Facility Fix: A Clean Sweep
By Jillian Ruffino
Published in the July 2007 issue of Today’s Facility Manager
What is your position? How many years have you been in this profession?
I am a master electrician and the electrical lead worker within the electrical division of the City of Green Bay’s Public Works Department. I have been working in this field for 28 years.
Please give a brief description of the facility involved in this project.
Lambeau Field is a public facility and home to the Green Bay Packers. Originally built in 1957, it is the first public stadium designed specifically for professional football. Since then, it has doubled in size and undergone multiple renovations. Today, it has a seating capacity of 72,601.
The Lambeau Field sewer storage system, located below ground, operates strictly as an overflow basin that uses pumps and mixers to control the flow of sewage after each of the 10 home football games every season (two preseason and eight regular games) and, when necessary, playoff games.
Why was the decision made to monitor the stadium’s sewer systems more closely?
Each football game generates an average of 156,335 gallons of sewage. The city’s sewer system cannot handle this volume of waste. A system of four pumps and six mixers helps stir the sewage and suspend any solids to help speed up drainage. In a process that takes 16 hours, the sewage is pumped into the city’s drainage system for treatment. If this equipment malfunctions, it can result in an overflow for the stadium and parts of the city of Green Bay.
To prevent this, a Sensaphone SCADA 3000 unit now remotely monitors each of the facility’s mixers and pumps. When the system detects a problem, it alerts facility management via phone, pager, fax, or e-mail automatically. The SCADA 3000 also activates a backup, should a failure occur.
Please describe the decision making and research process for this project.
The Sensaphone system was selected because our application required a high degree of control logic but not constant monitoring; the system is only in use after events at the stadium.
One of the other things we can do with it is data logging. The system makes a record of all inputs and outputs every 10 minutes while recording levels. We use that information extensively for troubleshooting purposes.
What benefits have you reaped as a result of this project?
With the system monitored by Sensaphone, I can keep an eye on the site and issue control commands remotely. For example, I can turn a pump or mixer on or off whenever necessary, from anywhere.
The monitoring system saves many hours of labor by sensing failures and implementing backup procedures to make sure the process is completed without operator intervention. In addition, we are able to review the data log sequence to help pinpoint time and conditions of failures.
How did this project require you to change your operations and maintenance practices?
Even though it is considerably more complex than the old system, it hasn’t required any additional support because of the high level of automation. After I choose to start a process, the system completes it without intervention, even if it means implementing a programmed backup procedure if an unexpected failure should occur. Then, if there is any deviation from the normal procedure during the
What has been the reaction to the project from upper management and elsewhere in your organization?
There was some initial anxiety about operation, maintenance training, and costs, but thankfully those issues never materialized. The system has proven to be reliable, beneficial, and cost effective, which management seems to appreciate. Although the stadium renovations have received acclaim, we’re happy when the sewer system doesn’t receive any special attention.
How has the community responded to this project?
There was one situation in particular when the Sensaphone system helped the city (not the stadium) avoid a potential headache. The system tanks were filling up when there wasn’t a game, which indicated a problem downstream from the stadium. I alerted the city, and they checked the sewer lines and found a clog that would have caused significant problems if left undetected. The city was grateful.
What was the most professionally rewarding aspect of this project?
The trust and cooperation that has developed between the Green Bay Packers’ staff and the city’s staff in maintaining the facility is very rewarding.
For more information on Sensaphone, please contact Bob Douglass by calling (877) 373-2700.
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