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Case Study - Nightcap Water Treatment Plant Upgrade

Updated: Jan 20, 2021

SAFEgroup Automation (SGA)'s Northern NSW team have proudly been working with Rous County Council to deliver a major upgrade to the Dam Water Pumps at Nightcap Water Treatment Plant (WTP). This WTP provides water to Northern NSW locations, including, Lismore, Alstonville, Ballina, Byron, and Evans Head.


Project Requirements:

  • Replacement of dam water pumps and motors.

  • Installation of a new MCC.

  • Installation of VSD’s for pump control.

  • PLC upgrade.

SAFEgroup Automation Deliverables:

  • Complete PLC and SCADA design, programming, and commissioning.

  • Integration into existing plant network, control, and SCADA system.

  • Consultation at the electrical design review.

  • Establish the Modbus TCP/IP communication link to VSD’s to extract and trend additional performance data.

Key Benefits:

  • Installation of VSDs provides flow control to the WTP not previously available.

  • Performance data extracted from VSDs.

  • Outdated PLC replaced with modern PLC supported well into the future.

  • Implementation of PLC function blocks providing standardisation.

  • Transition to Function Block Diagram code provides an easy to understand program for client troubleshooting.

Technology Used:

SGA Testimonial:

“SGA prides itself on delivering industry-leading solutions for our clients. Having an office based in Northern NSW office, allows us to provide local and unparalleled engineering solutions and support to all of our valuable clients. This project demonstrates our commitment to engineering excellence whilst improving our local community.” – Josh Miller - Northern NSW Senior Engineer.


Challenges Overcome During Commissioning:

  • Due to the WTP being a critical infrastructure for providing water to Northern Rivers residents, the plant could only be taken offline for short periods of time.

  • Staged cutover of new pumps allowing full mechanical and electrical testing of new pumps with the option to roll back to the old system in the event of a failure.

  • Duty control performed in existing PLC for first 2 pump cutovers requiring communications mapping (protocol conversion) between the existing Omron PLC and the new Modicon M580 PLC.



SAFEgroup Automation completed a major upgrade to the Dam Water Pumps at Nightcap WTP in Northern NSW. This upgrade provides a modern system that delivers more reliable and cost-efficient results for our client and their local residents.

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