San Francisco Public Utilities Commission invests in plan to upgrade aging sewer infrastructure

By on July 19, 2017

San Francisco’s Public Utilities Commission has launched a 20-year, multi-billion-dollar plan to upgrade the city’s aging sewer infrastructure beginning with the selection of the design-build contractor for a comprehensive automation project to modernize its Southeast Treatment Plant. Emerson, a global technology and engineering company, has been selected for the automation project to modernize the Southeast Treatment Plant.

Emerson, headquartered in St. Louis, MO, will implement $20 million upgrades project in five phases over 15 years – seven years of design-build followed by eight years of service and support. The Southeast Treatment Plant, built in 1952, is the city’s largest wastewater facility, responsible for treating 57 million gallons of wastewater per day. During heavy rains, it has the capacity to treat up to 250 million gallons per day.

“This project is vital to our ability to continue to provide high-quality, efficient and reliable sewer services,” said Harlan L. Kelly, Jr., General Manager of the San Francisco Public Utilities Commission. “The control system upgrade is an important element in the overall modernization program, and we look forward to implementing automation technologies that will help optimize our operations for years to come.”

The plant’s existing control systems were becoming obsolete and required operators to manually perform a number of functions. Emerson will replace the existing controls with advanced control technology that provides predictive intelligence to help prevent potential failures. Emerson’s Ovation system also offers other benefits including the capability to simulate plant conditions, simplify maintenance workflows, and optimize asset performance.

Emerson will implement $20 million of upgrade projects in five phases spread over 15 years. Seven years of design-build will be followed by eight years of service and support. The automation project is part of the city’s Sewer System Improvement Program (SSIP), a 20-year investment to upgrade the aging sewer infrastructure that serves more than 800,000 customers and ensures a reliable and seismically safe sewer system. The Southeast Treatment Plant is responsible for treating nearly 80 percent of the city’s wastewater flows.

As the design-build contractor, Emerson will work closely with several local business enterprises and its design subcontractor, engineering firm MWH, a subsidiary of Stantec. MWH has collaborated with Emerson on several successful wastewater enterprise automation projects in San Diego, Oakland and Sacramento, California as well as other U.S. locations. To facilitate ongoing collaboration with its subcontractors and the city, Emerson will open a nearby site staging facility with shared office space.

“This project is vital to our ability to continue to provide high-quality, efficient and reliable sewer services,” said Harlan L. Kelly, Jr., General Manager of the San Francisco Public Utilities Commission. “The control system upgrade is an important element in the overall modernization program, and we look forward to implementing automation technologies that will help optimize our operations for years to come.”

As part of the new automation project maintenance will no longer have to be conducted at scheduled calendar-based intervals, but will be performed only as necessary, based on predictive data about equipment condition and actual runtime. The new system will interface to the plant’s computerized maintenance management system, which will allow the city to save valuable time and money, and better protect public assets. The new Emerson system will also provide control system security and simulation solutions to enhance protection against cyber threats.

Bob Yeager, president, Power & Water, Emerson Automation Solutions praised the city’s utilities commission saying, “The San Francisco Public Utilities Commission should be commended for implementing an automation master plan based on a strategic vision of its long-term needs. The community will benefit from the city’s forward-thinking approach to investing in its plants and aging infrastructure.”