France - St Omer

The French Wateringues

The Wateringues territory is located in the north of France, it is the continuation of the Yser polder. This territory corresponds to the Aa delta which used to be a large wetland where “the ocean spreads twice a day in the meadow” (Strabon –DOLEZ - Les Moëres).


Starting in the 10th century, monks trained in England (in the Fens) where they had a monastery undertook drying out the delta. Drains were dug which led water to channels that were then going directly to the sea, so wetlands could be cultivated.


As the territory stands below the sea level, different systems such as Archimede’s screws, channels dug in dikes, sea gates and, later, pumping stations were implemented. This is actually what gave this territory its name. Indeed, in the very north of the territory, in an area called “Les Moëres”, water was leading to an Archimede’s screw that brought it up in a circular channel, higher than the sea level, called the “water ring”.

Institution Interdepartementale Des Wateringues

The IIW was created in 1977, after major floods damaged the territory, by the 2 departments of Nord and Pas-de-Calais. Its first mission was to create hydraulic structures, to organise their functioning in order to prevent floods. The main rules of the IIW are still today to evacuate the flood to the sea, to prevent maritime invasion and to manage and regulate inland water. In order to develop and to improve its water management system, the IIW took part in February 2012 in the FLOODCOM project.

The French project consists in improving water retention techniques in an urban area, but also to improve water management in all the Wateringues territory. To that purpose, two main objectives are taking place in FLOODCOM. The first one concerns the building of a pumping station in Dunkirk; the second one, the improvement of the water data centralization and diffusion on the whole territory.

However, the geotechnical studies have shown that further more structural work is needed to build the pumping station in Dunkirk which requires extra funds of around Euro 480,000 more than initially estimated. IIW does not have the extra funds required and has planned for the funding received from the ERDF via the Floodcom INTERREG 2Seas project to be used to rehabilitate and modernise the Dunkirk automatons.

Description of the actual installations

Channels and important structures in charge of water management and water evacuation to the sea on the Dunkirk area are identified on the following picture:

1 – Tixier Station Water flow

2 – Tixier Station, pumping

3 – Jonction structure

4 – Moëres pumping station

5 – Furnes lock

6 – Express Road station (project cancelled)

These structures, managed by the Dunkirk Harbour for IIW (Institution Interdépartementale des Wateringues) or VNF (Voies Navigables de France), are fully equipped in Industrial and Programmable automations (A.P.I.) allowing the structures and their equipment (gates, pumps, screw, trash rake…) to work automatically according to the rules defined in the management protocol.

 In the Dunkirk area, automations and IHM (Interface between man and machine)
are diverse, of types :
- Schneider TSX 57303 on the Tixier PS Water flow,
- Schneider TSX 57303 on the Tixier PS Pumps,
- Allen-Bradley FLEX LOGIX 1734 on the Moëres PS,
- Schneider TSX 37-21 for the trash rake of the Moëres PS
- Allen-Bradley FLEX LOGIX 1734 + map PROSOFT Modbus on the Jonction Structure,
- Allen-Bradley SLC 500 On the Furnes Lock.
- Automations of the Tixier site are connected to a Magelis XBT GT exploitation terminal on the Tixier pumping Station.
- Automations of the 4 Écluses site are associated to a tactile PanelView.

 TIXIER RATEAU STATION
Composition of the Tixier Rateau automaton
A - Module TSX PSY5500
B - Module TSX P57303
C - Module TSX DEY64D2K
D - Module TSX DEY64D2K
E - Module TSX AEY1600
F - Module TSX AEY1600
G - Module TSX AEY1600
H - Module TSX DSY64T2K
I - Module TSX DEY32D2K
J - Module TSX ETY110WS

TIXIER WATER FLOW STATION
Composition of the Tixier water flow automaton
- TSX PSY5500 (Module d’alimentation x2 format)
- TSX P57303A (Processeur PL7)
- Module TSX ETY110
- Module TSX DEY64D2K
- Module TSX DEY64D2K
- Module TSX AEY1600
- Module TSX DSY64T2K
- Module TSX DSY64T2K

 Presentation of the project

The performance objective is to modernize and harmonize the whole A.P.I.s of the water management and flow structures of the Dunkirk area. This performance completes the API, IHM and Industrial PC modernization started in 2013 on the Calais, GRavelines and Bergues areas. It is implemented within the FLOODCOM project – Activity 1- Modernization of the data supervision and centralization tools.

This modernization will allow:

  •  Replacement of obsolete automaitons Harmonize equipment to create communication between automations of the 4 Ecluses and Tixier sites in order to coordinate more efficiency with the Dunkirk channels management actions through the Citect supervision and the Ethernet network (actual situation). The other solution would consist in creating a WIFI – radio network between the Tiwier and 4 ecluses sites
  • Update and improve programs of Structures control in installing new functions:
  1. Opening the Gates in Jonction Structure at the same time as the gates in Tixier Station
  2. Calculation of the channels filling and storage rates
  3. Water raise speed calculation
  4. A balanced repartition of the starting times and pumping times on the pumps
  •  Harmonizing the automation programs on the structures that have the same functions(example: same pumps, gates, gate and pump…), developing notes and commentaries in order to facilitate maintenance operations.
  •  Developing from IHM interfaces allowing the modification of the threshold parameters or the functioning rules defined in the management protocols (situation normal/ flood/ major flood).

The other objective, with the cancellation of the Express Road PS project, is to optimize the “secured storage” of the water into the Dunkirk channel system: Moëre channel, Bergues, Jonction, Exutoire channels. This operation consist of connecting automatons of the different structures and integrating within the automaton of the water flowing to the sea (Tixier PS) information coming from 4 écluses (Moëres PS, Jonction Structure), locations upstream; but also to integrate theoretical tide conditions or water raising level speed in the Jonction channel, the weak point of the Dunkirk system regarding flood risk.

Other information such as rain, tide coefficients, can be integratedin the form of data tables to the automatism to optimize management (meteo: favourable or not – water flow condition / tide coefficient : favourable or not…). This new data will be integrated in the decision making tool after having been validated by the whole services concerned (IIW, NVF, private operators).

This automation of the starting of the pumps and opening of the gates aims to anticipate and optimize water flow when today, the water coming from upstream and the rising of the tide are faster than ever.

The consultancy about goods, programming and installation of API associated to a IHM on the Tixier sites (water flow, pumping), on the 4 Ecluses and their connection to the data centralization system will be launched through an open call for tender – goods and services market.

 Presentation of the automatism and electric works

For each site, the services are the following:

  • Studies – Analyses
  • Furniture of material and softwares.
  1. API and exploitation terminals; together with cables, software and their configuration.
  2. One inverter per site with permanent on-line allowing, in case of power cut, to maintain the power for the automaton, the IHM and the communication for 30 minutes duration.
  • The recovery of the automaton program, developments and configuration of the existing exploitation terminals.
  • Modification of the programmable automation and the viewer synoptic.
  • Electric Equipment:
  1.  Dismantling of the existing automation, extensions, communication card and exploitation terminal.
  2.  Assembly of the new generation automation and the viewer and their annexes. 
  • Automation equipment:
  1. Redirection of in and out inputs
  2. New API programing according to the function analyses. The programing will conform to the IEC1131-3 norm.
  •  IHM prestation:
  1. Replacement of the IHM Tixier PS
  2. Replacement of the IHM Moëres PS
  3. Integration of the synoptic development stopped during the function analyses.
  • Trials and implementation
  1. Control and validation of the automation program with different steps in the equipment work (opening, closing of gates, starts, stops of pumps, level threshold…)
  2. Control of viewer and animation of the exploitation terminals, alarm generation, automaton communication. 

 Contents and objectives of the automatons and IHM programing

Additional to the function: level data correction “absurd”

Data level upstream and downstream, analogic type, are gained through an ultrasound probe, and stored into the API before being transmitted to the operator local supervision.

To avoid « absurd » data level, measured by ultrasonic probe, caused by a floating waste - the automation program will allow to correct “absurd” data, that does not belong to a level interval included between the minimum and the maximum for each measure point.

In addition to the function: balance of the starting time and the functioning time of the pumps

In automatic functioning, on the whole pumping stations, the automation program will integrate the number of starts and working times of each pumps to balance their work.

Integration into the stations automisation of information coming from sites located upstream

According to the management protocol, the upstream level or the speed that the water is rising in the channel determines the number of pumps to start.

Integration into the Jonction Structure automation of information about sea level and opening or not of the seagates and the sea pumps

Today, automations of Tixier and Jonction, which are of different types, do not communicate together.

It is suggested to integrate into the automation program recommendations of the Stucky studies (2011). To improve water evacuation exploitation and procedures in the area of Dunkirk.

API technical characteristics

New generation API to replace exiting automations will be: Modicon M340 or equivalent. Material configuration will be defined after the function analyses.

Exploitation terminals technical characteristics

Existing exploitation terminals will be replaced by IHM (Man/Machine Interface) of a new generation (GTO 5310 or equivalent) having at least the same technical specificities and the same dimensions to facilitate their integration in the command tank. They will be made with the latest version configuration software and equipped with a memory card allowing the program recuperation.