Water companies around the country have a major task ahead in order to be compliant with the Private Drains and Sewers (PDaS) requirements, which come into effect in October 2016. With thousands of properties falling under the new remit, finding suitable telemetry devices, compliant with the Water Industry Telemetry Standard (WITS) is now an increasing priority.

From October 2016 OFWAT has ruled that water companies will become responsible for most private sewers, lateral drains and pumping stations that are connected to the public network sewerage system. While these sites are often quite small, water companies have a vested interest in making the transition and the site’s continued operation, as smooth as possible thanks to the introduction of Service Interval Maintenance (SIM).

SIM is a mechanism implemented by OFWAT to help improve customer service. Measured on both a quantitative and qualitative basis, companies are firstly assessed on the number of complaints received and secondly, the quality of the experience customers receive, based on their responses to a survey.

The results and findings from the SIM will then contribute to OFWAT’s pricing structure and form part of the strategy toward an open retail market in 2017. With greater emphasis on customer relations through the water companies, and the looming PDaS adoption deadline, there is understandably a quest for technology that can help businesses achieve the highest of standards in terms of operation and customer service.

Guy Fitzpatrick, General Manager for the ICA Division at Xylem Water Solutions UK commented; “Field-based solutions have already been installed in a variety of applications but many water companies remain unaware of the solutions already available within the market for PDaS.”

With this in mind, Xylem has recently been trialling its GCU and ATU telemetry product ranges within PDaS applications. As each site requires a level of telemetry compliant to the WITS standard, this will help water companies manage the large volumes of new properties coming under their remit.

A WITS compliant product will raise an alarm when a fault occurs and equally alert the maintenance teams of a problem; often before the customer is aware that there is a fault. To ensure monitoring and control is possible across all the company infrastructure, it’s recommended that the water companies firstly adopt the WITS DNP3 Protocol standard into their master station.

As part of a retrofit programme, Xylem is able to work alongside customers to implement suitable solutions across many of its sites including PDaS applications. Guy said: “The Xylem alarm and telemetry systems have been designed specifically to monitor, control and relay data from assets, with a core aim of reducing downtime and preventing incidents – it is also incredibly easy to configure.”

The WITS compliant devices include the Flygt Multismart – an advanced pump control solution, capable of controlling up to six pumps. The range also features a number of controllers and remote terminal units (RTU’s) offering a wide variety of power options including mains and DC powered.

The Flygt WITS verified ATU series is a further addition to the range and is broadly a range of general controllers and RTUs, featuring PLC functionality across a variety of applications. The ATU series operate with a variety of power options for remote monitoring and control of assets including mains, DC and internal battery powered. The battery powered unit is capable of running on a single set of standard D cell batteries with a life expectancy of around five years – ideal for remote locations where access may be limited. Xylem believe that working alongside an industry specialist brings a number of benefits in terms of the ability to modify products in line with any additional customer requirements – tailoring the offering to meet individual needs.

As the industry edge ever closer to the 2016 PDaS deadline, and the opening of the retail market in 2017, there is an increasing urgency for the water companies to get their operations into order. With the support of Xylem, continual monitoring and control of safe and serviceable assets can be assured.

The process of connecting a WITS verified device to the top end system is actually an incredibly easy process, as shown in the following steps taken from a recent GPRS installation.

  1. Before arrival on site, the ATU is preconfigured with a bulk file, suitable for the required communication standard such as GPRS.
  2. The Device Profile is then read from the ATU using Xylem’s OPTWin software and loaded into the Master Station (MS).
  3. The ATU and MS are configured – ensuring interoperability between standards and equipment.
  4. The ATU is then configured with the GPRS SIM details and the IP address and TCP port of the MS server are entered into the ATU.
  5. From here, the ATU will then connect to the MS which can read the bulk and incremental files along with the other WITS components.
  6. Once this is complete, the WITS functionality such as alarms and logs can be set up via the MS using OPTWin. It is also possible after this stage to apply further specific or proprietary local alarms, if required.

Xylem is one of the founding members of the WITS protocol and Guy Fitzpatrick is a current PSA committee member.

For more information on Xylem’s offering, please contact Xylem on 0115 940 0111 or visit www.xylemwatersolutions.com/uk


For media enquiries please contact Rebecca Lawlor (rebecca@wpragency.co.uk), James Sherriff (james@wpragency.co.uk) or Andy Williams (andy@wpragency.co.uk) on 0121 456 3004.

About Xylem

Xylem (XYL) is a leading global water technology provider, enabling customers to transport, treat, test and efficiently use water in public utility, residential and commercial building services, industrial and agricultural settings. The company does business in more than 150 countries through a number of market-leading product brands, and its people bring broad applications expertise with a strong focus on finding local solutions to the world’s most challenging water and wastewater problems. Xylem is headquartered in Rye Brook, N.Y., with 2013 revenues of $3.8 billion and more than 12,500 employees worldwide. Xylem was named to the Dow Jones Sustainability Index for the last three years for advancing sustainable business practices and solutions worldwide.

The name Xylem is derived from classical Greek and is the tissue that transports water in plants, highlighting the engineering efficiency of our water-centric business by linking it with the best water transportation of all — that which occurs in nature.

For more information, please visit us at www.xyleminc.com.