Case Study: Pebble Beach

Famous golf destination turns to automation to improve operations

Best known as a mecca for golfers Pebble Beach is actually a small community run by the Pebble Beach Community Services District (PBCSD). This public agency focuses on wastewater collection and treatment, as well as recycled water storage and distribution.
Pebble Beach is a small, private, unincorporated community in Monterey County, Calif. Best known as a golfer's paradise, it's also a high-profile resort destination.

The Pebble Beach Community Services District is a public agency formed in 1982 to collect and treat wastewater as well as provide fire protection and garbage pickup service to its nearly 4,500 residents.

While the organization focuses primarily on wastewater management, the district also provides recycled water storage and distribution. The Pebble Beach District teamed with the Carmel Area Wastewater District to treat and distribute recycled water to seven golf courses in Pebble Beach, including the famous Pebble Beach Golf Links.

Among the district's facilities are six wastewater pumping stations located directly on the coast. A failure in the system could result in discharge of untreated sewage into the Pacific Ocean, which would violate California Regional Water Quality Control Board regulations.

To guard against such an event, the Pebble Beach District searched for an automated solution that would

• provide real-time alerts of an operational problem or failure, and

• allow maintenance personnel to work remotely.

"Our organization needs to meet strict regulatory and industrial standards that directly impact our community," said Mike Niccum, district engineer. "Because of this, and the fact that our system needs to operate 24/7, we needed a system that had reliability and accuracy and allowed for remote access to quickly respond to problems."

Solutions at Pebble Beach
Rockwell Automation Integrated Architecture™
Scalable, multidisciplined, programmable automation controllers and communications designed to meet needs across all automation disciplines

FactoryTalk® View Human Machine Interface Software
Visualization software controls and monitors water treatment at 15 pumping stations

ControlLogix® Programmable Automation Controller
Fully integrated, scalable solution using a single control platform

Rockwell Automation Intelligent Motor Control PowerFlex® Drives
Controlling 15 pumping stations and integrated to the programmable automation controller to monitor the system and make changes remotely

Ensuring a consistent recycled water supply also was key, particularly in summer when demand is high. "During the winter months, water consumption drops off to almost nothing," said Niccum "However, on a really hot summer day, the seven golf courses can use more than 3 million gallons of recycled water from the distribution system. This could be a huge concern if we aren't able to provide a full-service back-up from storage facilities in the event of a problem at the recycled water treatment facility."

To keep up with strict environmental regulations, PBSCD relies heavily on automation. At the heart of their system is a Rockwell Automation solution to provide real-time alerts of a problem or failure in operations without decreasing reliability.
Even with a number of redundant systems at its pumping stations, the district continued to look for additional ways to improve operation and minimize downtime. The organization also wanted to integrate its pumping and alarm systems and achieve maximum efficiency in routine maintenance operations. Routine maintenance had been performed manually by one or more technicians traveling to the pump stations each day. Rockwell Automation offered the district an automated control platform based on the Logix Control Platform, part of its Integrated Architecture^trade; system, which also includes an alarm system.

The Allen-Bradley® ControlLogix® Programmable Automation Controller and FactoryTalk® View human-machine interface software enabled the district to link its 15 remote locations, which are operated by Allen-Bradley PowerFlex® drives, on the same computer network. The drives provide network integration, high-performance motor control, and motor protection. Combined with the software, this platform provides better control and insight into manufacturing information throughout the municipality's enterprise, thus improving reliability and accuracy of the system.

With 15 remote locations, reliable and efficient integration of the pumping stations and storage facility equipment is crucial. The ability to monitor the control platform and pumping stations remotely allowed engineers to manage these processes from the central offices.

"The flexibility brought to our organization through our Rockwell Automation Integrated Architecture solution has changed our everyday procedures as well as the way that we work with Carmel Area Wastewater District. We are now able to communicate and solve any issues that may arise at our sites faster than before – ensuring that crises are averted and our facilities are performing at top efficiency," said Niccum.

The Integrated Architecture solution reduced the total cost of ownership by using a single control infrastructure for the pumping stations. It also enabled maintenance personnel to easily access real-time system data, which reduces maintenance costs and pump downtime. Employees appreciate that data no longer need to be entered by hand, increasing their productivity.

Although sewage overflows from a pump station do not happen often, they can cause significant damage to the environment. Since implementation of the Logix Control Platform in 2006, the organization has not experienced a single sewage overflow from a pump station.

"In the time that it would normally take for one of our maintenance technicians to drive out to the station and access the system to identify the problem, we are often able to fix the problem with remote access," said Niccum. "One of our employees can log in and check the system whenever necessary. There is no more guessing about what needs to be done if an alarm sounds. We can see our information in real-time and act accordingly."

These results are specific to Pebble Beach's use of Rockwell Automation products in conjunction with other products. Specific results may vary for other customers.

Allen-Bradley, ControlLogix, FactoryTalk View, Integrated Architecture, PowerFlex and Rockwell Automation are trademarks of Rockwell Automation Inc.

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