Brown Engineers, contracted by the City of Hot Springs for consulting engineering services, received an Engineering Excellence Award from the Arkansas Chapter of the American Council of Engineering Companies for its Hot Springs Generator Monitoring System. The ACEC annual competition showcases projects that demonstrate a high level of achievement, value and creative expertise.
Accepting the award on behalf of Hot Springs were (from left) Sam Vandiver, Brown Engineers; David Watkins, Hot Springs City Manager; Gary Carnahan, City Engineer; and Dee Brown, Brown Engineers.
The Generator Monitoring System helps ensure that the city utility's backup generators at treatment plants and pump stations will power up and perform as needed, when needed. The new system prevents the generators from being “stuck” in alarm mode and unable to restart, placing system assets and normal operations at risk.
“Reliable power is a must, not a want,” said Engineering Project Manager Larry Merriman of the system. “We can’t waste time troubleshooting generators when the power goes out. We have to know they’ll work when needed. This monitoring system gives us that confidence.”
After Brown Engineers introduced automated generator monitoring at the Ouachita Water Treatment Plant and Music Mountain Pump Station, Hot Springs’ utility staff noted substantial improvement in reliability, operational conditions, and reporting functionality. This consulting project expands those benefits to all the utility’s generator systems.
Brown’s consulting services involved procurement, configuration and field-testing of generator monitoring units, plus implementation of a single, unified alert management system to continuously store, sort and transmit the collected data. Data is continuously backed up to an offsite server for added protection.
The resulting generator monitoring system allows authorized city staff to check the status, maintenance record, or performance history of any generator at any time, from phones, tablets or any internet-capable device. Each generator has its own separate criteria for whom to contact, by which contact method(s), and for which specific events.
For added protection, the same alerts are also sent to Brown Engineers, which follows up personally if alerts requiring action are not acknowledged by the city within a specified time period.
During configuration, Brown connected the monitoring system to the utility’s service center HMI screens, which Brown is also migrating to a new SCADA platform for optimal performance and significant cost savings.