Sustainably managing water monitoring: Bürkert's Digital Solutions for Quality and Cost Efficiency

Burkert Fluid Control Systems
Thursday, 01 February, 2024

Sustainably managing water monitoring: Bürkert's Digital Solutions for Quality and Cost Efficiency

Water utilities in Australia face a growing number of challenges, and traditional methods of measuring water quality can no longer meet their needs for responsiveness, environmental sustainability and reduction in overheads.

Because ensuring water quality is crucial for human wellbeing, environmental integrity and the agricultural sector, water authorities need to take advantage of the latest technology to stay ahead of the many challenges they face today.

In Australia there are a number of water quality management challenges, including drought, salinity, bushfires and floods, ageing infrastructure, agricultural runoff, mining activities and the impacts of urbanisation. Depending on the location, and at different times, water authorities may have to contend with:

  • Acid sulphate soils
  • Blackwater events (organic debris resulting from flooding)
  • Runoff after bushfires
  • Cyanobacteria (blue-green algae)
  • Salinity
  • Polluted urban runoff

The need for automation

Because our drinking water is ultimately sourced from the environment, water authorities need to continuously monitor water quality, and with the challenges they face today they need to be able to respond quickly when conditions change. Manual monitoring methods are everywhere being replaced by automation; however, implementing an automated water quality management system is not without its own challenges and costs.

Implementing automation helps resolve the problem of the time and effort required for manual analysis procedures and time-consuming external laboratory analyses. But traditional automation methods involve large numbers of individual sensing elements and associated wiring, demanding a lot of space in the plant.

Each analysis sample also results in a high consumption of water, and you need a separate device for each measuring parameter, making it expensive, maintenance-intensive and inefficient. Although automation can eliminate human error on a day-to-day basis and provide more responsive water quality management, traditional systems can themselves introduce their own operational costs and maintenance burden.

Today, however, automation systems are themselves also undergoing rapid change, and the most important drivers in water management and industrial water treatment are — and will remain — digitisation and the expansion of the degree of automation.

Digital, modular water quality management systems

Luckily, modern advancements in digitisation and sensing technology provide ways to improve efficiency and reduce costs.

Bürkert has developed a Water Quality Management System (WQMS) as a comprehensive monitoring system for multiple water quality parameters. The online multi-channel analysis system monitors all important water parameters, and is supplied as an integrated cabinet solution that can be expanded at any time in order to measure additional parameters.

Analysis is performed by MEMS (micro-electro-mechanical system) microchip technology in the form of modular cubes. Depending on the measurement parameters, different sensor elements are used. Only low sample water flows are necessary and the smallest of changes in the sample water can be detected quickly. MEMS technology is proven to reduce costs and maintenance expenses. The acquired process data can be retrieved at any time and is available for controlling, monitoring and documenting remotely.

Depending on requirements, various combinations of measuring modules can be inserted into the system via plug-and-play. All measured values are clearly displayed on a touchscreen on-site, and the entire process can also be monitored remotely via fieldbus connection or PLC.

Time, money and energy savings

Using the Bürkert WQMS along with other Bürkert companion technologies can result in up to 40% in cost savings for water analysis, and the system takes up to 35% less space than traditional systems. It is also possible to achieve up to 75 hours less labour per year.

By cleverly combining with automated processes, controllers and measurement methods, energy consumption can also be reduced by up to one third, while maximising productivity and water quality.

Partnering for the digital future

In view of the growing challenges, the extraordinary responsibility in water analysis, the technical specialisation and the high need for automation in water production, it is important to bundle know-how, experience and technical solutions.

Australian water bodies must adhere to stringent water quality standards for both processing and drinking water. Partnering with a trusted water quality monitoring provider, like Bürkert, not only ensures compliance but also grants peace of mind. Bürkert’s ongoing collaboration with various municipal and private water bodies is a testament to its commitment to consistently meet and exceed these rigorous standards.

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