Home Cost of Downtime Planning for the Unplannable in Water Treatment Control

As devastating hurricanes have swept across Texas, Florida, Puerto Rico and other locations, our hearts go out to the people suffering so many kinds of loss. For our water and wastewater treatment customers, these events remind us that well-planned disaster preparedness can help prevent or at least soften the impact of water crises and provide a faster path to recovery.

Even if you were fortunate enough to avoid hurricanes this season, I bet you have been running through your own preparedness plans in your head, wondering how your operation would have fared. So, let’s double-check to be sure we’re doing everything to keep our community’s water safe.

First, let’s tour the physical data center that help run your wastewater treatment facilities:

  • Redundant power, HVAC, and internet connections are merely the starting point. Without these, nothing else matters.
  • Assess your data center location to account for flood risk, temperature extremes, and earthquake resilience. Take steps to fortify the data center and plan for backup transportation for staff. As a New York Times article reports, some data centers in Texas and Florida not only kept businesses running but provided safe havens for people during recent storms.
  • It’s important to guarantee food, secure housing, and communications for the people who will operate your systems—and their loved ones.

Then employ all the best practices that keep your SCADA system and supporting components performing without interruption:

  • In remote or detached treatment facilities, plan the technology elements to run as hands-free as possible. When travel for technology experts becomes impossible, self-healing systems are a necessity.
  • Run your central SCADA system on the most resilient system you can acquire. Virtualized applications running on continuously available hardware provide the gold standard for reliability.
  • Spread out your risk—literally. Replicated virtual nodes or split sites can be located across the state or even across the country. With the right system design, you can switch operations to another location without a moment’s outage.

I hope your water treatment facility never faces a disaster of the scope of recent weeks. For the health and safety of the people who depend on us, let’s make the very best preparations we can.

For more information on the key trends and operational challenges facing utilities, download our previously recorded webinar on Addressing Water and Wastewater Operational Challenges with Modern Technology. You’ll gain great insight into how employing digital transformation concepts in key operations can enable better water and chemicals management operations.

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