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How using IoT for testing toxins is improving water quality

Drinking water varies from place to place depending on the condition of the source water from which it is drawn and the treatment it receives. No matter its origin, water must meet Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) regulations. The traditional method of testing turbidity, PH and temperature is to collect samples manually and send them to laboratory for analysis. However, this method has been unable to meet the demands of water quality monitoring today, according to a report from the International Journal for Research in Emerging Science and Technology. So a solution to monitoring turbidity, PH & temperature of water quality can now be deployed with the use of IoT technology.

With the rapid development of the economy, more and more serious environmental problems arise. Water pollution is one of these problems. Routinely monitored parameters of water quality are temperature, pH, turbidity, conductivity, dissolved oxygen (DO), chemical oxygen demand (COD), biochemical oxygen demand (BOD), ammonia nitrogen, nitrate, nitrite, phosphate, various metal ions and a few others.

source: fubar protocol/Youtube
source: fubar protocol/Youtube

Vast volumes of data about the status of water quality can be gathered across industrial networks from measuring instruments in a watershed, treatment plant and testing equipment. This data can then be integrated with geographic data representations of topography, community boundaries, public infrastructure and population data. Analyzing this data using visualizations and scenario simulation tools enhances monitoring of water quality by generating a single, reliable and actionable geospatial view of water resources and management systems in real-time, according to Experfy. Early intervention can help to reduce disease outbreaks related to waterborne contaminants and help utilities and industrial users comply with water quality regulation.

Here are some capabilities this data-centric approach offers, according to IoTsens:

  • Early intervention in case of contamination
  • Valuable help to comply with water quality regulations
  • Real time information to customers and citizens
  • Environmental care and enhancement of ecological resources

An essential element of water management in IoT is the smart meter. A smart meter is an internet-capable device that measures energy, water or natural gas consumption of a building or home, according to Silicon Labs.

Traditional meters only measure total consumption, whereas smart meters record when and how much of a resource is consumed. Power companies are deploying smart meters to monitor consumer usage and adjust prices according to the time of day and season.

source: Smarter meters/Youtube
source: Smarter meters/Youtube

Smart metering benefits utilities by improving customer satisfaction with faster interaction, giving consumers more control of their energy usage to save money and reduce carbon emissions. Smart meters also give visibility of power consumption all the way to the meter so utilities can optimize energy distribution and take action to shift demand loads.

According to Sierra Wireless, smart metering helps utilities to:

  • Reduce operating expenses by managing manual operations remotely
  • Improve forecasting and streamline power-consumption
  • Improve customer service through profiling and segmentation
  • Reduce energy theft
  • Simplify micro-generation monitoring and track renewable power

The value of the data that these smart metering systems make available is immense, according to Oracle. Bundled together with the new investments in network sensing devices (leakage detection sensors, district flow, pressure logging or network water quality measurement, etc), this represents a gold mine that is awaiting adequate mining. According to Oracle, specific to water utilities, some of the key areas where value may be generated include business domains such as:

  • Improved advanced metering infrastructure pperations
  • Optimized meter management and revenue management
  • Improved customer service
  • Improved distribution operation and planning
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