Eramosa Engineering, supported by SOWC’s data integration platform, has created a unique water and wastewater industry data visualization web-based reporting tool that incorporates historical watershed data with existing plant and remote systems data from around a local municipality’s water and wastewater system.

The Guelph-based company is a leader in developing customized Supervisory Control and Data Acquisition (SCADA) systems for water and wastewater treatment plants in Ontario. SCADA systems are designed to automate and monitor treatment and distribution or collection facilities.

To complement the SCADA system, the engineering company has created an innovative, community (partnership) based software platform called Eramosa Reporting and Information System (e.RIS). Essentially, e.RIS is a web-based enterprise reporting tool that assists end-users to rapidly access, analyze and manage data produced from various SCADA systems and other sources.

“e.RIS allows Eramosa’s partners to make use of all the data available within the organization by combining it into one easy to use interface,” says Clinton Tonge, SCADA team leader with Eramosa Engineering. “Having this historical information in a cohesive readable format can help clients understand their operations and find efficiencies in the treatment, collection and distribution systems. With e.RIS we really care about providing municipalities with all the potential data they might use to make better decisions.”

“The software platform can also generate automated reports, historical trends and dashboards in whatever timeframe is required for the analysis,” adds Tonge.

“It can generate a report of the plant operations from the last 15 minutes or from an entire month. This feature makes it easy to create reports for the Ministry of Environment, which plants are required to do regularly to prove they are meeting provincial water quality standards.”

Over the past three years since its inception, e.RIS has helped improve water and wastewater plant operations, but now Eramosa Engineering wants to take this innovative tool one step further. This is where SOWC’s watershed data comes in.

SOWC has outfitted three sites within the Grand River watershed with state-of-the-art instruments to support research and real-world technology demonstration. By collecting a level of detailed watershed monitoring information that has never been available before, these sites give a comprehensive picture of what the watershed is doing through data gathered by sensors in real time. The sensors collect and transmit the data every 15 minutes through wireless telemetry to a central recording station. The steady flow of extensive watershed environmental information and watershed site access provides the unique opportunity for research, development, testing and demonstration of water technologies related to watershed monitoring and management.

In the case of Eramosa Engineering, data from the watershed sites is being accessed and incorporated by the company into its current e.RIS software for municipal water and wastewater plants.

“With access to SOWC’s watershed database, we can demonstrate that the tool can be used to provide municipalities with details on what’s happening in the watershed,” says Tonge. “Before SOWC, this level of data wasn’t being collected. Now we are piloting the use of our platform to indicate to the municipalities anything from aquifer levels to the temperature of the water, and river or stream water quality. Being able to partner with a municipality on this pilot application with the SOWC’s watershed data takes e.RIS to the next level of holistic data access. It will help us differentiate our platform from other software systems that focus solely on plant level data.”

SOWC’s watershed sites are outfitted with a dense network of climatic, surface and subsurface monitoring stations that collect large amounts of data, including information on stream water levels, flow rate and dissolved oxygen, as well as climate data such as snow and rainfall, wind speeds and air temperature.

SOWC has monitoring sites installed in the Grand River’s sub watersheds of Hopewell Creek and Alder Creek, along with Mimico Creek near Toronto. Eramosa Engineering determined which municipal plants are connected downstream to SOWC’s monitoring sites and is currently piloting e.RIS combined with the SOWC data at a municipal drinking well site and a wastewater treatment plant in the Region of Waterloo.

“The whole idea of the pilot is to prove the value of our platform in bringing environmental monitoring data into the municipal reporting and analysis functions so they can understand that there’s more that can be done than just looking at data from the plants,” says Tonge. “If this additional data is determined to be valuable, then I can see it being incorporated into other plants, complete with sensors indicating the impact of upstream and downstream processes.”

Tonge views this type of monitoring technology as an entirely new industry trend, and with the help of SOWC it is able to advance its particular platform and prove its viability beyond a standard SCADA reporting tool.

“SOWC’s watershed data is extremely valuable. It’s because of SOWC that we will be able to support the expansion of businesses that provide sensors, employ more engineers to locate where the sensors should go and continue to develop our own software to add value to

[our clients’] data.”

If you are interested in shaping an industry focused project through one or multiple SOWC facilities and/or partner academic researchers, please contact Brenda Lucas, Executive Director.