General Engineering
Hamilton City Council meets compliance demands with system upgrade

The Waikato River supplies all of Hamilton city’s water supply. Water is treated, distributed, and managed by Hamilton City Council to ensure that when water reaches consumers, it is free from harmful organisms and meets water supply standards.

Every second of each day, HCC produces an average of 2385 glasses of high quality drinking water to over 51,000 homes and industrial premises.

The council is also responsible for the operation of the Pukete Wastewater Treatment Plant (WWTP) – Hamilton’s only wastewater treatment facility. The Pukete WWTP is continually developing, in its case to improve operational performance and maintain compliance with a changing government regulatory environment.

Leveraging the FactoryTalk Integrated Production and Performance Suite from Rockwell Automation, HCC implemented an upgrade to its supervisory control and data acquisition (SCADA) system at the plant, enhancing the ability of key stakeholders to make informed decisions, improve performance efficiency and meet regulatory compliance.

Meeting compliance and productivity requirements
Safe drinking water is a fundamental requirement for public health and in 2008 the Ministry of Health issued revised drinking water standards. To comply with these regulations, it is the responsibility of water treatment facilities to track, save and provide monthly reports on water production, intake and discharge levels. Crucially, the standards require that Water Treatment Plants retain operating data for 10 years.

“Our previous system was outdated and we required an upgrade to help simplify the process of complying with current water regulations. Not only that, but we identified the potential for improving operational efficiencies at the plant by implementing an integrated system that aims to increase productivity and reduce down-time,” said Gary Pitcaithly, automation and electrical manager at HCC.

A key aim of the upgrade was to deliver a system with the ability to retain 10 years of data in a stable and reliable manner. At the same time, the system would need to provide operational efficiencies compared with the previous operating system, while also maintaining a secure environment only accessible by authorised stakeholders.

To improve on this process, HCC engaged Rockwell Automation to provide the latest versions of the FactoryTalk software suite as the integral element of an upgrade to its system.

Prasad Nory, industry manager – South Pacific at Rockwell Automation said that FactoryTalk Historian and FactoryTalk VantagePoint are increasingly becoming standards in the water/wastewater industry – especially with the need for compliance to changing drinking water standards. Also, FactoryTalk Historian ME has been used by some councils in their pump stations to store data locally to take care of communication failures and meet compliance. By upgrading to the FactoryTalk suite the key benefits identified by council included: superior reporting for compliance to government regulations, improved system reliability and stability, and reduced risk when contractors are onsite to undertake modifications or further expansions, he said.

The FactoryTalk software suite delivers real-time exchange of information throughout organisations, a critical element that allows for more informed business decisions, improved responsiveness, increased productivity, reduced costs and ease of compliance with regulations.

Implemented in-house by Pitcaithly, HCC upgraded the WWTP’s system over six months to include the Factory View (SE), FactoryTalk Historian, FactoryTalk VantagePoint, FactoryTalk AssetCentre and FactoryTalk ViewPoint applications. The Rockwell Automation Customer Support and Maintenance team provided support to the council during the upgrade, particularly for the migration from Historian Classic to FactoryTalk Historian.

The long-term storage and reporting capabilities required to comply with water standards are provided by FactoryTalk Historian and FactoryTalk VantagePoint. Data is stored in the Historian server for the required 10 year retention period and is easily accessed for analysis and reporting purposes.

FactoryTalk VantagePoint is used by the plant to schedule and produce automatically generated reports providing information on periodical water consumption, discharge, intake, water quality and storage levels. FactoryTalk AssetCentre provides improved contractor control, change management and storage capabilities.

Most importantly, the plant is now positioned to efficiently comply with water regulations including the storage of data and records for 10 years.  

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