News from Mission Communications for the Water and Wastewater Professional
Issue 25, Winter 2016
Historic California Canal Gets 21st Century Upgrade
AT&T Takes New Heights on Cell Tower Maintenance
Irvine Ranch Water District Powers Up

In lieu of holiday greeting cards, Mission donated money to Water.org. Through this organization, communities without access to clean water receive funding, long term guidance, and partnerships. Water.org requires communities to take ownership of their projects to ensure that the people are engaged and invested. 

On behalf of the entire Mission team, we hope you have a wonderful holiday and best wishes for the new year! 

 Week 2: Hardware, Instrumentation and Installation

4: Web Portal II -  Supergraph, Reporting, Volumetric Flow, and Advanced Topics 
Week 1: Survey of Features  
 Week 2: Hardware, Instrumentation, and Installation
Week 3: Web Portal I - Notification and Unit Setup Options 
Week 1: Survey of Features  
  Week 2: Hardware, Instrumentation, and Installation
  March 15
Week 3: Web Portal I - Notification and Unit Setup Options 

March 22
4: Web Portal II -   Supergraph, Reporting, Volumetric Flow, and Advanced Topics  

March 29
   Week 5: Special Topics 


Historic California Canal
Gets 21st Century Upgrade 
The Escondido Canal in Southern California was constructed in the late 1800s and continues to be the primary way to route water from Lake Henshaw to Lake Wohlford. The canal allows city officials to regulate and control how much water is transported from one lake to another. Water then travels from Lake Wohlford to the treatment plant where it is prepared for domestic and agricultural use. 
Water level is monitored at this location. Escondido staff also use the output relays to control a valve. Photo Credit: City of Escondido

Carl Burgess is the Canal Superintendent for the City of Escondido. He has been with the city for over 35 years and seen many changes and improvements to the canal during that time. Burgess supervised the addition of the Mission system to monitor water levels and remotely control canal slide gates.
Prior to adding the Mission system, canal workers had to manually control the level in the canal and monitor levels between posts by visiting each site. "The distance to some slide gates is a couple miles with no vehicle access," explains Burgess. "It was a time-consuming hike to get to some locations."
The system has greatly reduced overtime by allowing Burgess and his staff to monitor and control the gates via the web portal from the comfort of their offices and homes. Burgess receives high and low-level alarms from Mission solar-powered RTUs which alert him to log in to the portal. He says he primarily uses the mobile web portal to control the gates. Burgess uses the desktop portal to create monthly flow reports which are sent to the City of Escondido for data trending and future planning. Burgess says they have records going back to the 1800s.

Rain and level are monitored by solar station. 
 Photo Credit: City of Escondido
Escondido experiences serious droughts so it is important to know the level of the canal at different points. Burgess explains that when a drought affects the canal, an alternative source of water is available from the City of Escondido Water Division.
There have been many times Burgess and his staff received valuable information from the Mission system that helped them take proactive measures. In one instance, he and his team discovered a blockage and were able to make adjustments upstream to prevent flooding. Burgess says they enjoy using the Mission system and look forward to continued improvements to the 121-year-old Escondido Canal. 

AT&T Takes New Heights on 
Cell Tower Maintenance
A T&T has begun to harness the power of aerial drones to perform inspections of their cellular towers and antennas. The telecommunications giant officially launched a national drone program in October to inspect cell towers for infrastructure damage, measure network performance, and look for endangered birds. Inspections by drones can be performed more frequently and more safely. AT&T officials hire local drone operators to perform the fly-by inspections. The results are sent back to company officials who can then dispatch technicians to areas that need attention. The telecom company recently partnered with NASA to research the potential of drones to assess cybersecurity threats along their network.

A Bird's Eye View of AT&T's Drone Inspection Program. Video Credit: AT&T
A Bird's Eye View of AT&T's Drone Inspection Program. Video Credit: AT&T

 "Working with NASA and others, we are designing the management system for a new frontier in aviation," explains Mike Leff, Vice President of AT&T Global Public Sector Solutions. "Drones are already used in agriculture, public safety, construction, utilities, real estate and TV. This research can help support the commercial and private use of drones nationwide."
AT&T officials say they plan to use more drones equipped with artificial intelligence to regularly assess field conditions and minimize the need to dispatch field technicians.
There are now 5,000 more registered drone operators than licensed pilots in the U.S., according to the FAA, with a total of 325,000 registered drone owners listed in 2016. They are being used for emergencies, surveillance, maintenance, and public safety. The unmanned robotic aircraft can fly into inhospitable environments for long periods of time and perform tasks humans cannot. Their list of possibilities are endless:
Drone technologies substantially lower the cost of maintenance for cellular service providers that deploy services in the same populated areas as water and wastewater utilities. This expands service offerings and reliability for these organizations. Telecom companies bear the burden of initial system engineering, licensing and permitting, tower construction, periodic technology updates, as well as ongoing maintenance and disaster recovery.
Ironically, drone technology advances are partly due to the wireless communications industry and the wide use of GPS, chipsets, and smartphone apps with embedded intelligent MEMS sensors (miniaturized mechanical and electro-mechanical elements) in devices like fitness trackers, wearables, smartwatches, and sleep monitors. Today, smartphones can even control drones for long distances when they are fitted with low-cost MEMS accelerators that augment satellite positioning reports. Technological advances are making drones more effective and far less expensive which is bound to expand their list of possibilities.  Aerial drone inspections of water tanks are starting to occur.  Perhaps an inspection of your own city's water tank via drone is in your future.

Read for more information about communication technology trends.

Irvine Ranch Water District 
Powers  Up with Tesla 

The Irvine Ranch Water District (IRWD) in Southern California recently penned a 34 megawatt storage contract with Tesla Motors and Advanced Microgrid Solutions to power its high energy use water treatment system. The IRWD project is the largest network of energy storage systems ever deployed at a public water agency in the United States, according to AMS officials. It is part of the Southern California Edison grid modernization program designed to counteract the impact of the San Onofre Nuclear Generating Station closure. It will help IRWD officials better respond to California water reduction demands. 

Baker Water Treatment Plant. Photo Credit: Irvine Ranch Water District

The agreement calls for Tesla to supply 370 'Powerpacks' to AMS which will then provide a seven megawatt (34MWh) network of battery systems to IRWD. The project is backed by a 10-year power purchase agreement with Southern California Edison (SCE). The Tesla batteries will be installed at 11 IRWD facilities, including three water treatment and recycling plants, a groundwater desalination facility, deep aquifer treatment system, and six high-energy pumping stations. AMS will finance, design, install, and operate energy storage at IRWD facilities, while managing requests from SCE for water load reduction.
"Our agency has stepped forward with an innovative solution designed to protect customers while helping to reduce and better balance Southern California's energy demands," says IRWD board President Mary Aileen Matheis. "This battery storage system - the largest in the nation - provides significant cost savings, enhanced grid stability, and contributes to reductions in greenhouse gas emissions and a smaller carbon footprint."
A History of Sustainability
IRWD supplies over 390,000 residents with potable and recycled water. Fifty-seven percent of the district's overall water supply comes from local groundwater wells. IRWD officials keep costs low and ensure adequate supplies by diversifying water sources primarily derived from local groundwater and imported water. Twenty-eight percent of the water supply is recycled water that irrigates many of the area schools, parks, golf courses, and other green spaces. Recycled water also gets used in various eco-friendly businesses and manufacturing processes throughout the District.
It is not surprising that IRWD is one of the first utilities to jump on board with Tesla innovation. The water system has been known for water sustainability since the late 1970s. IRWD officials operate 11 natural water treatment sites that treat dry weather runoff. The system is modeled after natural treatment ponds used in the San Joaquin Marsh which remove nitrogen, phosphorus, and bacteria from surface waters. The only thing different about the IRWD system is that it uses smaller manmade wetlands strategically placed throughout the San Diego Creek Watershed. Storm water and urban runoff are reclaimed and contaminants removed before they are able to reach Upper Newport Bay.

IRWD Biosolids and Energy Recovery Facility. Photo Credit: Irvine Ranch Water District   

Mission Helps with Sustainability and Water Conservation  
The Mission system has offered IRWD reports and features to assist with sustainability and water conservation initiatives. These include pump variance reports, runtime versus rainfall reports, data downloads, and spreadsheets for comparative analysis. Mission also assists in water reservoir monitoring.  IRWD is a forward-thinking, technologically-astute, environmentally-conscious steward of California's water resources and Mission is proud to have had them as a customer for over a decade and counting.

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