NFL teams maintain backup quarterbacks and other key positions should a starting player become unable to compete. We have backup generators to supply electricity for critical infrastructure in case the power fails. We have contingency plans should essential personnel or systems become unavailable. Shouldn't we have a backup strategy for technical services vendors?
One of the frustrations that many municipal water and waste water operators must endure is technical service suppliers who can't seem to reliably fix things on the first visit. Even if they respond quickly, technicians often don't have the right part or the required expertise. So another visit and another technician must be scheduled to complete the repair. In the mean time, you wait and have to juggle resources to get by until they can get back to you. It shouldn't be that way and it doesn't have to be.
Wouldn't it be nice to know when the "poop" is about to "hit the fan" and a perfectly good day of operations is going down the drain?
Undetected source water events can turn a good day into a bad day. One way to prevent or mitigate those bad days is through frequent and comprehensive monitoring of water coming into the plant – so you know when changes occur and can be prepared to manage them.
Wastewater operators are at the front line in protecting public health, and as such usually err on the side of caution in treatment processes.
When you add to that responsibility the fact that lab testing for primary contaminants such as E.coli often have a 24 hour turn around, operators tend to build in large safety margins to avoid accidental permit violations and public health risks. Unfortunately these safety margins come at the cost of excessive disinfectant usage and the addition of neutralizers to meet discharge limits.
As Service Authorities plan and budget for membrane replacement and plant upgrades, there is often not much attention paid to the control systems at these plants.As Service Authorities plan and budget for membrane replacement and plant upgrades, there is often not much attention paid to the control systems at these plants.