This week I had the opportunity to participate in the first Tri-State Area Services, Equipment, & Products Trade Show, hosted by the City of Onalaska. For being the first year that they held this show, it was a really great day. It was well organized and I really appreciated the attention to making it a great day for both attendees and vendors. The rain/ice/snow mixture kept a lot of the attendees away, but isn't that's just life in Wisconsin? I'm looking forward to next year and to see how they grow this day in the future. Thanks to everyone who came out, and especially to the City of Onalaska for hosting us.
Imagine for a minute - a water or wastewater system without any communication at all. Technically, you could design this system. The instruments and the controls work together, with no interface. Lots of programming in those PLCs with if/then instructions. A completely automated system, without any communication at all. It just takes care of itself. Sounds a little bit like a dream come true.
But how would you know if it works? The only way that you would know if it was working would be to look at your water coming out of your tap in a clean water system, or the quality of your effluent coming from the wastewater system. And then when something did go wrong, there's two problems: one, it's too late to do anything about the water or wastewater that already been through the system, and two, where do you start troubleshooting?
Stop the madness! A big part of any water and wastewater system is getting information from it. To do this, we have to have a form of communication coming from the equipment - basically, we need a way to talk to our system. There are different ways to do this, but here are a few of the most common.