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The Marble Falls City Council awarded a $252,301 construction contract to Prime Controls LP to upgrade the automation system for the city’s water treatment plant during its Aug. 17 meeting. The project will improve the existing supervisory control and data acquisition, or SCADA, system, which allows plant operators to interact with devices through human-machine interface software and control plant processes both on site and remotely.

In March, $290,000 from 2020 bond sales was allocated toward the upgrade, City Engineer Kacey Paul said. Out of the three project bids received by the city on Aug. 3, Prime Controls was the only one that met project requirements.

The city will switch from the DFS automation services and software it currently uses to an Ignition by Inductive Automation SCADA system. Inductive has many certified programmers within the area, and since the system and software are more widely used than DFS, the change allows for more competitive bid opportunities for future system upgrades, Paul said.

She anticipates change orders for raw water intake and emergency backup pump installation at the water treatment plant in the future.

Once construction of the city’s new wastewater treatment plant is completed and online, city staff plans to operate it through the same system as the water treatment plant.

“Some of the benefits to migrating both systems onto the same operating platform is that we can easily cross train our operators, which provides a job benefit to them and also builds staff resiliency for us,” Paul explained.

Converting the two systems into one also opens up future opportunities for the city to hire an on-staff programmer once the city has more than one water and wastewater plant, a long-term city goal, Paul said.

Project upgrades to the existing water treatment plant should be completed by the spring of 2022, Paul said. The conversion into one system will happen as the wastewater treatment plant is completed.