Since the Forsyth County, Georgia, Department of Water and Sewer deployed the AMERICAN Flow Control SEMPER® Remote Pressure Monitor (RPM) more than a year ago, it has seen numerous advantages. But the AFC SEMPER’s ability to move from one system asset to another, “Lift and Shift,” is among the greatest. Introduced in February 2020 in partnership with Trimble Water, the AFC SEMPER RPM is a wireless, battery-powered pressure recorder that provides utilities with the data needed to monitor water pressure throughout their systems, help identify transients and reduce non-revenue water.
Forsyth County began using the AFC SEMPER RPM in May 2020 as part of a survey for the ISO (Insurance Services Office), which is used by insurance companies in most states to evaluate fire departments and establish insurance premiums. The better the county’s rating, the lower the customers’ rates for insurance. As part of this, fire flow capacities in the water system had to be verified at 35 locations selected by the ISO.
“When this survey came up, I said let’s go ahead and get the SEMPER RPMs ordered and maybe we can order more in the future,” said George Kaufman, Forsyth County Department of Water and Sewer Deputy Director of Planning and Engineering. “We picked five hydrants for fire flow testing across all three pressure zones. We used the AFC SEMPER RPM for the field testing and compared the data to the hydraulic model of the water system. These verified locations were enough for the ISO to accept the model results for the remaining 30 locations in the county.”
Because of the successful implementation of the first two AFC SEMPER RPMs, the water and sewer department ordered eight more units to use for its 2021 master plan update and model calibration. “We want an accurate model of our system, so we know what happens if we have a main break or need to upsize a pipeline,” Kaufman continued. “This will help us respond to emergencies and determine which assets are most important. For example, if one area goes out of service, what can we do to resolve the issue.”
Forsyth County also plans to use the AFC SEMPER RPM to monitor pressures at high service and booster pump stations. “We want to be able to continually monitor pressures from pump stations and measure transient pressures,” Kaufman said. [Transient pressures are a sudden change in water pressure due to a change in flow.] “Using the pressure data from the AFC SEMPER RPM will be critical in protecting our system assets.”
Forsyth County has attached the AFC SEMPER RPMs to pipe at its water treatment plant and pump stations as well as directly to hydrant nozzles. “One of the features I like best about the AFC SEMPER RPM is its versatility,” Kaufman said. “It connects securely to the hydrant nozzle and can be locked in. If someone knocks or bumps it, the unit won’t move. If I want to attach it to a pipe or a pump or something else, it works fine. With other pressure loggers, we’ve tried to secure them but haven’t been as successful. Nothing compares to the AFC SEMPER RPM. It’s simple, secure, weatherproof and works very well.”
“One of the features I like best about the AFC SEMPER RPM is its versatility… It’s simple, secure, weatherproof and works very well.” – George Kaufman, Forsyth County Department of Water and Sewer Deputy Director of Planning and Engineering
Kaufman said another aspect that sets the AFC SEMPER RPM apart from other pressure loggers is the quality of the instrumentation. “It’s a high-quality sensor with accurate pressure measurements that requires less maintenance than others. It’s easy to deploy in the field and very reliable. I know it will be a product we’ll have for years.”
Kaufman praised the Trimble Unity® software used by the AFC SEMPER RPM as well. “The software is excellent. Everything is wireless and can be done through the desktop or the app. It provides different levels of access, so I can share with others and they can share data or have full access. It’s great being able to see the transient recordings and zoom in on that. The data can be exported, and it’s very easy to use the information.”
In the spring of 2021, Forsyth County also discovered some disconnected lines in intersections with help from the AFC SEMPER RPMs. “We had pressure loggers in place and expected to see a pressure drop, but nothing was happening,” Kaufman said. “We believe this is happening because a valve or water line is cut off. We’re still exploring these potential closed valves and will definitely look into these more as we investigate our system.”
Kaufman said the water department is also using the AFC SEMPER RPM to address pressure concerns from customers. After receiving a low water pressure complaint, the logger was installed on a hydrant in front of the residence, and staff checked the AFC SEMPER RPM from the office every morning to measure pressure. “We discovered something inside the house was causing the problem,” he said. “Similarly, the fire department had a low water pressure issue it was concerned about, and the AFC SEMPER RPM was deployed to address the concern. We can investigate these issues and share the findings with others in our department and the customer.
“The AFC SEMPER RPM is a good tool for pressure management and investigating customer complaints, and I would recommend it to others,” Kaufman continued. “AMERICAN also provided great service. They walked me through the configuration and assisted in our field testing as well. They’ve helped me make the most of this product.”
The Forsyth County Department of Water and Sewer serves about 175,000 customers and its distribution system includes about 1,100 miles of pipe.
To learn more about the AFC SEMPER RPM, visit https://american-usa.com/products/valves-and-hydrants/semper/.