Emerson to modernise controls at San Francisco's largest wastewater plant


Emerson to modernise controls at San Francisco's largest wastewater plant

The San Francisco Public Utilities Commission has selected Emerson as the design–build contractor for a comprehensive automation project to modernise its Southeast Treatment Plant. Built in 1952, the Southeast Treatment Plant is the city’s largest wastewater facility, responsible for treating 215 million litres of wastewater per day. During heavy rains, it has the capacity to treat up to 945 million litres per day.

The automation project is part of the city’s Sewer System Improvement Program (SSIP), a 20-year, multibillion-dollar investment to upgrade the ageing sewer infrastructure that serves more than 800,000 customers and ensure a reliable and seismically safe sewer system for the future.

The Southeast Treatment Plant is responsible for treating nearly 80% of the city’s flows. The plant’s existing control systems were becoming obsolete and required operators to manually perform a number of processes. Replacing the existing controls with Emerson’s Ovation control technology will provide predictive intelligence to help prevent potential failures. Other benefits include the capability to simulate plant conditions, simplify maintenance workflows and optimise asset performance.

Emerson will implement the US$20 million upgrade project in five phases over 15 years — seven years of design–build followed by eight years of service and support.

“This project is vital to our ability to continue to provide high-quality, efficient and reliable sewer services,” said Harlan L Kelly Jr, general manager of the San Francisco Public Utilities Commission. “The control system upgrade is an important element in the overall modernisation program, and we look forward to implementing automation technologies that will help optimise our operations for years to come.”

The new system will interface to the plant’s computerised maintenance management system, which will allow the city to save valuable time and money and better protect public assets. Maintenance will no longer have to be conducted at scheduled calendar-based intervals, instead being performed as necessary based on predictive data about equipment condition and actual run time. Emerson will also provide its control system security and simulation solutions to enhance protection against cyber threats and help improve knowledge transfer.

As the design–build contractor, Emerson will work closely with several local business enterprises and its design subcontractor, engineering firm MWH, now part of Stantec. MWH has collaborated with Emerson on successful wastewater enterprise automation projects in Detroit as well as San Diego, Oakland and Sacramento.

MWH will perform the design work and develop the field verification methods, while Emerson will be responsible for design support, project management, hardware procurement and assembly, programming, testing, installation, commissioning, training and field service. To facilitate ongoing collaboration with its subcontractors and the city, Emerson will open a nearby site staging facility with shared office space.

Emerson will also support the city’s Community Benefits Program, focusing on workforce development initiatives including educational and small business development programs.

“The San Francisco Public Utilities Commission should be commended for implementing an automation master plan based on a strategic vision of its long-term needs,” said Bob Yeager, president, power & water, Emerson Automation Solutions. “The community will benefit from the city’s forward-thinking approach to investing in its plants and ageing infrastructure.”

Image credit: ©stock.adobe.com/au/Christopher Boswell

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