Wastewater treatment underpins modern society. Just looking at mundane, day-to-day activities like washing the dishes or using the restroom, the average person adds everything from human waste, food scraps, oils, and even chemicals like cleaning solvents and cosmetic product into the water supply.
At some point then, that waste needs to be separated out from the water so that it can be safely introduced back into the watershed without causing serious ecological damage. Conversely, to not treat that wastewater could mean an overflow of raw sewage, either of which could endanger people’s health and well-being.
In areas with centralized sewer systems, the things that keep this from happening are wastewater treatment plants—complex facilities that need to use chemically and biologically intensive processes in order to render water safe to be let back out into the surrounding environment.
In short, they do the vital work of recycling the water that makes modern life in dense population centers possible.
With that in mind, it behooves us to make sure that wastewater treatment plants are safe, reliable, and can do the job at all times, and fall offline.
The problem is, wastewater treatment can be a very dangerous business.
As the process separates filters and treats wastewater, all kinds of dangerous gases can be released.
These range from combustible gases like methane, propane, butane, hydrogen; and hydrogen sulfide; oxygen depleting gases like nitrogen and toxic gases like sulfur dioxide, chlorine and carbon monoxide.
The solution then, is installing the right monitoring equipment that can detect these combustible and toxic gases before they become a threat to those in the facility and the environment.
But, as we’ve seen in other industrial sectors, there may be a way to increase how efficiently and how effectively those devices can accomplish these tasks.
By cloud-enabling these monitors, interlinking the gas and flame detectors in a wastewater facility not only to each other but to a cloud platform, municipalities could be able to more easily – and more economically – monitor these critical factors at their wastewater treatment facilities.
“These facilities have to be manned 24/7 to make sure that the intensive organic and inorganic processes are removing dangerous gases safely,” Corey Miller, an Application Manager at Sierra Monitor told us. “Cloud-based systems would allow for remote monitoring” so that those gauges that traditionally have to be checked by someone on site around the clock could be aggregated and monitored from a single pane of glass anywhere that can get access to the facility’s cloud platform. As a result, municipalities not may need to pay for all of the man hours that a 24-hour a day, 7 day-a-week vigilance requires, while not making any compromises in the safe monitoring of the facility.
In fact, according to Corey Miller, linking on-site gas and flame detectors to a cloud platform could increase facility safety by minimizing downtime for maintenance. Traditionally, when a piece of industrial equipment breaks down, facility personnel will have no way of knowing it’ll break down until it actually does. When it does, they will have to have someone from the OEM that built the device come out to the facility, assess what is wrong with the device and come back with the right technicians and parts to restore the device to full operation.
This process may drag out into a few weeks, all during which that device is not monitoring the facility for the emission of dangerous gases that could do harm to the facility, its personnel, or the environment. “Preemptive maintenance analytics from the cloud could change that,” Miller commented. By constantly monitoring the devices on its platform, analytic software could help facility managers determine when detectors are not performing optimally, flag it for technicians earlier in the process and perhaps give them a more detailed idea of what is wrong with the device so that they can come prepared with the right expertise and equipment to get the job done with relatively little to no downtime.
This is all to say that using smarter detection technology can not only help us protect our water supply, but the modern lifestyle that that makes possible.
To learn more about Sierra Monitor’s wastewater treatment solutions, click here.