Control Package to monitor tank levels and pump runtimes and to remotely control pumps at well sites. They have configured Mission inputs to door sensors at pump stations to alert them when individuals are coming and going. McChristian explained that it is too soon to speak to all of the ways he expects Mission-managed SCADA will improve daily operations, but one appealing aspect is the ability to access the web portal from any location. "I like the fact that you can log on from anywhere," He said. "Before we had a base computer at the office, and we could log on, but we had to use different apps. Now, we're actually going to save money on a yearly basis."

The Mission web portal is accessible from all WiFi-enabled devices. Mission also now offers a free mobile app called 123SCADA that is available through the App Store or Google Play Store. The app has several features not available on the website that increase usability for on-the-go water and wastewater professionals, including:
  • A QR code scanner to call up important device information
  • The ability to submit a photo directly to a support ticket
  • Geolocation features for smoother staff coordination
All benefits of the Mission system, including training resources such as webinars, videos, and newsletter articles, are included in the annual service fee and come at no additional charge to customers.

Customer satisfaction and support are of utmost importance to Mission Communications. If you or someone at your organization is interested in performing a trial with a Mission RTU, implementing the Tank and Well Control Package, or learning more about the 123SCADA mobile app, contact the Regional Sales Manager for your area at or by calling (877) 993-1911 option 4.


Rising Salt Levels Jeopardize 
North American Freshwater
Many North American lakes could exceed chloride levels recommended by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) in just a few decades according to new research by Michigan State University (MSU). Geologists predict that freshwater lakes, rivers, and waterways could become too salty for human consumption.  A study of 371 lakes conducted by MSU confirms that 44 percent of freshwater lakes in the Midwest and Northeast regions have rising sodium chloride trends from long-term salinization. Scientists warn if a linear relationship between time and chloride concentration is used as a measurement, these current trends will cause 14 North American Lakes Region lakes to exceed EPA aquatic life salt concentrations of 230 mg/L by 2050. EPA aquatic life standards can be reviewed in this report.

Much of the rising salt level is due to rock salt deicers used on roadways during the winter, fertilizers from farming, fracking, land clearing, concrete surface runoff, and wastewater treatment. Every year, 23 million metric tons of sodium chloride are applied to North American roads where it washes into groundwater, rivers, and lakes, threatening natural ecosystems, wildlife, urban water reserves, and water distribution systems.

Freshwater Salinization Syndrome
In a 2017 study, University of Maryland (UM) researchers dubbed the salt problem "Freshwater Salinization Syndrome."  Dr. Sujay S. Kaushal, head researcher and UM professor called the freshwater threat a serious predicament. He said salinization and alkalization seriously impact most of the drainage areas around the United States. Salt pollution has shifted the chemical composition of major ions in freshwater across North America with 90 percent of U.S. drainage areas trending higher for pH (alkalinity) and 37 percent increasing in salinity. It is most evident in the eastern and midwestern U.S. with the fastest increase recorded in northeastern watersheds. Salinization is affecting urban infrastructures and causing variations in coastal ocean acidification. Kaushal explained that without proper management, this syndrome will eventually affect safe drinking water, contaminant retention, and biodiversity

Combating Salinity in Treatment Plants
Salt concentrations above 30 g/L also present a challenge to wastewater treatment plants by impeding microbial activity in activated sludge. Scientists with the Worcester Polytechnic Institute (WPI) have said that higher seawater concentrations in wastewater effluent already inhibit plants in coastal regions by interrupting traditional sedimentation, oxygen solubility, and sludge aeration. The trick is to intervene before levels get too high.
Salinity infiltration in wastewater treatment collection had limited study until WPI researchers determined critical salinity thresholds in 2017. They established a benchmark level between two and four percent. WPI researchers also devised an early warning salinity monitoring system that alarms when critical salinity thresholds are imminent to trigger a process control response. Higher salinity causes higher conductivity. The early warning system measures ion conductivity in wastewater and activates if salinity rises above 2.63 percent.

This map displays the trends of conductance in stream water in the continental United States. Photo credit: Proceedings of the National Academy of Science of the United States of America

Kaushal said he sees a big future for hydrology sensors to combat the problem of salinity. "I think sensors are not only important in wastewater treatment and watershed monitoring but in watershed distribution systems where you can track the effects of pipe distribution and salt in the pipes," he explained. "By putting these sensors in the pipe network, you can get a good idea of the quality of water in the network."

Kaushal said hydrology sensors can measure both episodic and acute salt pulses, gathering high volumes of data in a short time frame. By being able to monitor sudden increases in salt in a watershed, water managers can better plan and respond to trends to circumvent the problem of salinization. For more information on the effects of salt on sedimentation and aeration in wastewater treatment, refer to this report by the Worcester Polytechnic Institute.

"Water is soft and humble, but it is the most powerful and is the most endurable.
-Debasish Mridha

  Newsletter Survey
Mission values 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.