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Managing Process Alarms at a Major AWT Facility Focuses Attention and Avoids Catastrophe

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As the District of Columbia Water and Sewer Authority continues its multi-year implementation of a plant-wide Process Control System at Blue Plains Advanced Wastewater Treatment Plant, the challenge remains how best to integrate the PCS with billion dollar capital improvements and monitor operations. A PCS with effective alarm management is needed to help run the plant and manage abnormal conditions that are part of such a complex operation. As more equipment is placed into service and connected to PCS, more data becomes available. Consequently, there is an increasing number of alarms for operators to regard, ranging from the inconsequential to potentially critical alerts that require action. This paper presents the approach underway at DC Water to reduce nuisance alarm frequency, improve operator awareness/knowledge, avoid potential for catastrophe, and determine how best to use PCS to direct the operator's attention during multi-task situations to where the need is greatest.

Keywords: alarm management; automation; process control

Document Type: Research Article


Publication date: 2010-01-01

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