Tyler County Public Service District (PSD) in Friendly, West Virginia, began selling water to the neighboring town of Sistersville in May 2022, providing water to about 800 customers. Shortly after, Sistersville notified Tyler County PSD because it was experiencing low suction pressure. The utility began investigating the issue and found the manual gauge, located inside a meter vault to measure Sistersville’s water consumption, was also showing low suction pressure. Upon further investigation, Tyler County PSD discovered the low suction was caused by debris collecting around the strainer or meter screen. The screen was cleaned, and the problem was corrected, but Sistersville experienced low suction pressure again a few days later.
“I suggested we place the AMERICAN Flow Control SEMPER® RPM inside the meter vault to measure pressure,” said Tyler County PSD Field Assistant Gavin Morris. “This allowed us to monitor the issue remotely. Now we can see when the suction pressure is dropping and send someone out to clean the strainer. We can fix the problem before it becomes an issue and ensure Sistersville’s system is running efficiently.”
Tyler County PSD permanently placed one of its four AFC SEMPER Remote Pressure Monitors near the strainer. Another unit is located at a pressure reducing valve, and the other two are moved throughout the system to address issues as needed. The AFC SEMPER RPM is a wireless, battery-powered pressure recorder that can be installed on any hydrant or system asset. It integrates with the cloud-based Trimble Unity® Remote Monitoring (RM) software for quick and easy data analysis.
The AFC SEMPER RPM’s “lift and shift” mobility allows utilities to move the units from one location to another throughout their systems to help identify problem areas. “We are placing the AFC SEMPER RPMs in meter vaults, residential meter pits and on fire hydrants,” Morris said. “It is very easy and fast to move the units to different places.”
An added convenience for Tyler County PSD is that when using the AFC SEMPER’s “lift and shift” capability, the user doesn’t have to reprogram the unit in the Trimble Unity software. “We were using the AFC SEMPER RPM at a large materials company in Sistersville but needed to move the unit temporarily to one of our booster stations,” said General Manager Tina Lancaster. “When we moved the unit back to the materials company, we just let the computer know the device was at its previous location, and everything was already set up. It’s super simple to move from a fire hydrant to a meter vault to a booster station.”
Tyler County PSD is also seeing a significant savings in man hours and travel time since it began using the pressure monitoring devices. “Some of our service stations and tanks cover a large area, and it can take up to 45 minutes for one of our three technicians to reach them,” Lancaster said. “With these devices, we can pinpoint locations that might be having issues and reduce the areas our technicians have to go and look.”
For Tyler County PSD, the AFC SEMPER RPM also provides support for its already robust SCADA system. “We monitor our SCADA system pretty closely and are able to spot the smallest things, but the units give us even greater insight,” Lancaster explained. “It’s a good tool to have if you have a major leak or something similar. We can monitor our system from a phone or computer any time we want, and we are better able to stay ahead of issues. The Trimble software is also easy to learn and work with. It also gives you options for setting alarms to monitor pressure.”
Tyler County PSD also praised the service and support of AMERICAN Flow Control Territory Manager Jack Troutman. “Jack was the first person to approach us with this new type of pressure monitoring technology where everything is accessible from your phone and computer,” Lancaster said. “I was intrigued from the beginning. In the past, we had a chart recorder we could put in place to measure pressure, but it would require us to visit the location every day. These units are much more efficient.
“Working with AMERICAN has been great,” Lancaster continued. “Jack has given us pointers about where to place the devices. He always answers my calls and tells me how we can maximize use. If I have a question he can’t answer, he’ll guide me to someone else.”
Tyler County PSD serves about 1,100 customers and maintains more than 150 miles of water pipeline. Its main office and treatment facility is in Friendly, West Virginia, and it serves all of Tyler County and a small portion of Wetzel County.