Whistler's waterworks are getting a computer-age improvement. The RMOW is entertaining proposals to upgrade the water and sewer system with a new computer monitoring program. The program is known as a supervisory control and data acquisition system (SCADA). The municipality has allowed a budget of $350,000 for the upgrade, said municipal engineer Rob Miller. The system will put new computer monitors at 44 pump stations, wells and reservoirs. "Now we have pumps, meters, level detectors and PLC's (which control pump functions) in facilities, but they're working in isolation from one another and from us," said Miller. The SCADA system will enable utilities workers to keep a closer eye on outlying stations and should allow on-call workers to fix problems over the computer. The current alarm system doesn't identify individual problems, said Miller, meaning that on-call utilities workers often have to make midnight calls to remote sites for problems which can wait until the next day. With the new control system, Miller said "the person on call can take a laptop home and find out what's wrong in 5-10 minutes, and either be able to fix it from home or know they need to call out more people." He added that the computerized system will be "easier to operate, improve operational efficiency and hopefully save money in the long run." Miller said SCADA systems are today's standard for pump stations and water management and he hopes to have work on the new system well underway by the fall. The SCADA system installation will not impact the water flow to homes and businesses.

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