Water/ Waste Water Fiber Optic Cabling Solutions | DCS and SCADA LAN Solutions | Corning

Key Considerations in Smart Wastewater Infrastructure

Key Considerations in Smart Wastewater Infrastructure

Water treatment plants rely on the coordination of many moving parts to maintain successful operation, and cable choice is particularly important because of the uniquely harsh environment. The main use of optical fiber in a wastewater treatment plant is for the interconnection of the distributed control units back to a central control room.

Traditionally, distributed control systems (DCS) have synchronized the varying wastewater in-flow rate with the rest of the plant. Although the recent introduction of optical fiber cabling to the DCS infrastructure has made it more reliable, the need for even more effective and affordable solutions is expanding. A fully integrated and centralized system is called a supervisory control and data acquisition system (SCADA). SCADA systems can benefit greatly from the use of fiber optic cables.

Perimeter control and security is also a growing concern that can be easily supported by robust fiber optic infrastructure.

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How much and what type of fiber cable do you need?

Sizing the fiber plant and choosing the number and type of fibers is a crucial decision, given that it is expensive and disruptive to add additional capacity at a later time. The ring architecture is used to provide fault tolerance and redundancy with fibers feeding each distributed control location from two directions. Bandwidth demands are not high in these applications, but the reach for a link can be several kilometers in length for the larger facilities. As such, either multimode fiber or standard G.652 single-mode fiber will suffice.

For fiber count, six fibers are generally sufficient for each distributed control unit location from each direction. This provides for two live circuits and one spare set. An efficient solution is to run a high-fiber-count cable in a loop through multiple control locations and mid-span slice it into six fibers that can then run in each direction. A 72-fiber cable can serve 12 locations. Serving home runs for camera and other applications will require more fibers. The overall cable plant must be designed with end locations, available pathways, redundant routing, and future expansion needs in mind.

Standard Design Practices

While the overall design and layout of an optical fiber cabling infrastructure is completely site-specific, standard information and design practices can help municipalities effectively anticipate the needs of their infrastructure effectively and ensure that everything runs efficiently, safely and securely - today and tomorrow.

Waste-Water Add it up front - Size the fiber plant to accommodate current and future known applications, and then add some capacity for unknown additions.

Account for unlikely conditions - Consider the site topology and obstacles in order to select a cable type that will provide lasting protection for the fibers in all conditions.


Expect the unexpected - Build redundancy and fault tolerance into the system.


Plan ahead - Many sites are built in phases, so consider the prospect for growth and needs due to site expansion.


Choose wisely - Most cabling problems occur at the cable ends, so select appropriate termination enclosures that will adequately organize and protect the fiber terminations.


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