Bristol Water gets street smart with MetriNet telemetry bollard
A new way of delivering ultra-low powered, real-time monitoring for the creation of intelligent, optimised, smart water networks,developed by ATi and Imperial College London.
A first-of-its-kind, purposed-designed, road-side water quality monitoring telemetry bollard is helping the proactive, forward thinking water company, Bristol Water, gain a deeper understanding of DMAs and optimise their performance.
Research & Development
As part of an ongoing Imperial College London project, dedicated to the scientific methods for the design, optimisation and control of next generation resilient water supply networks, research and development began into a more accessible, yet secure, water quality monitoring solution that delivered resilience, efficiency and sustainability.
ATi’s tried and trusted MetriNet technology was re-developed by Dr Ivan Stoianov, Reader and EPSRC Fellow in Water Systems Engineering, and his team of water systems research academics, along with ATi’s specialist engineers, to create a safe, accurate and accessible above-ground water quality monitoring solution for water utilities.
This innovative approach to smart sensor technology features the MetriNet’s class-leading M-Node digital water quality sensors and Q52 controller, housed inside a secure, serviceable, flame retardant and vandal resistant telemetry bollard, enabling distributed water quality monitoring, without the concerns and issues associated with below ground-level installations. Analysing water quality data from ATi’s range of 16 smart M-Node sensors allows water utilities to extract deeper, real-time insights to enhance operational efficiencies, managing networks efficiently and resiliently to proactively safeguard water quality.
As supporters of Imperial College London’s research and as part of its commitment to safeguarding water quality for local communities, Bristol Water were keen to be the first water company to have the MetriNet telemetry bollards installed. The installation site was chosen based on its close proximity to the chamber, where a below-ground MetriNet solution was originally installed, allowing a short pipe run for sample and drain.
Installed on a pre-existing hydrant or measuring point, a hole was dug for the bollard with the pipes enclosed in flexible ducting to the chamber, allowing the option to add more pipes at a later date if needed. The antenna cable was then connected from a logger to the MetriNet telemetry bollard to improve the signal.
This new MetriNet street-level solution is easier and safer to install, service and maintain, with no need to lift heavy chamber lids to access the equipment. Instead, water companies just remove the security screws, twist and remove the bollard cover. Verification and calibration is easy, as a push-fit connector allows a sample to be taken from the outlet of the flow cell. With this solution, there are no more worries about flooding chambers.
The live data set below displays a four-week period from the MetriNet telemetry bollard’s turbidity and two free chlorine M-Node sensors. Although it shows some drift between the chlorine sensors, they are both following the same trend, which demonstrates that the sensors are following each other well. This confirms that chlorine levels within the network are sufficiently high enough to provide suitably disinfected water and that turbidity levels remain at a consistently low level. Both of of these insights help to prove and ensure that the quality of the water reaching the customer meets the specified regulations.
The reliability for data communications and availability to support operational decisions is further increased within this street-level application, due to the more favourable environmental conditions and no water ingress, which in turn prolongs the life of this smart monitoring asset. It also offers better communication and connectivity to Bristol Water’s chosen platform, due to this above-ground application.
Benefits of street-level water quality monitoring:
User-friendly Q52 MetriNet interface for simple sensor validation
Minimises water usage with optional solenoid valve
Smart Sensor Technology
This unique MetriNet solution has allowed Bristol Water to deliver smart water quality monitoring of distribution networks in the easiest and simplest way
The digital M-Node sensors within the communications bollard are complete water quality monitors equivalent to traditional online instruments. Connected to the water supply using a purpose designed ‘click-connect’ flow cell arrangement, they are connected in series to minimise water usage, running at pressures up to 6 bar. Their ultra-low powered nature means they have the ability to run autonomously for up to two years on small batteries, or they can be powered from a local plc or telemetry system.
Deploying a neural network of MetriNet’s digital smart M-Node sensors at critical locations throughout the water distribution system offers water utilities continuous, real-time assurances and evidence-based proof that the water is safe. MetriNet will predict events, loss of disinfection, taste, odour, discoloration, bursts or leaks, providing a network that measures, thinks, predicts and takes actions. Timely warnings and analysis of network anomalies then allows operational staff to react before costly failures develop.
This project demonstrates that the development of ATi’s innovative MetriNet street-level multi-parameter water quality monitoring solution offers a new way of delivering ultra-low powered, real-time monitoring for the creation of intelligent, optimised, smart water networks.
Now available as both street level and below ground installations, MetriNet’s smart sensor technology offers sustainable solutions with zero water wastage options, helping to meet environmental targets, drive down complaints and create real-time awareness of water quality throughout the network.
ATi’s innovative MetriNet smart sensor technology solutions offer a range of bespoke, end-to-end approaches to managing distributed water assets, creating resilient, cost-effective and environmentally friendly water networks, helping to prolong the life of assets and safeguard water for a safer, smarter world.