WC130 MayJune2023 - Magazine - Page 14
Sound the Alarm
Remote alarm notification software critical to
Comox Valley water and wastewater treatment plants
BY JEREMY MEEGAN
When a power failure
occurred at their new
water treatment plant
and the on-call operator
didn’t receive a page
for over an hour and the
clear well plummeted,
everyone knew it was
time for a change.
Jeremy Meegan is
North American channel
sales manager at WIN-911.
WATER C AN ADA • M AY/JUNE 2023
AFE AND RELIABLE DRINKING WATER and wastewater systems are critical to maintaining the health and
safety of communities. Unfortunately, as with the United
States, Canada’s water system has seen a substantial drop in
funding in the decades since World War II, the impacts of
which have been felt by many communities across Canada. More
recently, however, investments from federal and provincial governments as well as through the Canada Infrastructure Program,
have resulted in significant water infrastructure investments and
Located in British Columbia, the Comox Valley is home to
75,000 people. The townships of Comox, Courtenay, and Cumberland make up the valley that stretches from mountains to sea.
Serving the water and wastewater needs of this community is the
Comox Valley Regional District (CVRD).
The CVRD control system department is led by James Dawe,
manager of IT Infrastructure and Operations and Stone McCauley, senior control systems technician, who support teams
of technicians and operators. McCauley and Dawe oversee and
manage the water and wastewater utilities’ control systems and
instrumentation, which include programmable logic controllers
(PLCs), supervisory control and data acquisition (SCADA), variable frequency drives (VFDs), and alarms.
To help ensure the utilities didn’t experience any unplanned downtime and issues were responded to accordingly, CVRD worked with
a small, third-party alarm monitoring service. CVRD’s control systems tied into this service using keypads at the facilities, along with
a hard-wired telephone line that went back to a centralized location
that alerted a person who in turn paged and called the on-call operators. This served the needs of the CVRD for a while, but when the
company was bought out, problems began with notifications being
sent to the wrong locations and incorrect utility.
When a power failure occurred at their new water treatment
plant and the on-call operator didn’t receive a page for over an
hour and the clear well plummeted, everyone knew it was time
for a change. McCauley received the green light to proceed with
switching alarm notification software companies.
CVRD Utilities and IT
The Comox Valley wastewater utility includes the Comox Valley
WAT E R C A N A D A . N E T