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Wessex Water's wastewater metering trial is a world first

Wessex Water, working in partnership with R&D technology company Dynamic Flow Technologies, has installed the world's first wastewater meter, which is capable of accurately measuring the smallest of flows in part filled sewer pipes.

The meter can measure wastewater flows as low as 0.02l/sThe meter can measure wastewater flows as low as 0.02l/s

The company is trialling the meter at a property in Bath, where the device has been installed on a sewer to monitor the amount of wastewater flowing through it.

wwtonline exclusively revealed earlier this month that Wessex Water was considering wastewater metering.

Whilst meters are commonly used for gas, electricity and water consumption (allowing people pay for the volume of the service they use), wastewater from properties or commercial premises has never before been able to be measured in the same way.

Matt Wheeldon, Wessex Water’s head of wastewater strategy, said: “This is an exciting innovative project which could possibly revolutionise the sewerage industry. 

“Being able to cheaply, accurately and reliably measure the range of flows that go on inside sewer pipes has up until now not been economically possible. However, this innovative bit of kit, which utilises microwave technology and has nothing invasive in the pipe, can measure flows as low as 0.02l/s ─ the tiniest trickle in the invert of the pipe, up to virtually full bore flows.”

Wessex Water said the project could prove to be “good news for commercial customers” in the long term as it provided the opportunity for people to finally only pay for what they really use rather than the proxies which are commonly used today.

It explained that diverting surface water from car parks, roofs and patios away from combined sewers into water butts, rainwater recycling tanks, or soakaways, could mean that sewerage bills are reduced to reflect the volume of the sewerage service used. The additional benefits of encouraging  less surface water to enter combined sewer systems would also reduce sewage flooding incidents and CSO spill frequencies.

Wheeldon added: “If this technology proves to be as good as the trials so far, the ability to mass produce and then send the right supply management signals to customers becomes possible – if a customer thinks that their use of sewerage services is less than average then they might opt for a wastewater meter.

"The recent Water Act means that all commercial customers will have a choice of supplier from 2017 and this new technology will also give them greater choices on the services they want – including how they are charged.”

Wessex Water and Dynamic Flow have received support from Elster Water Metering on the project. 

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