Over the past year, the Water Division of the city of Miami Beach, Florida, has seen its use of AMERICAN Flow Control SEMPER® Remote Pressure Monitors (RPM) grow. The Water Division initially purchased five units in early 2021. Three more AFC SEMPER RPMs were added a few months later and two more units were purchased in March 2022.
According to Water and Sewer Superintendent Jorge Maldonado and Metered Services Supervisor Carlos Cuervo, the city continues to expand its use of the AFC SEMPER RPM as a result of the accuracy of the data obtained, the convenience and ease of setup, and the information available through the Trimble Unity® software.
“Every once in a while, we were getting customer calls about low pressure when we were working in an area,” Cuervo said. “We would measure pressure and then manually upload into the computer. We didn’t have an automatic or real-time way to look at the data. We discovered AMERICAN had this capability, reached out to find more information and had the money in our budget to purchase the first five units. We use the AFC SEMPER RPM around the city whenever we have a pressure issue. The software is not complicated and is easy to use.”
Miami Beach is currently placing the AFC SEMPER RPMs on fire hydrants to measure pressure. Initially, the Water Division was using a “Lift and Shift” approach with the AFC SEMPER RPMs and moving the units around to various locations. Now that Miami Beach has more units, it can position units at key locations in its distribution system. The Water Division’s service area includes more than 180 miles of water pipe to serve about 90,000 residents in the Miami Beach area.
“The units are easily transported from one site to another. People can go out in the field, move the units around and then view the information on their phone or tablet. Since the software is online, it’s convenient and easy to access from anywhere.” – Carlos Cuervo, Miami Beach Metered Services Supervisor
“Being able to move the pressure gauges around is great,” Cuervo observed. “The units are easily transported from one site to another. People can go out in the field, move the units around and then view the information on their phone or tablet. Since the software is online, it’s convenient and easy to access from anywhere.
“We’ve also discovered the AFC SEMPER RPMs have a long battery life. Every time we’ve checked the batteries, they are good and registering as they should,” Cuervo said. “This has been an issue with pressure recorders we’ve used in the past.”
In addition to using the units to monitor pressure, the AFC SEMPER RPMs are helping the city create a systemwide hydraulic model and assisting in a meter replacement project on a 36-inch water main that brings water into Miami Beach.
“The most immediate benefit we found was when the county put us on a bypass as part of the 36-inch water main meter replacement project,” Maldonado said. “The units allowed us to see we could sustain pressures with the bypass. We’ve done a couple of test shutdowns, and the AFC SEMPER RPMs have come in handy to make sure the pressure is correct and isn’t dipping below our threshold on the beach.
“It’s a night and day difference between the Trimble Unity software and what we were using before,” Maldonado continued. “The previous units we used created an Excel spreadsheet of raw data that we had to interpret on our own. With the AFC SEMPER RPM, we can put information from multiple units in a bar graph and plot the time of day and see what the pressure is. Brad [Guillerm] was adamant about these units and the software. He gave us the main features and pretty much sold us. We love them.”
In one particular use of the AFC SEMPER RPM, the Water Division was receiving low-pressure complaints at certain times of night in a part of its service area. The units were deployed, and personnel learned the pressure was dropping when the water tanks at the stations were being filled at night. The Water Division was able to troubleshoot the issue and found out it needed to change the timing of its pumping operations when filling the water tanks to resolve the issue.
“I would 100% recommend the AFC SEMPER RPM to any municipality that is having pressure issues or trying to troubleshoot certain areas,” Maldonado said. “The service from AMERICAN has been great as well. Brad has been very responsive to any question or issue we have. The customer service is second to none.”
The AFC SEMPER RPM is a wireless, battery-powered pressure recorder that was introduced in 2020 in partnership with Trimble Water. It provides utilities with the data needed to monitor water pressure throughout their systems, help identify transients and reduce non-revenue water. To learn more, visit https://american-usa.com/products/valves-and-hydrants/semper/.