Water quality is one of the largest on-going concerns around the world. The quality of water differs between water bodies and on the intended use of those bodies of water. Drinking water, industrial water, wastewater, and recreational water each have a different "standard" of quality they must comply within - if they have a standard at all.
Why must these water bodies maintain a certain level of quality? Simple, survival. Survival of the human race, our wildlife, our plant life, and our world. That's a big deal, and we here at YSI have a passion for it, it is apparent in our products and our people, we know that there are challenges when collecting water quality data.
YSI recently hosted a very informative webinar, presented by our very own environmental monitoring product manager's Tim Finegan and Brandon Smith and marketing manager, Danielle Dumont, that focused on the challenges people face in all the areas mentioned above to collect water quality data. If you were not able to attend the webinar live, you can download it now, however, we will be sharing the information with you in "snack size" bites over the course of our next few posts, here, as well.
There are three major ways to collect water quality data.
1. Lab sampling is the process of collecting and transporting samples from the environment back to a laboratory for analysis. An example of an instrument used with this method is the new YSI MultiLab with smart sensor recognition and multiparameter testing capability.
2. In contrast, spot sampling is the process of taking measurements in the field with the use of field sensors on portable instruments. Spot sampling requires the ability to move from location to location to acquire the desired data. Another unique challenge is the potential need to gather data at varying times in order to understand full diurnal cycles. The YSI Professional Plus or ProDSS is ideal for multiparameter spot sampling.
3. Continuous monitoring is the deployment of field sensors in an autonomous mode that may or may not include telemetry of the data. Monitoring has many data quality challenges as well such as biofouling on sensors. YSI has recently released a revolutionary instrument that provides an ideal solution to continuous monitoring with smart sensor recognition and the ability to collect up to six water quality parameters at once, the EXO sonde.
OK, so now that we have an understanding of the different ways we can collect water quality data, let's talk about one of the challenges of collecting water quality data - product repair.
Collecting water quality data can be expensive due to the cost of maintaining and repairing equipment. Instrument users face a challenge with aging equipment and high repair costs for older products. What are the common issues that contribute to the continuous need for repair and maintenance? There are several, here are a few; flooding of sensors, corrosion on stainless steel parts, bent or broken pens, antifouling wiper parking and cable failures. This continual maintenance can be frustrating for the user to say the very least.
What is the industry doing to address these frustrations?
Manufacturers, like YSI, are developing instrumentation with this challenge in mind. When choosing your instrumentation look for:
Wet-mate connectors. These connectors have long been used in harsh oceanographic applications. One benefit of the connectors is that they are impervious to moisture while you are connecting them. The cable also has integral strain reliefs and new Kevlar members that drive up the reliability and lifetime of the cables. On average, there is a 20% improvement in the life of the cable.
New polymers and titanium. Advancements in material science have led manufacturers away from using stainless steel and PVC due to the challenges of these materials in the operating environment. New polymers stand up really well in saltwater, and titanium increases the durability of sensors, especially as a way to reduce flooding of the sensors.
Biofouling measure. Orienting the sensors in a flat plane to more easily wipe or clean the sensors of biofouling shows improvements. This same form factor is also easier to swap out and interchange. The use of copper-based antifouling components to reduce maintenance costs, especially for continuous monitoring applications is also effective. Other antifouling features may include pumps, chemical injection, wipers and shutters.
Factory service. Prepaid factory service programs from a manufacturer can help you manage your ongoing maintenance costs. Often you can purchase up to 5 years of service upfront and build it in your capital costs. Some plans offer replacement pH caps and DO membranes on an annual basis.
These are just a few things to look out for if you notice that your repair and maintenance costs keep rising and you feel there is no end in sight. These tips won't eliminate them entirely, but it will sure help!
Additional Blog Posts of Interest:
Top 5 Challenges to Collecting Water Quality Data - Challenge 2
10 Tips to Prevent Biofouling on Water Quality Instruments
Advantages of Smart Sensors and Ports on Water Quality Sondes
How Does Real Time Data Save You Time?