Ensuring Project Success: The Highland Park Reservoir Monitoring Approach


In the realm of infrastructure development, the careful monitoring of critical projects is paramount to ensuring their success. The Highland Park Reservoir project in Pittsburgh, involving substantial investments and improvements, is a pertinent example of this principle. In this article, we will explore the significant role that monitoring played in this project, emphasizing practical, straightforward, and professional solutions employed to oversee its progression.


The Importance of Monitoring

Undertaking renovations of long-standing infrastructure, particularly in the context of water reservoirs like the Highland Park Reservoir, demands vigilant monitoring across all phases. The project's comprehensive repairs and updates made the need for ongoing surveillance of water levels, dam stability, and other parameters abundantly clear. In particular, the extended duration of the project necessitated a reliable long-term monitoring strategy to ensure the reservoir's safety and efficiency.


The Monitoring Solution

To meet the monitoring requirements of the Highland Park Reservoir project, Rite Geosystems Inc., a reputable U.S.-based firm, was entrusted with the provision of instrumentation and real-time monitoring solutions. Their scope of work encompassed several critical components:


  • Instrumentation: Rite-Geosystems supplied automated piezometers and in-place inclinometers to gauge water levels and monitor embankment and slope stability around the reservoir.
  • Supervision of Installation: The company supervised the installation of the initial two piezometers and the first two in-place inclinometers to ensure accurate setup.
  • Client Training: They provided training to the client's team, guiding them in setting up dataloggers, retrieving manual data, and troubleshooting issues.
  • Instrumentation Maintenance: The maintenance of instrumentation during installation was imperative to secure reliable data collection.
  • Automatic Monitoring: Continuous monitoring, executed at predefined intervals, facilitated real-time data collection.
  • Online Data Management: Rite-Geosystems established a web-based data management system (WDMS) and maintained it throughout the project. This system allowed for immediate alerts through SMS and emails.
  • Data Visualization: To enhance data interpretation, the cloud-based data management system was equipped with Google Maps and graphical navigation features for swift data review.

Read more: Monitoring 101: Using a Piezometer


Instruments in Use

The instrumentation deployed in the Highland Park Reservoir project consisted of automated piezometers and automated vertical in-place inclinometers. The former were placed on the dam's crest and the downstream side of the reservoir to monitor water levels. These piezometers were chosen for their durability, ensuring suitability for long-term monitoring. Data collection from the piezometers employed dataloggers, with each piezometer connected to an individual datalogger.


Automated vertical in-place inclinometers were utilized to assess embankment and slope stability around the reservoir. These inclinometers were equipped with digital sensors, and data from each inclinometer chain was collected using data loggers. The data was transmitted wirelessly via a cellular network to a central server, where it was made accessible in near real-time through a web-based data management software. 


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Achieved Results

With nearly 100 sensor points monitored in near real-time, the project garnered critical insights, particularly during the refilling of the reservoir. The monitoring solutions ensured the safe refilling of the reservoir, preserving the integrity of the infrastructure and safeguarding the city's water supply.



The Highland Park Reservoir project underlines the pivotal role that monitoring plays in infrastructure projects. By employing automated instrumentation, real-time data collection, and online data management, the project was executed successfully, guaranteeing the reservoir's safety and operational efficiency. This exemplifies the critical contribution of monitoring solutions to preserving infrastructure assets and ensuring the welfare of the communities they serve.

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