Station Monitoring

Located eight miles from the Atlantic Ocean, the town of Berlin, Maryland, serves a population of about 5,000 people with roughly 2,000 water connections. The utility recently sought a new technology to better monitor its lift stations and replace its outdated procedure of using landline alarm auto-dialers to notify employees of an alarm event. Paying for the use of nine phone lines was costly, says Jamey Latchum, wastewater supervisor for Berlin, and the landline alarm auto-dialers only alerted staff after problems were occurring.

“If we had an overflow, it would go in the inland bays,” adds Latchum. “We’re trying to help alleviate any of our overflows that go into the waters of the state.”

For the 2014-2015 budget year, the town of Berlin decided to install High Tide Technologies’ cloud-based SCADA system on two of its lift stations. The HTT-900, one of High Tide Technologies’ remote terminal units, offers twelve discrete inputs that can be used to monitor pump run status, alarms, meters, and rain gauge pulse counters. When run times exceed set limits put forth by the end user, the system will automatically alert users of the alarm event.

The town of Berlin also implemented a similar product from a competing vendor to monitor two other lift stations. But after using each product for six months, Latchum decided to eliminate the competitor’s system and go with High Tide Technologies’ solution for its eleven major lift stations. In addition, Latchum added the HTT-300 monitoring unit, which has four discrete inputs and one optional analog input, to a minor lift station and plans to install an additional High Tide unit at its last minor lift station.

“When he has money in the next budget, he plans to go ahead and add one to the only pump station left without any monitoring,” says Jason Miller, an engineer at Freemire and Associates, the High Tide Technologies distributor working with Latchum and the town of Berlin. Latchum is one of Miller’s early adopters for using High Tide Technologies not only as a monitoring system but also as a SCADA system.

“He’s the only person I know in terms of pre-monitoring installation using the maintenance function of SCADA and putting maintenance logs in,” Miller says. “When he takes a pump out for any type of services, he’s keeping a historical log of those pump stations. He knows he has access to [that information] whether at a desktop or in his pocket.”

The installations of the High Tide systems went smoothly, Miller adds, with the system up and running within a few hours. “The experience has been great not only with the support High Tide gives the end user, but also the support High Tide gives us as the representative,” Miller says.

Before using a cloud-based SCADA system, the town of Berlin could only address a problem after it started. Within the first month of using High Tide Technologies, the system helped the town avoid a lift station from overflowing, Latchum says. On one Sunday morning, an unknown cause burned up the controls for one of the town’s larger lift stations that maintains a hospital, nursing home and two schools.

“With High Tide, we were notified before all of this happened and [before] the station overflowed,” Latchum recalls. “It was 1 p.m. on a Sunday when this problem was happening, and [with the previous system] we wouldn’t have known about it until the next day. It would have been a catastrophe for us. With High Tide, we caught it.”

In addition to preventing disastrous issues from occurring, using High Tide has also allowed Latchum to better coordinate maintenance. “We can see where the peak flows are so we can do maintenance at off-times,” he says. “It keeps good logs of when you replace something, when a pump’s been rebuilt, and it has a data sheet that you can write into so you can keep a record and don’t have to keep a paper trail.”

Latchum said he hasn’t experienced any issues with the technology and that High Tide has already brought numerous benefits to the town of Berlin. “The HTT units are very good products,” he adds. “They are a lot more advanced, and it’s saved us a lot.” 

About the author:
David Mundie, Ph.D. is president of High Tide Technologies. High Tide Technologies is a cloud-based SCADA company that enables you to monitor and control your system from anywhere without spending a fortune. The simple and secure solution uses field units, satellite, cellular or Ethernet communications, and the Internet to monitor and provide automatic control of your system. For more information, visit
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