• Sign Up or Sign In

Sensors primed for wider role in AMP6

Whether it is helping water companies meet their environmental obligations, achieving Totex efficiencies, or simply increasing the knowledge base about how assets operate, sensors and instrumentation are set to have a bigger role to play for water companies in AMP6.

Sensors have applications across water and wastewaterSensors have applications across water and wastewater

by James Brockett

Whether it is helping water companies meet their environmental obligations, achieving Totex efficiencies, or simply increasing the knowledge base about how assets operate, sensors and instrumentation are set to have a bigger role to play for water companies in AMP6.

Experts in the field will get a chance to explore key developments at the annual Sensing in Water conference, which will be held at Nottingham Belfry Hotel on September 23-24 and is organised by the Sensors for Water Interest Group (SWIG).

The agenda for the two-day event is split into four sessions: ‘Serving the Customer’, ‘Serving Supply’, ‘Serving the Environment’ and ‘Serving the Company’, providing a neat summary of the benefits of Instrumentation, Control and Automation (ICA) throughout the water cycle.

Anthony Kyriacou, Proactive Operational Control Lead at Severn Trent, and one of the session chairs, sums up the benefits of ICA as allowing a change in the operational model ‘from reactive to proactive’.

“At Severn Trent Water we are looking to improve the visibility of our sewer network so that it matches the level of visibility we have of our water distribution system,” says Kyriacou. “If we can achieve this we will be able to spot where potential blockages might be, in turn minimising the risk of sewer flooding or environmental pollution - a truly proactive approach. Within the water network, our programme to implement high speed pressure loggers across our network shows that modification to booster pump control can eliminates pressure spikes. This leads to an increase in the mains' asset life, and a reduction in the risk of bursts occurring, supply interruptions or low pressure events. And our large water and waste treatment works are starting to be operated with a factory or production line mindset, with an end to end real-time view of performance and focus on product quality (final effluent, biogas, sludge cake). These are just a handful of examples where ICA is the foundation for the change required to meet and beat our AMP6 obligations.”

But all this will be too good to be true if the 'people' aspect of ICA is forgotten, adds Kyriacou. It is crucial that the people, process and technology aspects of any ICA change programme are correctly balanced to deliver performance improvement and sustainable benefit.

John Proctor, Asset Technical Support Manager at Yorkshire Water and also a director of SWIG, agrees.

“Most sensors are part of a system, and are not fit and forget - they require maintenance, a media strategy to get data to a collection point, a system to get the data into information to the right people at the right time. Of course this must be done within the constraints of the right cost, be secure, robust, and reliable.”
Oliver Grievson, Flow Compliance & Regulatory Efficiency Manager at Anglian Water, says that there is “huge potential” for online monitoring throughout the wastewater system – at the point of collection, treatment and discharge – to protect the environment.

“We are seeing this being required in areas on the wastewater network with the advent of event duration monitoring. There is the potential for this to be so much more and for the development of controlled collection networks to be instigated if the instrumentation and data collection is used in the right way,” says Grievson. “This of course impacts on the wastewater treatment plant, and here there is even greater potential. With modern advanced process control, there is a much greater potential here to control what is discharged and potentially link treatment works together on an advanced wastewater treatment network system.”

But while sensor information can be invaluable for water companies, it can also play a vital role when supplied directly to customers; some companies, for example, are now make information about CSO discharges available to beach users as an indicator of bathing water quality.

Chris Jones, R&D Manager at Northumbrian Water Group, says: “A relatively small proportion of sensor-derived information is provided directly to customers as a means of engagement or service enhancement, which is surprising given the growing demand for instant access to information across many service sectors. We see increasing numbers of stories in the media linking customer satisfaction to how well informed they feel they are; ‘keeping the customer informed’ was highlighted by our own customer focus groups as being a key behaviour of organisations that deliver excellent customer service.”

Topic: Data, IT & Communications , Innovation
Tags: Innovation , flow control

Newsletter

Sign up today for your daily news alert and weekly roundup

© Faversham House Group Ltd 2019. WWT and WET News news articles may be copied or forwarded for individual use only. No other reproduction or distribution is permitted without prior written consent.

Cookie Policy   |   Privacy Policy