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Water monitoring


basis and freshly calibrated units are constantly in circulation within the ESNET system. Continuous monitoring enables the detection


of transient spikes that can arise from pollution incidents; helping to raise timely alarms and identify ongoing sources of pollution. This evidence can be used to develop informed interventions by stakeholders in industry and agriculture, and to enable the adoption of practices that improve water quality. Integrated systems such as those operated in


the Thames Valley catchment are able to track pollution events as they move with the river, which means for example, that water treatment plants can adjust their intakes accordingly. Tidal water presents a major monitoring


challenge because large volumes of saline water are constantly moving back and forth, which significantly complicates the comparison of measurements at one point on the river. So, for example, a measurement at one location at 9am is not directly comparable with another measurement at 9am a week later, because one might be taken at low tide and the other at high tide. The transient effects of CSO’s and algal activity further complicate the picture. Water quality scientists at the Environment Agency have therefore worked closely with Meteor Communications to develop a software-based monitoring system, known as ‘Half Tide Correction’ (HTC). In simple terms, this corrects for the effects of the tide and allows assessment of the underlying water quality. Continuous, accurate and robust data allows


graphical, tabular and geospatial views to see live readings and retrieve recorded data. With this customisable data presentation, managers are able to communicate evidence in a form which is more accessible and meaningful to public representatives, interest groups and stakeholders. This also enables bodies such as the Environment Agency to promote the use of open data, providing live data links, advice and services to a diverse range of public groups and organisations such as flood awareness groups, rivers trusts and angling organisations. During the coronavirus pandemic the


Environment Agency collected over 16,000 samples per day using ESNET and the cloud- based viewer was made available to all water quality practitioners across the Defra family, as well as a wide range of external bodies.


The advanTages of remoTe moniToring neTworks


By collecting data automatically; the volume of evidence increases dramatically, furthermore, such systems are resilient to the effects of issues such as a lockdown; because monitoring practitioners are able to collect and assess data; even if they are isolated at home. In recent years, sensors and water quality


sondes have undergone significant development to improve reliability and extend the period between service and calibration. Meteor Communications provides a comprehensive maintenance program for customers on a monthly


Instrumentation Monthly November 2020 21


managers to assess the impact of developments and remediation measures. Good data, used as evidence, informs the evaluation of investments and leads to better decision making. The ESNET network also provides image


acquisition, and the Environment Agency and others have deployed over 600 ESNET camera sites. These remote cameras are used to continuously monitor a wide range of flood defence infrastructure and assets; rapidly detecting blockages or overflows and avoiding the need for unnecessary and costly site visits. ESNET systems also provide an essential tool


for measuring the effectiveness of Natural Flood Management (NFM) schemes. In Oxfordshire for example, working with a wide range of partners in the Evenlode catchment, the systems are helping to evaluate the effectiveness of NFM measures for the local community and other stakeholders.


UTiliTies - final efflUenT moniToring


The flexibility of the ESNET systems makes them ideal for monitoring water quality at waste water treatment works. The responsibility for monitoring discharges rests with the operators themselves under the terms of operator self- monitoring (OSM) agreements. OSM is now delivered by a spot sampling regime supported by real time monitors, so an opportunity exists for all stakeholders to benefit from the advantages of continuous monitoring. A UK water company is now operating 130


ESNET final effluent monitoring systems across their business. These sites have continued to operate during the COVID-19 lockdown providing operators and managers with vital data with which to assess performance and compliance during this challenging period.


sUmmary


Recent advances in technology have enabled the development of continuous monitoring systems that are quick and easy to install. The portable ESNET system is routinely commissioned in less than an hour, and the pumped kiosks can usually be installed within half a day. With little or no capital works necessary prior


to the installation of an ESNET system, continuous, easily accessible, multi-parameter data can be established quickly and cost effectively. Real-time monitoring means less travel, less time on site and a lower carbon footprint. Real time data can also be provided to stakeholders, timely alarms triggered and monitoring can continue unaffected by the impact of viral pandemics.


Meteor Communications www.meteorcommunications.co.uk


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