Texas Water District Taps DVTel iSOC Technology

DVTel Inc. recently announced that the Tarrant Regional Water District (TRWD) has commissioned its fully-operational central operations center, which with the DVTel unified intelligent Security Operations Center (iSOC) as the command and control software, safeguards a wide variety of facilities located across 10 counties in North Central Texas. The installation also features DVTel cameras and a video analytics package. Maez Security Consultants oversaw system specification and design, and Access Technology Systems is in charge of project installation.

TRWD is one of the largest raw water suppliers in the state of Texas, providing water to more than 1.7 million people in the North Central Texas area. Operations span a 11-county area and include maintaining dams at the Water District’s four reservoirs and more than 150 miles of pipeline used for water transport. TRWD has deployed the unified DVTel solution at upwards to 30 different facilities with video surveillance from approximately 150 cameras and management of more than 200 access control points.

The newly-completed 26,000 square foot Gold LEED-certified annex building, located in Fort Worth, is home to TRWD’s engineering and information services departments, as well as the Security department and the Central Operations Center. The state-of-the-art control room has a Winstead console with 12 monitoring stations, and a Barco video wall projecting DVTel and SCADA data, live TV, and the capability to pull up facility blueprints from anywhere in the district. DVTel’s Professional Engineering Services (PES) group worked closely with Barco to integrate the technologies to more fully utilize the functionality and capability of the combined solution. At present, the central operations center shares monitoring and command with the incumbent center located in Cedar Creek, but eventually primary operations control will move to Fort Worth, with Cedar Creek providing back-up control.

The new TRWD annex building has a truly impressive mix of “green” technologies including the largest roof-mounted solar photovoltaic panel array in Texas covering 90 percent of the building’s rooftop. The panels will provide 70 percent of the building’s energy use annually and return unused solar electricity back to the region’s energy grid. Other green features include 2,500-gallon rain water cisterns which collect runoff from the roof and utilize it in a drip irrigation system; interior paint that is low VOC (volatile organic compounds), which improves air quality throughout the building; and automatic lights and low flow sinks and toilets installed throughout the building.

TRWD’s original vision, when plans were first conceived in 2004, was to pull all district sites together to where security staff can monitor everything and respond from a single, central location.

“Our goal was to improve upon our previous system with a fully integrated solution and a single point of control,” said Norman Ashton, TRWD risk manager. “Previously, we had four different software packages running in isolation of each other, not even popping video on alarm. We needed a much smarter system. Now staff can access any camera, any data, and pull that up in the central operations center.”

Authorized TRWD staff can also pull up cameras from any remote location. In the future, Ashton plans to integrate SCADA information more completely so that data will also trigger alarms and pop video when appropriate.

The operations center is staffed 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Staff monitor cameras and all other data, constantly on the lookout for threats that vary from a chlorine leak to a pipeline break to intruders in sensitive areas.

Operations have grown so substantially over the last two years, TRWD has hired a full-time staff member just to oversee security, along with additional staff as security operations and responsibilities have expanded.

“The overall system, with the DVTel iSOC at the center, is providing us with the necessary tools to track down issues and improve security,” Ashton said. “I like the fact that the DVTel system allows us to integrate with whatever third-party technologies we need to meet our security goals.”

Since the inception of the project, Ashton has seen the evolution of constantly improving technology.

“With the flexibility of the DVTel system, we’ve completely re-done our access management,”he said. “One recent innovation is with this new building, it is fully armed at all times, but upon authorized entry the building interior alarms automatically turn off as staff move around while the building exterior remains alarmed. All alarms go the DVTel system and it has been working perfectly. It’s great, you badge in, and that’s it, no manual intervention needed. We’re going to retro-fit other buildings in the same way, then we can drop our alarm monitoring service and save money.”

With DVTel’s flexible, scalable open architecture, TRWD plans to continue to expand their security system to keep pace with the district’s new construction. Current expansion plans, in addition to the new annex building, include a major undertaking to re-direct the flow of the Trinity River and create a new lake, along with new pump stations, a third pipeline, and other facilities to manage such significant infrastructure changes.

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