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Environmental Monitoring Protects Crucial Wastewater Infrastructure

SFPUC uses the Trimble Telog enterprise solution to monitor and manage San Francisco’s complex wastewater infrastructure

As the third largest municipal utility in California, the San Francisco Public Utilities Commission (SFPUC) provides three essential utility services: water, wastewater and electric power. Millions of people throughout the City and County of San Francisco rely on the SFPUC to mitigate negative impacts on the environment while providing clean drinking water, effective wastewater disposal, and reliable electricity.

To consistently deliver vital wastewater services, SFPUC adopted advanced IoT technology to help meet challenges that include environmental compliance, climate variability, and aging infrastructure networks. With a focus on real-time data gathering, automated alerts, and comprehensive modeling, SFPUC decided to incorporate the Trimble Telog enterprise solution to help protect the environment and maintain the critical infrastructure used by its growing customer base.

As a primary environmental concern, the SFPUC wastewater system collects, conveys, and provides secondary treatment to combined sewage flows—stormwater and sewage—within the City and County of San Francisco before discharging it into the San Francisco Bay and the Pacific Ocean. SFPUC’s combined sewer system consists of 1,010 miles of pipes, a wet weather transport/storage system and three treatment plants taking in flows from roof drains, domestic sewage and street runoff.

Data gathering is accomplished through a wide assortment of sensors and wireless recorders, including a rain gauge network, combined sewer discharge (CSD) level monitoring, flow model calibration, and saltwater intrusion detection. The SFPUC monitoring network encompasses more than 120 Trimble Telog® battery-operated, data recording telemetry units (RTUs) that transmit data wirelessly into Telog Enterprise software. Telog Enterprise stores and analyzes data, provides alerts and alarming, and integrates with third-party distributed control systems and application software. Access to the information is available via the web and mobile applications for iPhones, iPads and Android devices.

“The Trimble Telog enterprise solution provides benefits such as fast deployment, open architecture, rapid scalability and minimal engineering, plus a lower total cost of ownership in contrast to traditional SCADA technologies,” explains Anton Loof, senior application engineer for Ponton Industries, a Trimble solutions provider in flow, level, temperature, pressure, and process control requirements.

SFPUC’s alarm-based messaging powered by the Trimble Telog technology, activates when rain or flow has exceeded a critical threshold, assists in the decision-making process and tracks correlation between multiple data sets or trends in real time, supporting environmental compliance and reporting. Other benefits include early warning from collection system events to plant operations, pre-development monitoring for upgrades and forensic analysis of wet-weather and storm effects.

By incorporating the Trimble Telog solution, SFPUC has access to data that supports operational decision-making in real-time, prioritizes repairs and rehabilitation, and develops calibrated models. The solutions provide increased knowledge of the entire wastewater system with the ability to do forensic analysis, such as pipe flow reversal during wet weather events, ultimately improving SFPUC’s ability to prepare for and handle adverse situations.