Nevada Rural Water Assists Tribe with Automation Problems


SCHURZ, Nev. – When the Walker River Paiute Tribe’s water system was shutting down with an unexplained high pressure alarm, Nevada Rural Water Association’s Ryan Kolda came to assist.

Kolda made contact with Leroy Hicks, the system operations specialist, and they began trying to find the cause of the high pressure alarm.

“Leroy and I reviewed the SCADA logs and determined the error was related to either a mercoid switch or a pressure gauge,” Kolda explained. Many water systems use Supervisory Control and Data Acquisition systems to automate various treatment functions.

They contacted the manufacturers to get more information on the pressure gauge.

“They recommended that we clean the lines leading to the pressure gauge,” Kolda said.

After researching the disassembly and cleaning of the device, the pair removed and cleaned the gauge, but found no obstructions.

“This would need more trouble shooting,” Kolda said.

With the system still shutting down with the pressure error, Kolda returned for another visit. Further troubleshooting revealed a malfunctioning transducer on one of the wells, preventing that well from being utilized. Kolda recommended the system make plans to replace the sensors, and made adjustments to the automation to prevent the high pressure events.

“We adjusted the SCADA to shut off the wells when the valves closed,” he explained. “That eliminated the high pressure issues.”

The small changes to the automation prevented the water plant from shutting down and saved the community several thousand dollars.