The new resource has been developed to support the 500+ ESNET monitoring systems that are currently in operation on rivers and at treatment works across the UK.
“The creation of a dedicated service and calibration resource will enable us to expand the ‘Water Quality as a Service’ capability that has been a major driver for growth in our business,” comments Meteor MD, Matt Dibbs.
In recent years, Meteor Communications has worked with government agencies and water companies to develop the ESNET (Environmental Sensor NETwork) autonomous water quality monitoring systems that can be rapidly deployed and require no power or communication infrastructure. Modular and with built-in communications and multiparameter capability, ESNET systems deliver robust, high resolution real-time water quality data within minutes of deployment.
The systems are available as a complete portable monitoring station or as part of a kiosk pumped system for semi-permanent or fixed installations. ESNET systems can be purchased outright, but Meteor made a strategic decision to also offer the market a different solution. Matt Dibbs explains: “For many of our customers, the requirement for water quality monitoring is temporary or intermittent – to conduct an environmental impact assessment; to characterise or optimise a wastewater treatment works, or as part of an investigation or research project. So it made less sense for them to purchase the equipment and invest in the associated resources that are necessary to operate a monitoring network.
“Meanwhile, we had established a high level of experience and expertise in the operation of continuous water quality monitoring systems. So, conscious of our customer’s main requirement – to obtain good quality, reliable data – we established ‘Water Quality as a Service’ or WQaaS, and it has proved extremely popular.”
Under a WQaaS agreement, Meteor Communications installs ESNET stations at the sites of interest, measuring the parameters required, with data access via the MeteorCloud secure web portal. The service covers all aspects of data collection including scheduled site visits, calibrations at Meteor laboratories and data display / dissemination. With fixed monthly costs, the customer has no capital expenditure and no requirement to conduct site visits for calibration or maintenance.
Each ESNET station employs a multiparameter sonde to measure water quality, and the accuracy of readings is assured by a monthly site visit, during which a member of the Meteor team checks the station and swaps the sonde. Typically, sondes are loaded with sensors for measuring parameters such as dissolved oxygen, temperature, pH, conductivity, turbidity, ammonium, Blue Green Algae and chlorophyll. Following each 4 week deployment, sondes are returned to the Meteor WQS Hub for service and calibration.
Dibbs concludes: “Our head office in Welwyn Garden City is relatively new, but our remote camera business is also booming, so we needed more space to accommodate our growth, with the added benefit of consolidating our resources and expertise in water quality at the new facility in Basingstoke.”