Going with the Flow

Owned and operated by the City of North Ridgeville, Ohio, the French Creek Waste Water Treatment Plant has been in operation since 1975. The plant serves the cities of North Ridgeville, Avon and Sheffield through underground interceptor sewer lines. Each community pays a monthly fee based on the amount of wastewater flow processed by the French Creek Wastewater Treatment Plant (WWTP). In this type of custody transfer application, accurate flow meters are essential for precise billing.

Well versed in the operation of Marsh-McBirney flow meters, French Creek personnel had utilized the brand for over 20 years. According to local Hach flow meter representative Tim Carrig of Carrig & Associates, ?We?ve been calling on French Creek for the past 23 years. We have a relationship of a trusted friend. You get to know each other personally over that span of time. They can rely on us no matter what the situation.? Carrig recalls that French Creek started out with the popular Marsh-McBirney Flo-Tote II meters that were used for inflow & infiltration (I & I) work.

In 2006, French Creek added Marsh-McBirney?s latest flow meter innovation, the award winning non-contact Flo-Dar Radar Velocity/Area meter, to their fleet in an effort to utilize the best technology available on the market for their custody transfer application. The six meters were utilized in five interceptor lines ranging in size from 14 to 54 inches and in a 60-inch influent line.

Flo-Dar?s uniqueness lies in its ability to accurately monitor open channel flow from above the fluid, eliminating sensor fouling, a problem experienced by French Creek personnel with meters that utilized a submerged sensor.

According to Mark Francis, Assistant Superintendent at French Creek, ?With the submerged units, the sensors would collect debris upon them, which resulted in more site visits for cleaning and calibrating. With Flo-Dar, the sensor would be above the water and we wouldn?t have anything submerged in the flow to cause problems.?

While the Flo-Dar meters would reduce site visits for sensor maintenance, personnel would continue to make site visits to collect flow data on a regular basis. In 2008, French Creek began investigating the use of wireless technology to read their Flo-Dar meters in an effort to eliminate required data collection site visits. Local rep Carrig recommended Hach?s Data Delivery Services (DDS).

With DDS, customers enjoy a ?hands off? approach to flow monitoring. Web-enabled meters, in this case, Flo-Dar systems, are installed and maintained by Hach for one fixed monthly fee. Unedited flow data resides on Hach?s secure web server and is available to the customer 24 hour a day via any web browser. In an effort to assist French Creek in their desire to utilize a wireless, hands-off system, Hach bought back their existing flow meters and upgraded them to a two-year Data Delivery Services program that included six Flo-Dar meters.

By utilizing DDS, French Creek personnel would no longer have to make regular site visits for data collection or to check on the meters. Instead, flow data was available to them 24/7 via Hach?s secure website and any necessary site visits would now be made by Hach?s DDS personnel. Most importantly, DDS was an ideal solution for the city because it removed its personnel from being directly involved in the data collection process for the custody transfer agreement and instead provided a third-party approach.

According to Francis, French Creek personnel look at the online DDS flow data on a daily basis since getting their meters installed in July 2008. He adds, ?We are able to pull the data up on the secure website and actually monitor a lot better than going out to the site. It makes life a lot easier.?

Another plus with DDS was the fact that all of the communities involved in the custody transfer agreement would have the capability of looking at the flow data via a web browser 24/7.

Lou Cover, Industrial Pretreatment Foreman, states, ?DDS makes it easier because you don?t have to deal with going to the manhole and pulling out the meter to check the data and so forth. Before DDS, we really didn?t know what had happened throughout the month. It?s much easier now to access the info on the website and see live data being generated. We have also been pleased with the service we have received from Hach personnel.?

Cover continues, ?The fact that the meters are maintained by Hach, eliminates the need for staff to procure parts and make repairs, as well as reduces the amount of time that meters are down. They are able to return the meters to service in a short period of time if necessary.? With very high expectations for a reliable and accurate flow monitoring system that would leave no doubt about flow meter data creditability for all parties involved, North Ridgeville is pleased with their decision to utilize Hach?s Data Delivery Services. The DDS system has now been operating successfully for over two years. ?

As testament to their satisfaction with the Hach DDS and Buy Back Program, the contract has been extended until 2020, an additional 10 years. The selection of DDS is proof of the city?s commitment to invest in current technology that allows their staff to remain compliant with environmental guidelines now and well into the future.

Marcia Kinley is the Marketing Communications Manager for Hach Company Flow Meter Products & Services.

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