Farmersville ready for upgrades at WWTP with SCADA system
By Paul Myers @PaulM_SGN
FARMERSVILLE – As a governmental entity, information is key and the more of it you have the better off you are. Soon Farmersville will be able to set up their supervisory control and data acquisition (SCADA) system at the new waste water treatment plant.
Farmersville city manager John Jansons says that having the SCADA system in place can help mitigate disasters before they become worse. He used the example of a power outage and a backup generator fails to kick on. City Hall would be notified and someone could go to manually turn on the generator before sewage backed up into peoples’ homes.
The SCADA system is another step in bringing Farmersville up to industry standards that have already been embraced by other cities in California including nearby Woodlake.
“Part of bringing of this is to bring us up to a modern standard because there isn’t a waste water treatment plant that doesn’t have a remote notification,” said Jansons.
The City’s engineering firm Quad Knopf is taking off the engineering and design of the SCADA system. Also worth mentioning are the smart meters being installed around the city. Instead of having individual employees reading meters, one driver can drive through town and collect all of the data from nearby meters through the meter’s radio transmitted technology. However that is not linked to the SCADA system like it is in Woodlake.
“It’s a much more efficient way of accounting for the data,” Jansons said about the new smart meters.
California cities are being forced to change out their meters for smart meters by 2020. While it is hard to say where cities would have done it anyway, it has the benefit of ensuring the residents pay for what they use. Just over the last three years Woodlake moved to meters for the first time, just like Farmersville. Similar as well in the two cases is the fact that residents paid a flat rate for how ever much water they wanted to use.
So when a neighbor only used 10,000 gallons and someone else used 25,000 gallons the rate for both residents was the same.
The City of Woodlake has already made the change in terms of pricing and held their Proposition 218 hearing, but Farmersville still needs to go through theirs this month. Proposition 218 ensures that cities do not arbitrarily increase utility rates on residents without them having the opportunity to protest. If 50% plus one property owners in the city write in a formal protest to the increase the City cannot increase the utility rate, in this case water.