2017 Best IT Project of the Year - Awarded to the City of Wyoming
The Mi-GMIS Best IT Project Award is presented to a government agency that shows resourceful initiatives, cost savings measures, an innovative IT solution to a problem, a new way of working or a new business process. This year’s winner is the City of Wyoming for their City of Wyoming Water Plant SCADA network upgrade project. The City’s Water Plant services approximately 230,000 people across 13 communities requiring network communications on a large SCADA network. When the major SCADA platform was installed over 10 years ago, ISDN lines were chosen as the communications medium for the core network connectivity.
Throughout the years, the Water Treatment IT personnel were eliminated through attrition requiring that the City’s Enterprise/Centralized IT department to take on support of the Water Plant network. Each customer site did not have a backup and had to rely solely on ISDN communications. ISDN’s speed limitation of 64KB per channel stood in the way of technology expansion at each site for security and phone system upgrades After fielding 95 ISDN related IT trouble tickets within two years and realizing telecommunications companies were discontinuing ISDN technology, the IT Department moved to replace the ISDN infrastructure. Knowing that aging copper infrastructure was not being replaced as telecommunications companies were installing fiber based, the City’s solution was to choose a VPN Value Bundle product which provided a 12X bandwidth increase, a cellular backup utilizing VRRP as a failover mechanism with the hardware fully managed by AT&T.
With the City of Wyoming’s IT Department acting as the project manager, the 30 month project involved comprehensive communication with the 13 wholesale water customers to ensure their support and understanding of cost increases, pulling together resources from multiple departments in maintenance, operations and administration, and supporting smaller communities with no IT staff and minimal maintenance staff in the migration to the new product.
Since implementation, calls for service for City of Wyoming employees’ support for SCADA communications dropped from 95 calls in 2015-16 to just 2 calls in 2016-17. Both calls were related to storm/power related issues. The City of Wyoming Water Plant’s SCADA network is now a current, high speed, resilient network with backup paths for physical outages, as well as being proactively managed and monitored. The network technology is flexible for future growth and will provide West Michigan Water Plant customers service for many years.