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Water quality is a critical factor for human well-being, environmental sustainability, agricultural prosperity, and the overall appeal of water bodies. Because our drinking water is ultimately sourced from the environment, it is necessary to eliminate impurities and ensure that the water conforms to the Australian Drinking Water Guidelines.

In Australia, addressing diverse challenges such as drought, salinity, bushfires, floods, aging infrastructure, agricultural runoff, mining activities, and urbanization is imperative for effective water quality management. Local water authorities often face specific issues like acid sulphate soils, blackwater events, bushfire runoff, cyanobacteria, salinity, and polluted urban runoff.

All potable water needs to comply with the Australian Drinking Water Guidelines and in order to do so, these impurities must be eliminated.

Filtration, filtration, filtration

Three common processes used in removing impurities are reverse osmosis (RO), ultrafiltration and nanofiltration. Reverse osmosis proves effective in removing a wide range of impurities, including minerals, bacteria, viruses, and organic molecules.

Ultrafiltration targets larger particles such as suspended solids, colloids, bacteria, and some viruses, while nanofiltration excels in removing smaller particles, divalent ions (e.g., calcium and magnesium) and certain organic molecules. In all cases, pre-filtered water is passed through membranes, with the resulting permeate collected for use as clean water.

In all three cases, pre-filtered water is pumped through a number of pressure pipes containing the membranes. The water that successfully passes through the membranes, known as permeate, is collected for use as clean water.

Monitoring the filtration system

Sustaining the functionality of filtration systems is crucial, necessitating constant monitoring of permeate quality to detect potential membrane damage early on. Conventional methods involve manual sampling, which is time-consuming and prone to documentation errors.

Bürkert addresses this with the Permeate Monitoring System, which automatically monitors the permeate of each pressure pipe in reverse osmosis or nanofiltration plants. This system allows for the early detection and localisation of membrane damage, preventing downtime.

Delivered as a standalone package tailored to individual plants, the system includes an HMI, controller (PLC), and digital interfaces for seamless integration into plant control systems. While maintaining the health of filtration systems is integral, comprehensive water quality management involves continuous monitoring of water quality throughout the network. Bürkert’s Water Quality Management System (WQMS) meets this need by providing a comprehensive monitoring solution for multiple parameters.

Analysis is performed by MEMS (micro-electro-mechanical system) microchip technology in the form of modular cubes. Depending on the measurement parameters, different sensor elements are used. Only low sample water flows are necessary and the smallest of changes in the sample water can be detected quickly. MEMS technology is proven to reduce costs and maintenance expenses. The acquired process data can be retrieved at any time and is available for controlling, monitoring and documenting remotely.

Typically, pH, chlorine, turbidity and temperature, can be measured with one system, but depending on requirements, other measuring modules can be inserted into the system – for example, conductivity, redox potential (ORP) or iron measurements can be added via plug-and-play. Nitrate and SAC measurements are also possible. All measured values are clearly displayed on a touchscreen on-site, and the entire process can also be monitored remotely via a fieldbus connection.

Australian water bodies must adhere to stringent water quality standards for both processing and drinking water. Partnering with a trusted water quality monitoring provider, like Bürkert, not only ensures compliance but also grants peace of mind. Bürkert’s ongoing collaboration with various municipal and private water bodies is a testament to their commitment to consistently meet and exceed these rigorous standards.

This sponsored editorial is brought to you by Burkert Fluid Control Systems. For further information, please visit www.burkert.com.au/en

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