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08.21.2020

Satellite Communications for River Intake Pump Station Monitoring & Control

Water Intake Pump Station Monitoring

River Intakes pose SCADA Communication Challenge

River Intake Pump Stations are commonly located along river banks where it can prove challenging to find reliable wireless communication solutions whether being private radio systems or cellular based.   Intake locations often will have radio frequency (RF) obstructions by terrain and/or foliage which make terrestrial RF communications unreliable or near impossible.  Repeater systems are often deployed for terrestrial wireless communications systems. Even with repeater system, SCADA communication are still frequently unreliable.

Given the connectivity obstacles, satellite data communications can be a good alternative. Satellite systems can be (GEO) Geosynchronous Earth Orbit or (LEO) Low Earth Orbit based satellite networks.

Satellite solutions can range from high speed VSAT (GEO) solutions and Starlink (LEO) to lower speed packet data services such as Iridium SBD Short Burst Data  (LEO) & Inmarsat IsatData Pro (GEO).

For many applications, these low speed satellite communications can be a better alternative to unreliable terrestrial communications. A benefit of the low speed satellite communications solutions is that they utilize small omni-directional antennae that make these systems easy to deploy and do not require installation by satellite communications technicians.

The utility of satellite communications can be applicable both to permanent or temporary water intake station sites.

Solve Long Standing Unreliable SCADA Communications

Satellite connectivity can be a good alternative for replacement of  troublesome unreliable terrestrial SCADA communications.  Over the years , unreliable terrestrial SCADA communications at intake stations have been a common problem in municipal and industrial systems. Existing deployments  of intake stations SCADA communications are often unreliable. The difficulty and high cost of rectifying these shortcoming prevented proper resolution.  We have seen this in water systems at towns and cities; oil and gas plants; mines, and manufacturing plants. Now, satellite connectivity can allow cost effective and timely resolutions of these long standing and effective resolution of these communications problems.

Monitor Temporary Water Sourcing and Pumping Applications

Satellite communications can be a particularly good alternative for temporary water pumping applications since many of these sites are deployed in remote areas with limited cellular coverage.  Satellite connectivity can ensure connectivity for temporary water pumping applications. Critical parameters such as river and lake levels, flow,  pump RPM , and pump run can be monitored or controlled.

Emergency SCADA Communication

Satellite communications can be a particularly good alternative in emergency monitoring. Forest fire or flood  emergencies can adversely affecting the integrity of water supply system requiring additional monitoring of water quality.

SCADALink Satellite Communications Solutions

Bentek Systems supports both LEO and GEO based satellite connectivity solutions.

The SCADALink SAT50 uses Low Earth Orbit (LEO) satellite technology which ensures connectivity at virtually anywhere. It does have attendant latency (60 seconds +), low bandwidth and higher data costs. This solution may be useful where the site is located where there is no view of GEO satellite.  This could be sites a very northerly elevations where there is extremely low elevation angles to GEO satellites or in very rugged terrain that there will be line of site obstruction by trees, river banks, hills, or mountains. SAT50 based systems are ideal for sites that require less frequent updates (hourly).

If there is clear line of site to a GEO satellite, our  SAT100, SAT110 and SAT140 that use GEO satellite technology is a another alternative. It  will provide reliable connectivity to site with high latency, low bandwidth with more cost effective data costs. This solution would be suitable for applications that requires updates down to 5-10 minute intervals.

In recent years, the importance of adding real-time data and alarm call outs to Water Intake Pump Station Monitoring have become more prevalent.  It helps improve the overall safety and adds another level of protection for environmental concerns. Additionally, having real-time monitoring can reduce the need for and the number of onsite staff; and reduced site visits while maintaining safety.