Continuous remote monitoring techniques for water quality
Water quality issues are an ongoing challenge for the water industry and as technology advances, so does the ability to provide instant and reliable data.
The Environment Act 2021 aims to improve air and water quality, protect wildlife, increase recycling and reduce plastic waste. The Act is part of a new legal framework for environmental protection, given the UK no longer comes under EU law post-Brexit.
For water quality under the Act, ongoing reporting and monitoring are required and therefore the need for more technologically advanced solutions to provide more cost-effective and reliable data are essential.
APEM use continuous monitoring technology to provide instant alerts, which identify changes in water quality, this provides our clients in the water industry with the ability to be reactive to incidents and make decisions immediately.
We work with a third party technology provider to install water quality monitors. This ‘black box’ technology is about the size of a small suitcase and is usually installed both upstream and downstream of a discharge point in a river. Electronic sensors provide a signal every 15 minutes and this data can be accessed remotely by APEM experts or our clients from a smartphone or desktop.
A range of parameters can be monitored, which include:
However, the key factor that can be monitored is the relative change in water quality, if there is a sudden change this could indicate a pollution event.
The benefits of continuous monitoring are many and include:
The evolution and use of technology does not remove the need for laboratory testing, which confirms the data and adds additional data for parameters that cannot be measured remotely. APEM provides an end to end solution, from setting up continuous monitoring programmes, providing regular reports and recommendations, through to in field sampling and both freshwater and marine laboratory testing, all under one roof.
APEM’s water quality team recently installed a set of continuous water quality monitors and rain gauges for a water company. This will allow them to assess and respond to the potential impacts from assets during wet weather events on local bathing water quality.
In our installation video you can see water in the river flowing out through two sluices. If the water level exceeds a certain height, two large pipes (which you can see in the video) start up and pump the extra water away. All the water in the river goes into the sea at a nearby bathing water.
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