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In the early 1980s, the Passaic Valley Sewerage Commissioners (PVSC) installed a central computer system to provide overall plant monitoring and some automatic control. Although the system provided many years of excellent service, it became obsolete and needed to be replaced. PVSC used a unique approach to the replacement. Rather than bid the control system and rely on a control system integrator to fabricate and install the control system, PVSC purchased the required hardware, software and materials and did the implementation work themselves. There are several benefits to this approach including: long term support by the staff who implemented the system, improved user acceptance due to participation in the implementation and lower cost.

The new system has the advantage of being totally “open” with all of its components replaceable with parts from different vendors. The purchasing of all hardware and software was done using existing procurement contracts and PVSC was able to purchase exactly what they wanted. This eliminated the need for additional bidding, the creation of bid documents and the review of vendor submittals.

In addition to the control system replacement a second major goal of the project was to provide plant wide access to all of PVSC's operational data. A data base application was provided which automatically collects real time data from the process control system and the Laboratory Information Management System (LIMS), as well as, several other PVSC systems. Access to the data is via open web based technologies. This system has enabled PVSC to automate its reporting and enhance access to key operational indicators. PVSC staff is able to make intelligent, informed operating decisions regardless of what PC they are using whether they are at the plant or remotely connecting to the PVSC intranet from their homes.

Document Type: Research Article


Publication date: January 1, 2001

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