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Simulating conditions in drinking water utilities

Partners: Colorado, Florida, Kentucky, Michigan, and Ohio state environmental or health departments

Challenge: Simulating and monitoring conditions in drinking water utilities

Resources: Technical assistance and field support

Project Period: 2014-2018

“Having access to my operational data in real-time keeps me on top of the system performance even when I am not at the plant. This tool helps me manage my staff and resources by providing greater flexibility and real-time information.” – Milford, OH Water Department Supervisor Matt Newman

EPANET-RTX (real-time extension) and RTX:LINK are software tools that have helped states and their drinking water utilities by allowing continuous monitoring of their operations to improve water quality and respond to incidents. Together states and their utility partners use the tools to better understand and help improve drinking water system operations.

EPANET-RTX was developed to allow utilities to link their raw Supervisory Control and Data Acquisition (SCADA) data with their EPANET distribution system hydraulic model to evaluate conditions in the system in real time. The development of real-time analytics can provide utilities with the necessary tools to enhance system operations including emergency response and improved operations, e.g., better pressure management, leak detection and water quality. EPANET-RTX has been tested or demonstrated in several locations including Ohio, Colorado, Florida, Kentucky, and Michigan .

To make real-time monitoring available to small systems that lack powerful computing capability, RTX:LINK provides access to the SCADA data through mobile applications and desktop computers. RTX:LINK software provides simple and secure access to key water utility operational data streams, using web-based dashboards for trending and alerting. With RTX:LINK drinking water utilities have the ability to better understand water quality and operational conditions in their system at any point in time.

RTX:LINK software is easy to install on popular SCADA systems and has been tested in several locations. RTX:LINK was piloted in the Milford, Ohio, water system, where it has provided 24-hour access to current and historical tank levels, pump statuses and distribution system flows via mobile or desktop devices.

RTX:LINK was also tested in the city of Flint, Michigan, where it was used to provide the same benefits as those in Milford along with a continuous, real-time understanding of water age. Using this technology has helped these water systems better understand how to optimize operations, e.g., where and how to decrease water ages and identify low-pressure areas, and help predict available pressures for firefighting should disruptions occur in the distribution system.

Read the final report (link will open in a new tab or window) titled Deployment of Real-Time Analytics and Modeling at the City of Flint, Michigan, Water System