WATER QUALITY MONITORING
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Water quality in the distribution network has traditionally been monitored by manual, “grab” sampling techniques and analysis either in the field or laboratory for some parameters (e.g. pH, conductivity, dissolved oxygen, residual chlorine, etc.). However, given this ad-hoc method and the spatial extent of a water distribution network, water quality can only be monitored on an intermittent basis. Therefore, generic sensors, which can detect a wide spectrum of water quality variations, are becoming more preferred. In addition, utilities are recognising the benefits of using an online water quality monitoring system to provide continuous input for daily network operations, inspection, and maintenance planning.
Online water quality monitoring relies on sensors that are permanently deployed in the distribution network. These sensors continuously communicate real-time data about various quality parameters to a software platform such as an Early Warning System, which can rapidly locate the source and spread of the contamination. By handling quality issues early, utilities can incur lower costs from labour and equipment needed to gather samples, as well as reduce the amount of chemicals used to ensure regulatory quality standards. Public health issues can be prevented since contamination can be detected before it reaches the population. Furthermore, unexpected quality changes can also indicate useful information about pipeline conditions and the distribution process. Thus, by implementing an online monitoring system, utilities can improve their water quality and network operations as a whole.