WELCOME TO OUR MISSION CONTROL ROOM
A surprisingly modest room serves as the nerve center and communications hub of CUD’s operations throughout Rutherford County. Yet the computers and large-screen monitors found inside help to manage vital infrastructure.
From here, our experienced staff members dispatch crews, receive updates from the field, and gather data that supply the information needed to service the needs of our more-than 56,000 customers. You might say this is our “Mission Control” – and it starts with the technology and software designed specifically for and used by water utilities.
A day in the Control Room begins by transmitting marching orders to the specialized field departments within CUD. These departments include Maintenance, Step Systems, Meter Reading, Leak Detection, Inspection, and Valve and Water Quality.
The transmission of service orders is done by electronically sending the orders to computers installed in most field vehicles. These service orders can be as simple as turning on water at a meter to starting new service or as complex as the tying in of a new section of water line.
In addition to dispatching service orders, the Control Room can locate the entire CUD truck fleet via GIS mapping (Geographic Information System) and AVL tracking (Automatic Vehicle Location). Using these systems, CUD can see our fleet in real time and direct the movement of field staff in the event of immediate needs or emergencies such as a line break or severe weather.
And we haven’t even discussed our SCADA system (Supervisory Control and Data Acquisition).
Says Lead Technician Tami Sterling, “SCADA allows us to monitor and adjust the heartbeat—if you will—of the water that runs through the lines, tanks, and pump stations of CUD’s more-than 1,400 miles of water lines. SCADA runs mainly through the Telemetry Department at CUD and uses the Control Room’s eyes and ears to monitor alarms for potential main line leaks or equipment malfunctions in defined pressure zones.”
Having worked in the utility sector for more than 26 years, 11 of those with CUD, Tami knows the importance of technological improvements. “Looking back now, it’s funny to think that the use of two-way radios was the only way to reach someone working in the field. No one had ever heard of AVL tracking. Even more far-fetched would have been the thought that an office employee could operate a pump station while sitting at his or her desk! Of course, now we use smartphones to contact field staff, AVL to locate fleet vehicles, and remote station operation is common practice for most utilities.”