Technology Corner – Keeping an Eye On Your Water

All of us in the water industry are aware of water monitoring requirements and how we must contend with them. With water management difficulties increasing due to water scarcity, contamination, and new/evolving regulations becoming more stringent, water monitoring technology has risen to the challenge of mitigating these difficulties. Check out the following list to learn about four types of technology that are helping us achieve this.

1. Microbial Fuel Cell Sensors:
  • Cost effective method to monitor freshwater quality.
  • Floating device that generates its own power from pollutants.
  • Shows promise as an early detection system for contaminants in freshwater.

2. Oasis:
  • Portable water quality sensor OASIS, short for On-Site Aquatic Safety Inspection System.
  • Rapidly analyzes water quality and plots the results on a map using GPS technology.
  • Utilizes electrochemical sensors to detect fluorides, nitrates, chlorides, pH levels, turbidity levels, and temperature.
3. Satellites & Drones:
  • Researchers are developing methods to use satellite and drone imaging to monitor water quality in remote locations.
  • The technology will use hyperspectral and satellite multispectral remote sensing technologies alongside on-site surveys.
4. Flocculation Monitor:
  • Technology to monitor the flocculation process in both water and wastewater systems.
  • Monitors the shape and size of floc in real time to improve flocculation while minimizing costs.

Mitigating Service Outages with the Insta-Valve 250

How often do water main breaks or other leaks occur where they can be isolated with minimal service outages? Leaks never occur in convenient locations forcing utilities to make tough decisions about service outages and isolating leaks. A company named Hydra-Stop developed a new insertion valve called the Insta-Valve 250 to mitigate service outages from leaks. Read more about these valves by clicking here.

Detecting Leaks & Saving Money with AMI

The US EPA has averaged the real and apparent water losses in utilities across the US at 16% or about 1.7 trillion gallons or about $2.6 billion. Real losses occur from leaks, while apparent losses occur from inaccurate meters. AMI or Advanced Metering Infrastructure utilizes real time, on-demand monitoring and metering to better manage systems. With the implementation of AMI, meter accuracy can increase from 70-90% to about 100%.

Additionally, AMI can be integrated with acoustic leak detection and other methods which offer real time information on leaks and assist with water audits. You can check out how AMI was implemented in Elmhurst, IL by clicking here.

Digitizing Your Master Plan

We are all aware of master plans and their benefits to water and wastewater systems, but most of us have not considered the next step. Physical master plans are nothing new but situational analysis can be improved by digitizing these plans. Physical master plans and digitized master plans are very similar in that they both depend on a utility’s goals, needs, and regulatory drivers.

The difference is that instead of only looking at capacity hydraulics and hard infrastructure, digital master plans can utilize logged and real time data, software, and systems to better understand various situations that arise in water and wastewater systems. Learn more about digitizing you master plan by clicking here.

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