Category: Municipal Solutions

Ottawa, Illinois SCADA system

Overview screen of the MetroCloud SCADA map of sites for both water and wastewater systems in the City of Ottawa. Stars indicate station locations.

As one of the most common industrial control systems, a Supervisory Control and Data Acquisition (SCADA) system is of critical importance to municipalities. By allowing for the centralized monitoring of the larger water system — wastewater treatment, storm water, water treatment, lift stations, etc. — SCADA systems streamline access and help ensure that everything is running as planned. Unfortunately, traditional SCADA systems haven’t kept pace with technology, leaving many municipalities with high maintenance expenses and a lack of flexibility, access, and security concerns.

When it came time for the City of Ottawa, Illinois to address its decades old SCADA system, antiquated controls, and unreliable radio system, the municipality recognized that it was time for a broader change. While SCADA systems have historically been operated from one central, on-site computer, Ottawa didn’t want to feel tethered to or dependent on an old system. Rebuilding a SCADA system with multiple connections and hardware from various manufacturers is no small task, but engineers from Metropolitan Industries were able to work with the city to ease implementation and greatly streamline system monitoring by bringing the entire processes into the MetroCloud.

Understanding The Cloud

From smart phones, tablets, photo storage and servers, the term “cloud” seems to be working its way into every conversation and corner of life, but what exactly does it mean to be in the cloud? Well, this mysterious storage option is actually fairly simple. When storing data in the cloud, what you’re actually doing is placing digital data on servers, often in multiple locations, owned by a hosting company. This allows you to access your information from anywhere and prevents you from having to maintain digital storage options. Additionally, transitioning the physical SCADA computer to a virtual machine running in the cloud eliminates associated IT costs, computer replacements, software update costs, and physical security concerns. Best of all, everything once requiring an operator to sit in front of a computer can be done with remote access from any Android, iOS, or Windows smart device.

What this means for a SCADA system, like the one in Ottawa, is that the on-site computer server becomes a thing of the past, but the information once held on that system becomes more accessible than ever.

From Ground to Cloud

To help ease the transition for the City of Ottawa, Metropolitan worked with the municipality to take a two-step, transitioned approach for the implementation of MetroCloud SCADA, our remotely hosted SCADA monitoring system. The first step was to rebuild the existing SCADA system and improve operator access to the data. By combining our expertise with pump systems with our deep understanding of associated software communications, we connected various components and software systems across multiple sites to enable easy communication. Though some lift stations are still on their old radio communications, other were replaced with cellular modems to allow for faster, more reliable communications and easy cloud hosting. Further, the remaining lift stations are track to be replaced in the future with our LMS II, a complete menu-configurable lift station level management system. Though we didn’t move everything to cloud storage/hosting immediately, all systems needed to communicate through the cloud.

With the SCADA communications reconfigured, we were able to move to step two: transitioning a small number of municipal water components — three lift stations — to cloud hosting. The result? As planned, access was simplified, information was readily available with just a few taps, and in less than a year the City of Ottawa took the plunge.

After recognizing the value of MetroCloud SCADA, they transitioned  more lift stations, four wells, three pump stations, one water treatment plant, and one waste water treatment plant to the cloud and this new system has already proven itself. When the city was hit by a major tornado in February, communications via MetroCloud SCADA were sent as planned, allowing the city to remain aware of its water system despite the chaos and destruction that rocked the community. That’s all part of the security that’s inherent to every MetroCloud SCADA.

Overview screen of the MetroCloud SCADA map of sites for both water and wastewater systems in the City of Ottawa. Stars indicate station locations. Shown on a smart device.

Overview screen of the MetroCloud SCADA map of sites for both water and wastewater systems in the City of Ottawa. Stars indicate station locations. Shown on a tablet.

Security is Priority

When talking about the cloud, security concerns are usually one of the first things that come to mind. While it’s good to be aware of risks, MetroCloud SCADA puts security first by working to guarantee uptime and restrict access to information. To ensure reliability, all data using the MetroCloud platform is hosted on Amazon Cloud Servers, with 99.9% uptime and multiple servers in geographically redundant zones, meaning you’ve always got a backup should something go wrong. Additionally, we designed this system so that it’s not exposed to the Internet. A private Internet protocol (IP) address essentially creates a gated community for your information, limiting access to sensitive municipal data, and when connecting to MetroCloud via Ethernet connection, VPN tunnels encrypt all data. Finally, the system partners with cellular carriers to create a private network connection between MetroCloud and the cellular network.

With all of this being done by Metropolitan’s experienced pump system and control experts, setup is quick and ongoing maintenance is minimal. In addition to the cloud offering easy access, this storage/communication option eliminates the need for dedicated on-site computers/servers and the costs associated with maintaining this added infrastructure, including SCADA software licenses and upgrades. In fact, with free upgrades automatically pushed to the system, there is no IT involvement at all for most applications.

You could say that we have our heads in the cloud, and we’d probably agree. By remaining at the forefront of innovation in the market with MetroCloud, we’re taking steps to ensure that our clients are ready for the years ahead. Backed by a 60 year history of proven expertise in the pump systems industry, we’re looking forward to the next 60 years and we know that phone lines, computer towers, and at-risk data won’t get us there.

The prefabricated house built at Metropolitan, complete with control system and generator is delivered and placed on-site in Oak Brook, IL.

Rather than digging deeper trenches for gravity sewers – a process that can become costly due to associated excavation costs – lift stations move wastewater from lower to higher elevations. Though the basic components of lift stations, including wet wells, valve vaults, and dry-pits, have remained fairly consistent over the last several decades, technology, design, and construction methods have also improved, leading to better lift station options from the standpoint of maintenance, functionality, and safety.

Recently, the city of Oak Brook, Illinois, in conjunction with Flagg Creek Water Reclamation District (WRD), evaluated the aging infrastructure on its collection system and decided it was time to modernize two of its aging lift stations by upgrading the system to be more powerful, more reliable, and easier to maintain. However, moving from two duplex (2 pump) stations to a single triplex (3 pump) station is a fairly larger undertaking. When seeking proposals for this project, the city needed to ensure that design and execution of the new lift station would progress seamlessly and without interruption to the existing stations (until after the new system was fully operational). This demanding scenario meant, in turn, that the contractor selected for this project would need to be able to rely on a respected name for the station’s most critical components.

A Single Source for Responsibility

Often times, the design and construction of a lift station faces a couple primary challenges. First, if the necessary components are sourced from multiple manufacturers (e.g. pumps from Company A, controls from Company B, etc.), responsibility is spread out, making it confusing to determine who to call for serving. Second, as these stations live in the elements, weather can add to construction delays, especially in regions affected by sub-zero temperatures in the winter. In the long run, both of these factors can lead to increased costs, be it from a lack of coordination or extended delays.

In Oak Brook and elsewhere, Metropolitan Industries solves both of these challenges. With 60 years of experience in the industry, we are proud to offer single source responsibility. For the new “Midwest/Tall Tress” lift station, that meant providing all guide rail components in the wet well, custom access hatches, discharge elbows at the base, three 48hp pumps, level controls, flow meters, and our unique above ground control station. Here, the contractor provided the concrete wet well and valve vault, but Metropolitan can provide those as well (fiberglass, coated steel, or stainless steel) if the project requires/allows.

In addition to the peace of mind that results in a single, trusted supplier, sourcing all critical components from Metropolitan simplifies servicing for the owner. In fact, Metropolitan’s 24/7 service and large parts inventory makes the entire servicing process as seamless as possible. However, being all too familiar with the burden of Midwestern winters, we take the idea of “under one roof” a step further.

Interior of the Oak Brook prefabricated house.

One Roof Under One Roof

The existing Flagg Creek WRD lift stations were aging and therefore costly to maintain due to the frequency of maintenance required and the number of municipal employees required to complete the tasks. In part, this was due to the old lift stations relying on a dry pit/wet pit design, which created a confined entry workspace. To eliminate this hazard and ease servicing, we moved the controls above ground using Metropolitan’s complete control building solution. With a full range of customization options – including PLC controls, UL listings, exterior finishes, cranes, and generators such as the 175 kW natural gas generator installed in this precast concrete building, our rooms offer complete control solutions. This simplifies year-round servicing and improves the operator experience and equipment reliability. Though we also offer solutions that do not include the full building, this approach can often prolong equipment life and save money in the long run. Best of all, every Metropolitan control room is 100% prefabricated and not weather dependent at the time of construction or installation.

By building every control station on-site inside Metropolitan’s Illinois facility, weather delays become a thing of the past. This full service approach allows us to ensure the quality of every cubic foot, rain or shine, while decreasing the need for field labor and producing a “plug-and-play” system that can then be shipped to the lift station site and connected with ease. For Flagg Creek, this prefabricated, custom approach also helped to ensure the new lift station could be up and running as quickly as possible with minimal field work required.

Today, local residents and the Flagg Creek WRD can rely on a system that is prepared to handle the future growth of the area, and the district can rest easy knowing the new system was designed specifically for them and built with precision. Now it is probably fair to say that things are more up to date for the residents of Oak Brook and we were happy to be part of the team that worked diligently to make that possible.

Emecole, a Metropolitan Industries company, recently assisted in an experimental project where the concrete was cast off site and brought to the build location of a municipal structure on the east coast using a specific line of epoxies and polyurethane foams to seal and repair foundational cracks.

Whether you are talking about a home, an office building, or a municipal facility, a good foundation is critical to the performance of the structure as a whole. Typically, concrete holds up fairly well, but even the best poured foundations can fall victim to cracking as the earth shifts, the building settles, and the water around that foundation tries to sneak its way in. For a long time, these cracks were best attended to with 1) a shrug of the shoulder or 2) more concrete to patch the wound. Neither, however, is ideal. As water threatens to damage equipment and overall building health, a more effective solution is key.

Cue Emecole, the newest edition to the Metropolitan Industries family.

Acquired by Metropolitan in the fall of 2016, Emecole has been a trusted manufacturer and supplier of epoxies and polyurethanes for the repair of poured foundation cracks for nearly 30 years. Today, using the same innovative dual-chamber, low-pressure crack injection system developed by Emecole founder Louis Cole, we use a specific line of epoxies and polyurethanes to seal and repair foundational cracks. Though this system has been used in more than 150,000 concrete repairs thus far, we are more excited about how it can help our customers in the future.

Replacing damaged infrastructure can be expensive, especially on a municipal or commercial scale. Though Metropolitan pumps and control systems can help you move water where it needs to go, the Emecole system can help you keep water out. Now, rather than planning to completely gut a foundation, replace a wall, or call in a fleet of cement trucks, basement and crawl space contractors can turn to Metropolitan’s Emecole line of injection sealants and patented tools to eliminate water seepage and the infiltration of moisture and/or soil gases.

To learn more about this acquisition or the Emecole family of products, please contact your sales engineer or visit our website at


Metropolitan Industries has reached another historic business milestone within the month of September. The prominent water management technology solutions company closed the sale on acquiring Emecole, Inc. The sale shows a positive growth for the future of both companies. The acquisition transitions will follow in the months to come, according to Metropolitan Industries, Inc. President John Kochan, Jr.

Founded and based in Romeoville, IL, Emecole, Inc. manufactures and distributes concrete repair chemicals and waterproofing solutions. For nearly 30 years, Emecole has been the industry leader in concrete repair chemicals and waterproofing solutions. Emecole was founded by current president Louis Cole. Cole always carried the drive to reduce the labor and costs associated with leaking cracks from basement foundations. In his career, Cole has been awarded 10 patents from creating his state-of-the-art low-pressure injection system that has become the leading industry standard for approaching concrete crack repairs.

The purchase allows Metropolitan Industries to cross-promote between the two business by allowing each respected company’s products to be sold in the territories covered by the other company. Emecole’s operations will remain in their existing facility presently.

John Kochan, Jr. stated that he is, “excited for the new team to strengthen the family business as we look forward to our commitment to continued growth and for Metropolitan to continue to be a market leader in all our areas of business both today and tomorrow.”


Metropolitan Industries, Inc. has unveiled a new logo and company name to signify the acquisition; Emecole Metro LLC








City of Ottawa, Illinois

  When a crucial lift station in the City of Ottawa flooded for the second time, the city turned to Metropolitan to upgrade the antiquated lift station built in 1955. The station was still able to run after the flood because of the submersible pumps, but because the equipment was starting to deteriorate it was perfect timing for an upgrade.

  The triplex lift station upgrade included dry pit submersible pumps with brand new Metropolitan controls. The station, prone to flooding along the Illinois River, was upgraded with new controls designed above the flood level to reduce the occurrence of flooded equipment.

  “The quick response to service that we received from Metropolitan made us very happy,” said City of Ottawa Public Works Director, Bob Shull, “Metropolitan came out the next day and had us back up and running within an incredibly short time period.”

City of Des Plaines, Illinois

A seven year old sanitary lift station in the City of Des Plaines, Ill., was rendered inoperable after a vehicle lost control.

A seven year old sanitary lift station in the City of Des Plaines, Ill., was rendered inoperable after a vehicle lost control.

When a car accident damaged a sanitary lift station in the City of Des Plaines, Ill., Metropolitan Industries was called upon to help prevent the approximately 200 condominium and small home resident units from flooding.

  The vehicle lost control, traveled over a curb and collided with the sanitary sewage lift station equipment causing considerable damage to the lift station and rendering it inoperable. The seven year old lift station control panel was in need of extensive repairs.

  Public works staff immediately responded to the site to assess the damage. The entire control enclosure, associated control panel and power feed from ComEd were all damaged beyond repair. Once the vehicle was removed, staff setup temporary pumping for the lift station. Due to the complexity of the lift station, public works contacted Metropolitan Industries to obtain a replacement control panel.

  Metropolitan answered the call to restore proper operation of the lift station. The typical lead time for complete replacement is 10 weeks. Since the lift station would be out of service for an extended period of time, Metropolitan was able to install a temporary control system while the new one was manufactured.

 The temporary panel that was installed saved considerable amount of time and labor, automatically pumping down the water at the sanitary station which would have otherwise had to be done manually every 3 hours.

  “Metropolitan did a phenomenal job,” said City of Des Plaines Foreman, Tim O’Malley, “The outcome could have been a lot worse, especially because of the time of year it was when pipes freeze up and pumps fail more often, but Metropolitan was able to turn it around and provide us with a temporary system that would service the station while the new one was built.”

Within weeks, a new customized sanitary lift station control panel was installed with updates to its SCADA system.

Within weeks, a new customized sanitary lift station control panel was installed with updates to its SCADA system.

  It was imperative that this pumping system  started pumping again before residents returned home from work and used more water.

  Temporary pumps were set up to run the next day. It was important that the temporary panel was installed because the manual pump could fail at any time without an alarm system to notify personnel.

  The city was caught completely off guard with this accident. An upgrade usually occurs when a lift station is antiquated and no longer operates properly. The city benefited from the install of a new customized panel with updates to its SCADA systems and new level control system.

  In the end it was a very smooth transition.

 “Metropolitan is always our go-to for anything dealing with lift stations,” O’Malley said, “but for them to provide us with this great service and quick turnaround, they really out did themselves.”

Lake Zurich, Illinois

Over 6 inches of overnight rainfall submerged the sanitary lift station that services a Lake Zurich neighborhood.

Over 6 inches of overnight rainfall submerged the sanitary lift station that services a Lake Zurich neighborhood.

 When over six inches of rain from a powerful overnight storm caused a control panel to fail, the Village of Lake Zurich, Ill., called on Metropolitan Industries to assist in the repair of a sanitary lift station in a Lake Zurich neighborhood that was damaged by the flood.

  The original submersible duplex sanitary lift station and controls manufactured by Metropolitan in 1986, serves an entire subdivision of 187 homes.

  When heavy rains overwhelmed the village’s drainage system, water backed up, causing levels to rise high enough to damage the panel, which was submerged under water.

  Storm water rapidly overwhelmed the detention pond and flooded the lift station, the traffic box (control panel), ComEd’s transformers and several homes nearby. The traffic box was submerged by over 4 feet of water, which caused the control panel to fail, leaving the entire subdivision without sanitary sewer service.

  After the water had receded, one pump was still operational, but it was uncertain for how long the pump would continue to run. Even with one pump running, it was not enough to prevent basements of some residential homes in the neighborhood from flooding. As a result, some residents lost sewer service for one day.

  Lift stations elevate wastewater and runoff through a system of pipes and pumps, sending it to higher level toward a treatment facility. When one part of the lift station’s system stops working, there is a risk of sewage backup.

  After the flooding had receded, the village revived the control panel that evening but had obvious concerns about the reliability of the control panel as corrosion had already become visible on many of the components.

  Metropolitan was able to provide a quick solution to the village by installing a temporary control panel that was rented from Metropolitan to keep the pumps operating while a replacement control panel was manufactured.

 The replacement control panel was designed to sit higher to help prevent the new panel becoming submerged.

The replacement control panel was designed to sit higher to help prevent the new panel becoming submerged.

  The lift station is located in a lower area next to a detention pond. Keeping the flooding issue in mind, the new control panel was designed to sit higher to help prevent the new panel becoming submerged in case another flood event were to occur.

  The replacement traffic box with new control panel also has Metropolitan’s new LMS II, Level Management System installed allowing the village to seamlessly alter pump options, transducer options and more, while providing access to basic SCADA features.

Lewis University – Romeoville, Illinois

  Winter temperatures are not to be ignored, especially this past winter, which brought two polar vortexes to the Midwest causing many heating systems to fail. Among those affected was the home of the men’s and women’s swim team at Lewis University in Romeoville, Ill. The existing pool heater failed at the same time the university’s swim season was starting. When the original pool heating manufacturer said it would take 3-4 weeks to replace, the engineering firm, Grumman/Butkus Associates of Evanston, Ill., called on Metropolitan in an effort to fix the problem quickly.

  “We needed to order and install the pool heater with no delays or problems as soon as possible,” said Grumman/Butkus Associates Engineer, Sergio Cano, “Metropolitan had a price quote and delivery scheduled within 3 hours of our initial phone call.”

  It was imperative that the heater be replaced quickly due to the NCAA rules requiring the pool water be at a certain temperature in order for the athletes to be eligible to compete.

  As a result, the university purchased a brand new Laars Pennant CP 1.2M btu/hr. with a Cupro-Nickel Heat exchanger pump mounted pool heater. The high-performance pool heating boilers produce warm water at efficiency levels of 85% or more.

  In addition to the Lewis University men’s and women’s swim programs, the pool is also open to members of the Student Recreation and Fitness Center.

  Within one week the pool was reopened. Metropolitan was able to order parts immediately and received the water heater within five days and the contractor installed the heater next day.

  Laars Heating Systems offers 72 hour expedite shipping on all Laars products. As one of the only companies offering that service, Metropolitan, a Laars sales representative, provided the exact size Laars pool heater required by the university.

  The biggest challenge was identifying the cause of the pool heater failure. After identifying the problem of the first failure, modifications were made to reduce potential failure of this heater, which was modifying the way it was installed. Not many companies look at the “whole picture”.

  Lewis University was desperate to find a replacement heater fast and even considered renting temporary pool heaters to save the swim season, but they were unable to locate companies that rented pool heaters that large.

  Grumman/Butkus Associates main goal was to help save the university’s swim season.

  “Metropolitan coordinated everything from the pool heater model selection and price quote all the way to supervising the installation with absolutely no problems,” said Cano, “they were also awarded the installation contract for responding so fast and providing the owner with all of the information requested.”

A Laars Pennant CP 1.2M btu/hr pump mounted pool heater was installed at the Student Recreation and Fitness Center at Lewis University in Romeoville, Ill.

A Laars Pennant CP 1.2M btu/hr pump mounted pool heater was installed at the Student Recreation and Fitness Center at Lewis University in Romeoville, Ill.

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