NE SWTF SCADA Modernization Project

City of Fresno

Client Background

The City of Fresno operates a significant drinking water system that serves around 142,000 residential, commercial, and industrial customers spanning 114 square miles. This system consists of various facilities for treating both ground and surface water. One unique aspect of the system is that it relies solely on pumping zones to maintain pressure rather than using elevated reservoirs and holding tanks.

Project Background

The Northeast Surface Water Treatment Facility (NE SWTF) can process up to 30 million gallons of surface water per day. However, by 2015, the control system at NE SWTF had neared the end of its supported operational life, posing risks such as inefficiency, downtime, and unsupported hardware. Redundancy was compromised, with some hot standby programmable logic controllers (PLCs) not configured correctly, and the control system relied on outdated coaxial Modbus+ technology. Furthermore, the SCADA platform was based on Siemens FactoryLink software which was no longer supported.

EA Solutions

Enterprise Automation completed a modernization and upgrade project for the Northeast Surface Water Treatment Facility (NE SWTF), which is owned by the City of Fresno. The project began with a proposal to comprehensively replace the plant networking infrastructure, update the PLC software and processors, and replace the SCADA platform at NE SWTF. The objective was to improve efficiency, address equipment obsolescence, enhance reliability, and ensure compatibility between different components.

Each of the technical challenges of this project required a tailored approach by EA’s team of automation experts. The plant modernization included transitioning to a fiber ring structure to improve the speed and reliability of the network infrastructure and virtualizing the systems for greater efficiency and flexibility. Outdated Modbus+ PLCs were replaced with new processors and the software was updated to the latest version of Control Expert (formerly Unity) to improve functionality and communications. FactoryLink was meticulously reverse-engineered and AVEVA PlantSCADA (formerly Citect SCADA) was configured to replace it as the main point of visibility & control for operations, enhancing the plant’s operational efficiency.  Additionally, modern interfaces were introduced with replacement HMI touch screens, allowing remote management, and reduced operating costs. The upgrade resulted in a more efficient, reliable, and cost-effective plant operation.

Throughout the project, Enterprise Automation worked closely with the City of Fresno to ensure minimal disruption to the water treatment operations. The implementation was carefully sequenced and executed in phases, with thorough testing and validation, in the office and on-premises, to guarantee the successful integration of the new systems.

Enterprise Automation’s modernization and upgrade project has significantly improved the Northeast Surface Water Treatment Facility’s operational efficiency and reliability by getting their systems back under support and strategically implementing the right technology for enhanced redundancy and maintainability. The City of Fresno now benefits from a state-of-the-art control system that ensures its customers’ continued delivery of high-quality drinking water without risk of extended service interruption.

Key Technology

  • AVEVA PlantSCADA (formerly Citect SCADA)
  • EcoStruxure Control Expert (formerly Unity)