Compendium of Sensors and Monitors and Their Use in the Global Water Industry
Joep van den Broeke
OverviewOnline monitoring of water quality is an powerful enabler in the water industry. It is a crucial component in the pro-active management of processes and assets, and helps improve performance and cost efficiency. Instrumentation for the monitoring of most water quality parameters is commercially available. Implementation of such equipment, however, remains largely limited to a small number of basic parameters and is still confined to key nodes in collection, treatment and distribution systems. A primary hurdle to further realization of the potential of online monitoring is the lack of publicly available information on system performance, key drivers and barriers (technical, economic and social) to successful implementation.
A study was performed to identify and document information on commercially available instrument types, associated costs (capital and operating), and real-world experiences with the use of sensors in the global water / wastewater industry. This information was compiled in an online compendium, to facilitate sharing of information and learning from experience.
The study has shown that the current generation of technology is suitable for routine operation. However, there is no one-size-fits-all solution to monitoring questions. Furthermore, successful application of on-line water quality monitoring requires commitment of considerable resources, which need to be accompanied by a solid QA/QC plan. Furthermore, the understanding and appreciation of monitoring and the efforts required to make it a success need to be embedded and supported at all levels within an organization.
Deciding whether on-line monitoring is the best solution to a need for information has to be done in careful process. Defining needs and requirements, building a business case around this and then carefully working out the specifications and all organizational aspects of the monitoring program are prerequisites for effective implementation and to prevent surprises and disappointment.