Intelligent Flood Protection: Pipelife SmartHub Protects Finnish Town from Water Damage

26. October 2023 | 5 min read

Nestled amid Finland's stunning lakes and rivers, the town of Pudasjärvi faces a challenge — the threat of seasonal flooding caused by autumn rains and/or spring snowmelt. Recognizing the importance of up-to-date stormwater management, Pudasjärvi embarked on a mission to modernize its pumping station controls and add remote control and monitoring features, enhancing the town’s flood resilience. Pipelife Finland's expertise in smart water management helped devise a solution that went above and beyond the municipality's expectations.

Pudasjärvi SmartHub referenssi 2023

A Call for Modernization

Finland's city of Pudasjärvi, located just an hour's drive from Oulu, is known for its magnificent, unspoiled nature. Three major lakes encircle the scenic town, and the Iijoki River runs right through its center. Yet, the abundance of water in the area and the large amounts of snow central Finland experiences every winter mean that parts of Pudasjärvi are vulnerable to seasonal flooding. 

The city acknowledges that keeping its stormwater management systems up to date is crucial to protect Pudasjärvi residents, properties and infrastructure. Pekka Pitkänen, Head of Municipal Engineering at Pudasjärvi, explains that one area of concern has been the city's pumping stations, some of which are several decades old.

"The pumping stations in the area were built in the 1980s and 1990s, and their management and control systems required an update to meet today's standards," Pitkänen sums up.

Pudasjärvi SmartHub referenssi 2023

Efficient Installation, Immediate Results

By the beginning of 2022, Pudasjärvi's existing network of pumping stations and control cabinets was still operational but had aged and offered limited functions. The city was interested in a solution enabling remote monitoring and control, optimizing pumping stations' operation and lifecycle management as well as reducing their energy consumption.

The modernization project started in May 2022. Pipelife Finland was contracted to supply automated control units and connect them to the Pipelife SmartHub remote monitoring system, while the main contractor Slatek Oy was responsible for on-site assembly. 

Both companies had already worked together in the past, and the well-established cooperation helped ensure the project's success. 

"Quality is one of the cornerstones of our business, and we expect the same from our partners," states Valtteri Huuki, Head of Maintenance Services at Slatek Oy. "Working with Pipelife was once again excellent as both sides shared the goal of finding the optimal solution for the customer."

In total 17 control units were supplied, connecting the existing pumping stations to Pipelife SmartHub — a cloud-based monitoring and control solution for water utilities and municipalities. The Pudasjärvi project also entailed replacing the aged sensors, pumps and their accessories where needed. 

According to Liisa Rantatulkkila, Development Manager for Smart Water Network Solutions at Pipelife Finland, the main advantage of SmartHub is the improved overview of the water system's status.

"Remote monitoring allows for capturing operational data, such as the amount of water pumped and flow rates. This information can be used to optimize the operation of pumping stations and lower their energy consumption," she clarifies. "The system also alerts if deviations in operation are detected so that the necessary maintenance or repairs can be identified and carried out immediately." 

Pudasjärvi SmartHub referenssi 2023

Pipelife SmartHub: Empowering Water Network Operators

The project was commissioned in December 2022, and the customer training took place in early 2023, ensuring the municipality could immediately use the SmartHub platform to address its needs. 

Connectivity to Pipelife SmartHub allows Pudasjärvi stormwater network operators to remotely control pumping stations and receive real-time data and alerts. Often, the operation issues can be addressed without the need to visit the site.

Pekka Pitkänen appraises the service the municipality has received. "The interaction has been regular, easy and clear — Pipelife is a very customer-friendly company," he says. 

Pudasjärvi SmartHub referenssi 2023

When The Results Speak for Themselves

The modernized stormwater management setup has already passed its first flooding season — and with flying colors. 

The data on pumping station processes and parameters helped the municipality optimize pump maintenance and address the system's weaknesses before the flood season had even started. And real-time control and monitoring allowed for timely adjustments in pump operation when the water levels started to rise. 

"Pipelife's smart solution has fully met our expectations. The system worked very well during the flood, and we experienced no problems whatsoever," concludes Pitkänen. 

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