Drinking water is a primary nutrient. Thus, not only the transport in the drinking water network, but also the excellent quality for the consumers must be ensured. Currently, the quality of drinking water is ensured by means of laboratory samples, which have to be carried out according to the authorities / law (drinking water regulations) by the water companies at specified intervals. The actual drinking water regulation intends for improvements by moving away from regular sampling to a risk assessment-based adaptation of sampling planning.
On the one hand, this approach is costly, because across large parts of the drinking water network samples need to be taken, transported and analysed weekly to monthly and on the other hand, however, owing to their slow dynamics, problems such as contamination events can often barely or not be detected at all.
In order not to be dependent on the prescribed frequency of examinations and to increase transparency, many water suppliers worldwide require online sensors so that responding to issues related to the water quality in their drinking water distribution network is possible in real time.
Criteria for using sensors in the drinking water network
Online sensors that are used in the drinking water network are supposed to continuously monitor and provide quantitative, high resolution and validated measurements for assessing the water quality. The environmental conditions in man holes and pipelines are not trivial. Therefore protection class requirements of minimum IP67 and drinking water certification criteria for materials which are in contact with water must be fulfilled.
If sensors are supposed to make measurements in the pressured pipe, such systems must be very robust in order to be able to deliver good results regardless of pressure fluctuations and pressure bursts. The susceptibility, maintenance and power requirements of this “online analytics” must be reduced to an absolute minimum.
The prerequisite of every online measurement is not just robust sensors but also a real-time data transmission into a data base / SCADA system in order to be able to react to alarms and changes in the measured data.
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