Water treatment automation and process control

Water Treatment Control System

How To Make Water Treatment & Wastewater Control More Accessible To Rural Communities

There are few places where smart control systems have a bigger effect on the general health and well-being of our modern society than in water treatment control facilities. Safe, clean drinking water is largely taken for granted, but as illustrated recently in Flint, MI, it must be safe guarded with good policy, appropriate funding, and intelligent treatment facilities.

The Simple Solution

  • Expandable I/O to match control needs exactly
  • Monitor any sensor or equipment via analog, RS-485 Modbus, and digital inputs
  • Analog output modules for VFD control
  • Simple graphing and for water treatment plant monitoring
  • Multiple alarm solutions including physical alarms, email messages, and text alerts
  • And much more…

The Rural Water Crisis

Many municipalities suffer from budgetary restraints that threaten their ability to prevent and respond to a crisis. In fact, the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC) reported that in 2015, there were “80,000 reported violations of the Safe Drinking Water Act by community water systems.”

The violations were reminiscent of many of the mistakes made in Flint. “These violations included exceeding health-based standards, failing to properly test water for contaminants, and failing to report contamination to state authorities or the public.”

Rural and low-income water systems are most at risk. Studies show that these communities struggle to keep pace with advancing regulations as they struggle with means to fund system upgrades and additions. Learn more about the rural water crisis.

Control Solutions for Rural Water

Water treatment process controls need to first be reliable and cost effective to increase access to clean drinking water across the nation. The U.S. may be a first world country, but that doesn’t mean that all its citizens have the water quality they need to thrive.

ControlByWeb helps address the need for affordable, reliable monitoring and control that brings data to the forefront. Water treatment facilities use our programmable I/O controllers and level sensors to monitor and control each treatment process from chemical-dosing to filtration. Our I/O modules help make water plant automation much more attainable for budget-restricted organizations and municipalities.

Common Water Treatment Control Problems

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Expensive Controls

Industrial control systems are prohibitively expensive for small and rural communities, resulting in funding difficulties and delays.

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Complex Programming

Most community water systems lack the technical staff to program control logic using code languages, making it more expensive and time consuming to maintain control systems.

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Proprietary Systems

A proprietary system don’t always work with existing computer, networking, or process equipment. Otherwise unnecessary upgrades add to the cost of ownership of these systems.

ControlByWeb™ Solutions

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Inexpensive Solutions

Our industrial-grade I/O devices are reliable, but very affordable. Their expandable, modular nature means you only buy what you need.

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Simple to Use

Our no-code Task Builder makes set-up and programming easy for nearly anyone. Our programmable I/O controllers don’t require a programmer.

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Open, Non-Proprietary

Embedded web server for setup, monitoring, and control along with open communication protocols like Modbus TCP/IP mean you won’t have to upgrade your equipment.


Case Study: Randell Water Treatment Control Plant, Denison, TX

Water Treatment System Stats

  • 12.8 MGD Capacity
  • 4.6 MGD Daily Average
  • 2 Clarifiers
  • 6 Mixed Media Filters
  • 5 Ground Storage Tanks
  • 5 Elevated Tanks

When the town of Denison, TX decided to replace their aging SCADA system at the Randell Water Treatment Plant, they gave themselves a budget of $100K. For a growing town of just over 20,000 residents, that money was highly sought after for many municipal needs, from roads to employees.

But a new SCADA system was also badly needed. Not only was their system out of date, it was overly complex for their city employees to manage. When programming needed to be altered in any way, they were forced to pay a specialist, who understood ladder logic programming, to come in from out of town. This was both time consuming and expensive. Angus Evans, Water Plant Superintendent in Denison, knew they needed a system they could operate and program themselves.

The Right Fit

After doing some research, Evans found ControlByWeb’s X-600M Expandable I/O system that not only was easy to program in-house, but one that also worked with their existing equipment. The cost of the system would also come in significantly under budget.

The platform was a perfect fit. The X-600M’s no-code programming, open communications, and small price tag was exactly what they needed. Evans currently uses seven X-600M controllers and various expansion modules to monitor and control Denison’s sedimentation-filtration treatment system, rated to treat up to 12.8 million gallons per day.

The total price tag for their new control system came in around $10K; about 90% under budget.

“We use the X-600 from ControlByWeb as both our process controllers and SCADA in our municipal water supply treatment facility. They’re easier to set up and program than a Ladder Logic PLC and their graphing feature gives us what we need to monitor every parameter at our water plant. We created our control system using the X-600 for around $10k as opposed to the $100k that our city had budgeted, and we no longer need to call in a ladder logic programmer to adjust our controls,” explains Evans.

The new control system was installed in the fall of 2017. Several years later, Evans is still happy. The controllers have proven reliable and easy to program. With the X-600M, his crew is able to monitor and control a variety of I/O points such as:

  • Pressure
  • pH
  • Turbidity
  • Level
  • Flow
  • Chlorine residual
  • Pump speed
  • Motor speed
  • Motor temperature
  • Motor run status
  • Valve position
  • Pressure switches
  • Limit switches

“The controllers have been reliable, the support from ControlByWeb has been awesome, and there is nothing proprietary about their software or communications that limits what we can do. We’re able to monitor any 4-20mA or digital signal so we can do all the pump, motor, and valve control we need for our entire water treatment and storage process.”

X-600M as a SCADA

The X-600M’s dashboard is used as the SCADA software. Plant operators monitor graphs and other visual metrics for each process, and can determine action items based on the charted results. More expensive systems have an illustrated schematic of the water treatment system. However, Evans says, “We know what it looks like. The most important part is the graphing function. That’s what we like to see.” For Evans and the city of Denison, the savings are worth not having illustrated schematics.

For those who have or want traditional SCADA software, all ControlByWeb I/O modules, including the X-600M, can easily send data to any SCADA over Ethernet via Modbus TCP/IP. This inherent flexibility is a tremendous benefit, especially for smaller water districts, or whenever budgetary constraints require concessions.

Frequently Asked Questions


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