In the summer of 2020, the Lowcountry Regional Water System in Hampton, South Carolina, had a customer located in an industrial park report a low water pressure issue. The company was a commercial laundry that served the hospitality industry and provided linens to hotels around the Hilton Head area. The low water pressure issue was causing the company’s heat recovery system to work improperly shortly before the July 4 holiday. In its first use of the AMERICAN Flow Control SEMPER™ Remote Pressure Monitor (RPM), Lowcountry Regional Water System deployed two units to resolve the issue. One device was located on the water system’s side of the meter and the other device was placed inside the company’s building, where water enters the facility at the backflow preventer.
“By using the AFC SEMPER RPMs, we could see the issue was related to the size of the industry’s water line,” said Lowcountry Regional Water System Engineer Kari Foy. “But it wasn’t as easy for the industry to adjust its water line as it was for us to adjust our controls. We made changes to the lead and lag settings in the hydropneumatic tank control system supplying the industrial park. These adjustments were made slowly so we could monitor the effects of each change with data provided by the SEMPER RPMs, and we were able to get the system pressure where it needed to be. The customer was pleased we were able to respond to the issue so quickly and in a reliable way.”
“With AFC SEMPER RPM, we’ve been able to resolve low-pressure complaints for an industrial user, monitor system-wide pressure and discover water hammer issues we didn’t know we had – all in about six months. I can only imagine what we’ll find when we move the units around more and expand its usage.” – Kari Foy, Lowcountry Regional Water System Engineer
The AFC SEMPER RPM was introduced last year in partnership with Trimble Water. It is a wireless, battery-powered pressure recorder that provides utilities with the data needed to monitor water pressure throughout their system. The AFC SEMPER RPM can be installed on any system asset or fire hydrant and seamlessly integrates with the cloud-based Trimble Unity® Remote Monitoring (RM) software for quick and easy data analysis.
For the Lowcountry Regional Water System, the AFC SEMPER RPM is not only identifying system pressure issues but also helping to bridge the gap without a complete SCADA (Supervisory Control and Data Acquisition) system in place. [SCADA is a computer system used to gather and analyze real-time data, and monitor and control operations or equipment.] “Because we are working to implement a SCADA system, this is a much easier and faster way to get better data,” Foy said. “Even if we had SCADA in place, this would help identify issues and fine tune our system.”
The Lowcountry Regional Water System operates five separate water systems and serves about 3,400 customers. Its distribution area is large and covers a lot of rural areas. It is currently using the AFC SEMPER RPM in two of its five water systems, but Foy says ideally each area would have its own unit to use and monitor system pressure.
“With AFC SEMPER RPM, we’ve been able to resolve low-pressure complaints for an industrial user, monitor system-wide pressure and discover water hammer issues we didn’t know we had – all in about six months,” Foy said. “I can only imagine what we’ll find when we move the units around more and expand its usage.”
The Lowcountry Regional Water System’s infrastructure is aging, and Foy believes the AFC SEMPER RPM will help the system discover areas that need to be upgraded. “I would definitely recommend the device for smaller systems like ours that have problems and don’t know what’s going on. But even larger systems that do have a SCADA system in place can benefit from the AFC SEMPER RPM. It’s simple, reliable and affordable. It seems like something everyone would want to have.”
Foy said the water system has also been pleased with the Trimble Unity software that works with the AFC SEMPER RPM. “Once we learned to use the software, it was great. Data can be viewed on my mobile device or desktop. We’ve also set up alarms to monitor system pressure and notify us when water pressure is dropping.
“AMERICAN, and Mike George in particular, were great,” Foy said. “Mike came out and helped set up a demo when we were having the pressure issue at the industrial park. When we purchased the AFC SEMPER RPMs, he walked me through the setup and deployment. Tod Little with Ferguson Waterworks checks on us often as well.”
Ferguson Waterworks Municipal Sales Representative Tod Little said, “Pressure monitoring devices are a hot topic right now in the industry. As I was telling someone recently, the beauty of the AFC SEMPER RPM is it is mobile and can be moved to different areas within your system for monitoring. It can also be installed on any hydrant or system asset. Ferguson and AFC have a great partnership. We see the benefits of the AFC SEMPER RPM and are excited to show utilities how it can help them, especially if they don’t have a SCADA or other monitoring system.”
To learn more about the AFC SEMPER RPM, visit https://american-usa.com/products/valves-and-hydrants/semper/ or if you would prefer to have someone contact you, email us at email@example.com.