Oldsmar Breach Highlights Cybersecurity Weaknesses

The complex technology, systems, applications, processes, and staffing that go into ensuring the public has a steady and safe supply of drinking water is not only threatened, but under attack. The vast number of cybersecurity threats to water utilities have been known, but more recently attacks exposed these cyber vulnerabilities to the public. On February 5, 2021 an unknown person gained unauthorized remote access to a water treatment plant in Oldsmar, Florida and increased the setpoint of sodium hydroxide fed into the drinking water system to a dangerous level.

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Deep Freeze

Texas is no stranger to natural disasters. However, this recent winter storm was a perfect confluence of events which brought Texas’ critical infrastructure to its knees. Peak energy demand outstripped supply as power generation was crippled by record low temperatures, resulting in state-wide rolling blackouts for days. Water utilities went to war with mother nature to keep pumps running through blackouts to maintain water to customers. Water lines froze and burst. Equipment failed due to prolonged low temperatures. Millions across the state were left shivering in the dark with little to no water. This was a humanitarian crisis.

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Flying Blind No More

If you looked down at your dashboard and saw this, what would you do? For those of us that remember how to drive a stick, hopefully the answer that popped into your head was “Shift” or maybe “Let off the gas”. Redlining a car isn’t good for it, right? Would you even consider buying a new car that didn’t have a dashboard? How could you properly operate it if you had no idea how fast the engine was turning, how fast the vehicle was going, no idea what gear you were in, and no idea whether there was any gas in the tank? We wouldn’t dream of buying, much less operating a vehicle like that. So why do we do it with our pumps every day?

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Specific Energy as a Measure of Pump Station Performance - Webinar Recording

Proper pump operation can drastically increase the life span of pumps. This course will teach the basics of both system curves and pumping curves both in constant speed and variable frequency conditions. Then, we will present the concepts behind Specific Energy’s pump station optimization technology including pump health assessment and asset management, energy efficiency, and transient management.

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