Tweed Shire Council extends SCADA with ethernet radios

Trio Datacom Pty Ltd
Saturday, 12 September, 2009

When it comes to controlling water and wastewater supply, the Tweed Shire have a lot to cover. Their water supply system comprises 24 water pumping stations, eight treatment plants, 174 wastewater pumping stations and 641 km of water-mains piping. These systems currently serve a population of approximately 75,000 people which increases significantly during holiday periods.

Over the years, the Tweed Shire Council has become the highlight and showcase of local government water utilities with its use of innovative and intelligent systems. In November 2008 they needed to modify the connectivity to the Bray Park treatment plant and integrate it into their SCADA wide area network.

This plant had no IP connectivity, having only been monitored via a simple wireless analog data radio.

One option was to install an ADSL landline service to the pump station, but the location was too far from the exchange, an all too common problem with ADSL technology in regional areas. Given the problem of implementing a reliable solution, many options were considered and one of those options was the Trio Datacom J-Series Ethernet data radio. The concept was to extend the WAN coverage to the remote pump site by using the J-Series Ethernet data radio allowing the plant to be monitored as part of the existing network.


Preliminary tests were conducted in the office to verify configuration and general operation when exchanging data. One radio was then moved to outside the building approximately 500 m away. The J-Series link picked up where it left off and continued to work flawlessly. Impressed with the response, the radio was again moved a further 2 km down the road and once again it immediately worked. The next step was to implement the link on site at the Bray Park water treatment plant. The link was installed, commissioned and as soon as the equipment was connected it worked without fault.

With the J-Series radios now installed and connected to the network, the benefits of an integrated solution became clear. “The J-Series Ethernet radio immediately became part of the network, it thinks it is a part of the plant”, said Dennis Brown, Tweed Shire Council’s Electronic Systems Supervisor, when describing the installation and commissioning process.

With such a successful implementation of the J-Series Ethernet radio, the Tweed Shire Council have decided to replace existing landline solutions between treatment plants and remote sites with the new Trio Datacom J-Series.

Over the next few years Tweed Shire will be making upgrades and enhancements to their $80 million dollar water treatment plant at Bray Park as well as within their water supply and wastewater networks which will serve an ever-growing population.

Dennis Brown has worked with the Tweed Shire Council for over 26 years. His response to the J-Series rollout is: “Radio makes life easier”.

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