WTTP 1821
Instrumentation l

3.0 Credits


This course offers an introduction to the instrumentation trade as it applies to the day to day operation of water/wastewater treatment plants. Topics discussed include process control principles, terminology and troubleshooting techniques. It is important to note that this course is not designed to create tradespersons, but is designed from the viewpoint of plant operators, so they can develop more awareness of the trades and allow them to function more effectively

Delivery Method



Industry experience or acceptance into the Water Treatment Technology program.


After successfully completing the work in this course, students should be able to:

  • Identify the functional blocks of an automated control system and discuss how the interactions among these blocks affect the entire system.
  • Identify the most common sensors used in the water treatment process and explain basic operating principles, installation considerations and maintenance.
  • Identify the process variables typically found in the water treatment process and describe the devices or elements (final control elements) that change the values of the process variables.

Course Outline

Module A: Instrumentation Principles

  • Describe the individual components of a process control circuit.
  • Understand block diagram representations of a control loop.
  • Describe open-loop verses closed-loop control.
  • Describe continuous and discontinuous control systems.
  • Understand the advantages and disadvantages of feed-forward and feed back systems.
  • Explain the basic components of an electronic power supply.
  • Explain the basic components of a pneumatic power supply.
  • Explain the advantages and disadvantages of pneumatic over electronic control systems.
  • Understand the various standards for a transmitted signal.
  • Explain the principles behind electronic and pneumatic signal transmission devices.
  • Understand the purpose of the controller in a complete automated control system.
  • Describe in simple terms the three sections of a controller.
  • Understand the effects of proportional integral and derivative action in the controller.
  • Describe features of an electronic process control station.
  • Understand the purpose of indication and recording.
  • Identify different indicators and recorders.
  • Understand the overall purpose of P&ID's and loop drawings.
  • Read and interpret P and I drawings (P&ID's).
  • Read and interpret loop drawings.

Module B: Process Measurement

  • Understand the principles of flow measurement.
  • Describe common flow sensors.
  • Understand the principles of pressure measurement.
  • Describe common pressure sensors.
  • Understand the principles of level measurement.
  • Describe common level sensors.
  • Understand the principles of turbidimeters.
  • Understand the principles of particle counters.
  • Understand the principles of pH meters.
  • Understand the principles of chlorine meters.
  • Understand the principles of streaming current monitors.
  • Understand the basic principles of sensor maintenance.
  • Understand the basic sensor maintenance considerations.
  • Understand the principles of sensor calibration.

Module C: Final Control Elements

  • Understand the function of the final control element in process circuits.
  • Describe the three components of the final control element.
  • Describe on/off control in terms of signal conditioning.
  • Understand the function of electrical and pneumatic relays.
  • Understand the function of a motor starter.
  • Describe the function of a diverter valve.
  • Describe proportional control in terms of signal conditioning.
  • Understand the principles of electrical positioners.
  • Understand the principles of pneumatic positioners.
  • Describe electrical actuators.
  • Describe pneumatic actuators.
  • Describe hydraulic actuators.
  • Understand proportional control used with electro-hydraulic actuators.
  • Define the term "control valve."
  • Describe the basic components of valves.
  • Understand the selection criteria for valves.
  • Understand the basic principles of the following valves:
    • Butterfly
    • Ball
    • Cone
    • Plug
    • Gate
    • Globe
    • Sleeve
  • Define the term "pump."
  • Describe where pumps are used in treatment facilities.
  • Understand the function of non-displacement versus displacement pumps.
  • Understand the basic principles of the following pumps.
    • Centrifugal
    • Piston
    • Tube (peristaltic)
    • Diaphragm
    • Gear
    • Progressive cavity pump
  • Understand the principles of a chemical feed pump.
  • Understand the basic principles of dry chemical feed systems.

Maximum Completion

30 weeks.

Required Text and Materials

American Water Works Association. Instrumentation and Control. 3rd edition. Denver, CO: American Water Works Association, 2001.
Type: Textbook: ISBN 1-58321-125-X

Additional Requirements

Computer with Internet required.

Open Learning Faculty Member Information

An Open Learning Faculty Member is available to assist students. Primary communication is through Blackboard's "Mail" tool or by phone. You will receive the necessary contact information when you start your course.


To successfully complete this course students must obtain 50% or higher on the final exam and in the course overall. Students taking this course and applying it towards a Certificate I, II, or III or Water Treatment Diploma must obtain a minimum 60% average in the course overall to meet program requirements.

The final assessment will be determined on the following basis:

Midterm 1 25%
Midterm 2 25%
Final exam 50%