The story of Gainesville, Florida
By Christopher Little, Trihedral Engineering Ltd.
In 1999, Gainesville Regional Utilities began utilizing VTScada to control and monitor its lift station network. When staff compared this to what they were using in their treatment plants, they saw an opportunity to unify their system and open up their proprietary SCADA central.
The historic city of Gainesville Florida is best known to the world for the academic and athletic accomplishments of its University of Florida founded in 1905. Yet, the third largest University in the US might easily have ended up somewhere else if city planners had not had the foresight to construct modern water and sewer systems, and then offer them to the university for free.
Today, Gainesville Regional Utilities (GRU) is the fifth largest municipal utility in Florida and serves just over one hundred thousand people. The utility operates two wastewater treatment plants (the Kanapaha Water Reclamation Facility and the Main Street Wastewater Treatment Plant) as well as 165 lift stations. Together, these facilities process approximately 20 million gallons of wastewater a day.
GRU employs a variety of monitoring hardware including Programmable Logic Circuits (PLCs) from TI, Moore and Siemens in its plants, and Remote Telemetry Units (RTUs) from Dataflow Systems at its lift stations. The plants used a legacy HMI, while the lift station central was a proprietary system.