top of page

City of Round Rock, Texas Future Proofs IT’s SCADA System: Successes in Modernizing a WTP SCADA and Telemetry System

The City of Round Rock, Texas owns and operates a 52 MGD water treatment facility, located just North of Austin, Texas. The operation centers control over 45 remote sites, including raw water storage, pumping pressure zones, and elevated storage tanks, as well as the treatment facility. The Plant has been expanded over the years with several phases of pretreatment, filtration, chemical feed, and high and low zone pumping systems, and the control system has been added on during each phase, but largely consisted of older Programmable Logic Controller (PLC) processors with multiple remote Input/Output (I/O) racks. Parts for these PLC systems were beginning to become a challenge, and the proprietary architecture meant a single processor failure could affect many processes. The Human Machine Interface (HMI) also was beginning to show its age, and the annual software license costs were becoming prohibitive, and operations staff were longing for a more user-friendly and efficient graphics system that was easier to navigate.

The control system is of considerable size, over 60 PLCs, a dozen HMIs, with a tag database numbering in the thousands. The existing radio telemetry system was reliable, but scan times were long, resulting in alarm management issues. The communications were also based on serial data interfaces, lacking modern ethernet advantages.

The SCADA team for the entire City is comprised of four City staff members, so providing daily support and maintenance for the WTP and 30 MGD WWTF facility is a big ask of the team, especially with looming upgrades and future plant expansions. Upgrading the control system ahead of future plant expansions would help pave the road to success by having a standard approach and consistent hardware and software standards that could be easily maintained by City staff, with new sites and processes implemented consistently by contractors.

This panel discussion will demonstrate several Keys to Success in implementing and future-proofing a modern SCADA implementation. Some topics to be discussed include:

  • How to plan for the replacement of this large system?

  • Is Control system Architecture important?

  • What data needs to be captured in a system assessment and master plan?

  • How do you build a successful team for the project?

  • How to maintain operations of a 16-filter facility over the course of 1 ½ years while replacing hardware and software?

  • What were some of the biggest challenges that you faced in the project?

  • PLC Programming, testing, and documentation

  • How to implement a new HMI and High-Performance HMI system without driving operations staff crazy?

  • How much testing was done and how did the team prepare for cutovers?

  • How to maintain radio communications and alarm management while replacing critical infrastructure

  • Balancing system security against maintenance and operability

  • Once installed, what is critical in keeping the system up to date?


Miranda Whiteard

City of Round Rock, TX

SCADA Specialist, Water Treatment Plant

Nick Toussaint



Michael De Santis Jr.

City of Round Rock, TX

SCADA Specialist, WWTP

bottom of page