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Automation Applications

Applying Controls Principles to Flood Water Automation

Key Engineering Features:

    • Integrated flood water automation monitoring and pump control system to protect billions of dollars of St. Louis business development from flooding
    • Custom equipped, lightning control system allowing the system to automatically reboot in the event of a strike
    • Automatic monitoring of water levels at the levee site from which data is transmitted via line of site communicating back to the main pump house
    • Control system with full radio transmitting capability and Internet connection for communication between personnel from the levee site to the pump house and vice versa
    • Remote log-in to user interface from VPN connection
    • A custom dialer system and box that alerts via text message, e-mail or phone in the event of an flooding emergency
    • Continued support for the new equipment and flood control system

The Client: Earth City Levee District

flood-water-automationLocated in St. Louis, Missouri, the Earth City Levee is located less than a mile west of the busiest major highway intersection in the entire state of Missouri. Because the levee is located so close to important St. Louis business development, the levee district and computerized control system integrated by EPIC Systems protects over a billion dollars worth of St. Louis development from flooding each year.

The Opportunity: Design and Integrate a New, Automated Flood Control System

Earth City Levee tapped EPIC Systems to design, implement and manage a new flood control system that automatically alerts personnel in the event of a flood-related emergency. The Levee District also called on EPIC Systems’ engineers to replace automation equipment that had not seen updates by the levee’s previous system integrator since the late 90’s.

EPIC continues to manage all of the new control systems now in place that alert levee personnel in the event of rising waters along the Missouri River. However, because of the isolated location where the levee resides, EPIC’s project team was tasked with thinking outside the box to integrate the fundamental automation principles with leading-edge technology to bring remote access and function to the levee’s new flood control system.

The Custom Solution: Integrated Flood Water Automation and Pump Control System Equipped to Weather the Storm

automation-controlEPIC installed an integrated water level monitoring and a pump control system as well as a new, lightning protection system. The new protection system was put in place to shield equipment from strikes as the previous system in place had encountered several electrical storms and could not automatically rebound after severe weather. Lightning strikes had caused many problems in the crucial monitoring of water levels after heavy storms.

The new control system from EPIC automatically reboots in the event of a power outage, which allows levee personnel to see exactly where water levels stand after heavy rainfall. The new controls equipment also provide the capability to automatically monitor water levels at the levee site back to the main pump house. The controls serve as the lifeline of the levee and automatically turns the pump system on and off when water reaches a threatening level.

Due to the fact that the levee itself resides in such an isolated area, EPIC prepared the new water level control system with full radio transmitting capability. This ensures a reliable means of communication between personnel from the levee site to the pump house and vice versa. From research and testing, EPIC’s engineers gained an understanding of the fact that in situations involving fast-rising waters, clear communication at the site level and at the pump house are critical to ensuring the pumps are functioning properly.  Because rainfall levels can change drastically at any time, EPIC provided Earth City Levee with the ability to monitor water levels 24-7.

A comprehensive means of communication for personnel who are off-site at the time of emergency was included and integrated along with high-speed Internet connection that allows levee personnel to log in remotely through a VPN connection. From the Web, personnel are able to fix any issues or turn pumps on or off at any time, from any location.

Along with Web communication, EPIC installed a dialer system and box that alerts via text message, e-mail or phone in the event of an emergency. Incorporating mobile technology for alerts in the event of an emergency is rather unique; most alert systems rely solely on more outdated landline phones. The ability to view and control the pump system and water levels wherever or whenever needed without having to actually be on-site drastically increases control as well as personnel safety when waters rise.

This project showcases EPIC’s unique ability to not only think outside the box but to apply the fundamental principles of engineering and automation beyond just the company’s advanced capabilities for manufacturing.

 

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