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Contact a Customer Care Representative

We’ll get back to you within 24 hours or the following business day.

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Customer Care representatives are available by phone Monday–Friday, from 9am–5pm CST.

For sales & general inquiries
Municipal Water solutions: (800) 616–3837
Commercial & Industrial solutions: (877) 243–1010
Wyco Concrete solutions: (800) 233-9926
Telog: 888‑835‑6437 (Press #1)

For product support
Municipal Water solutions: (800) 616–3837
Commercial & Industrial solutions: (877) 243–1010
Wyco Concrete solutions: (877) 243–1010
Telog: 888‑835‑6437 (Press #2)

We're here to help
Contact a Customer Care Representative

We’ll get back to you within 24 hours or the following business day.

Prefer to call?
Customer Care representatives are available by phone Monday–Friday, from 9am–5pm CST.

For sales & general inquiries
Municipal Water solutions: (800) 616–3837
Commercial & Industrial solutions: (877) 243–1010
Wyco Concrete solutions: (800) 233-9926
Telog: 888‑835‑6437 (Press #1)

For product support
Municipal Water solutions: (800) 616–3837
Commercial & Industrial solutions: (877) 243–1010
Wyco Concrete solutions: (877) 243–1010
Telog: 888‑835‑6437 (Press #2)

August 16, 2023

Remote Water Quality Monitoring: Where We Are and How We Got Here

Traditional methods of water quality monitoring are slow and labor-intensive, requiring an operator to drive to sampling points, pull grab samples and test them in a lab. With smart-sensor technology that can monitor multiple parameters at once, utilities can quickly detect and react to changes in the distribution system.
Monitoring the quality of water in the distribution system is a critical aspect of delivering clean, safe drinking water. Many utilities test key parameters regularly to comply with local regulations and ensure sufficient levels of disinfectant throughout their systems.

However, traditional methods of water quality monitoring are slow and labor-intensive, requiring an operator to drive to sampling points, pull grab samples and test them in a lab. Problems with turbidity or odor can be noticeable right away, but lab tests for chlorine levels and other quality issues may not be detected until lab results come in—which can take hours, if not days. That can make it difficult to know how to respond, as conditions may have changed in the meantime.

For years, remote distribution monitoring has been available as a solution to these and many other challenges—but adoption has been slow. This is beginning to change, however, as street-level telemetry systems make remote water quality monitoring in the distribution system easier.

Compact, low-powered devices, like our MetriNet bollard, take water quality monitoring efforts out of the lab and provide information to utilities in near real-time. With smart-sensor technology that can monitor multiple parameters at once, utilities can quickly detect and react to changes in the distribution system that could indicate a contamination event.

Evolution of Remote Water Quality Monitoring

In the past, remote water quality monitoring has been difficult for water utilities to implement. Devices needed to be hardwired into a power source, which limited where they could be set up. In addition, colorimetric analyzers required access to a wastewater pipe to dump spent reagents. If a utility didn’t have an advanced metering infrastructure (AMI) network, then any form of remote monitoring would be difficult, if not impossible.

More advanced systems do away with these limitations. Powered by batteries, today’s remote water quality monitors eliminate the need to be tied to a power source. This, along with the use of optical, electrochemical and amperometric sensors in place of colorimetric measurement, means these systems can be placed almost anywhere in the distribution system.

The use of multiple sensor technologies also gives the system the potential to track a wide range of water quality parameters, including free, combined and total chlorine, as well as temperature, pressure, pH, turbidity and nitrites.

With the advancement of cellular technology, it’s now possible for any utility to begin receiving data—even without an AMI network in place. For example, Badger Meter works with national carriers to use existing cellular infrastructure to transmit and receive sensor and device data. This makes it easy to start a remote monitoring program, even if your utility has no other cellular-enabled devices in use.

Unlike manually pulling grab samples and sending them to a lab for testing, remote water quality monitoring allows for near real-time visibility into water quality and chemistry—which provides actionable data when operators need it, rather than having to wait hours or days for lab results.

Benefits of Remote Water Quality Monitoring:

  • Improve Data Security and Accessibility

    Remote water quality monitoring systems deliver data over secure, dedicated cellular networks and can be fed directly into an existing SCADA system. Updates can be sent as frequently as every hour, although you also can choose to receive alerts only when conditions change beyond a preset parameter. If you wish to do more with the data, it can be accessed through cloud-based portals and imported into a wide range of analytics or other software, as needed.

    If your utility has concerns about cybersecurity, cloud-based solutions are more secure than locally accessed software. Providers of cloud-based solutions are highly motivated to ensure they are using the best available security protocols because a breach could potentially impact some or all customers. Thus, they allocate significant time, money, and resources to ensure robust security protocols—more than a single utility of any size could do alone.
  • Build Customer Trust

    Water utilities excel at providing clean, potable water to their customers and, fortunately, major events are rare. Routine water quality testing is done to confirm that all systems are working as intended, but when an anomaly occurs, traditional lab testing can cause a delayed response, leading to customer dissatisfaction. With remote water quality monitoring, however, your utility can provide near real-time quality reporting on consumer-facing portals—which helps to build and maintain trust with your customers.
  • Combat Labor Shortages

    As an added and important side benefit, the use of modern technology to monitor water quality in real-time appeals to today's workforce. As utilities work to backfill open positions left by retiring staff, new entrants into the water industry are not only comfortable with automation but expect to use it to streamline manual tasks.

Final Thoughts

As challenges in water treatment and distribution evolve and change, utility managers are under tremendous pressure to meet the high expectations of not only their regulating bodies but also their staff and customers. Remote water quality monitoring offers the opportunity to adapt to these needs by delivering network insights that support efficient operations, enable timely responses and inspire consumer confidence.

Learn More

We're here to help
Contact a Customer Care Representative

We’ll get back to you within 24 hours or the following business day.

Prefer to call?
Customer Care representatives are available by phone Monday–Friday, from 9am–5pm CST.

For sales & general inquiries
Municipal Water solutions: (800) 616–3837
Commercial & Industrial solutions: (877) 243–1010
Wyco Concrete solutions: (800) 233-9926
Telog: 888‑835‑6437 (Press #1)

For product support
Municipal Water solutions: (800) 616–3837
Commercial & Industrial solutions: (877) 243–1010
Wyco Concrete solutions: (877) 243–1010
Telog: 888‑835‑6437 (Press #2)