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©2019 by Flowlink Environmental Inc.  

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Can real-time technology redefine the future of construction effluent monitoring?


Water quality changes over time, it’s a fact.

Naturally, water quality changes over time. Change in quality of a construction site discharge, in particular, is caused by either variations in the quality of the source water that are too great to be addressed by the implemented treatment process or by an operational failure of the water treatment plant. Operational failure of a mechanical water treatment system is typically a result of mechanical failure, power failure or depletion of one of the treatment chemicals (CO2, coagulant, flocculant, other).

It goes without saying that, to adequately characterize variations in quality, repeat measurements are necessary.

Status quo of construction site discharge monitoring in Canada.

Currently, even the most stringent regulations in Canada, both municipal and provincial, require weekly or at most bi-weekly testing of construction site discharges typically supplemented by additional requirement to verify discharge quality during or after significant rain events.

Consider construction site discharging 24/7 at 500 US gpm (31.5 L/s) as an example.


Fig. 1. A construction site discharging effluent from their on-site treatment system at 500 US gpm.

Strict adherence to the weekly monitoring frequency would mean that this site would have discharged over 5 million US gallons (or 19 million liters) of water between two sampling events. If in that period of time there happened to be an issue with the treatment process or a drastic change in the influent water quality, this site could have discharged huge volumes of water that was potentially toxic to aquatic organisms.

Of course, pumping is unlikely to continue 24/7 for the entire duration of construction and more typical discharge flow rates usually range somewhere between 60 and 300 gpm, but you get the idea.

Can we do better?

Here, at Flowlink Environmental, we believe we CAN, and this is what we strive to accomplish with our real-time monitoring and control solutions.

A real-time water quality monitor, also sometimes called a continuous water quality monitor or an automated in-line water quality analyzer, is a device that automatically measures water quality with the sufficiently small time interval between the repeated measurements. Real-time monitors can be equipped with different online sensors to measure various chemical and physical properties of water, such as pH, turbidity, temperature, dissolved oxygen concentration, conductivity, etc. Rapidly improving online sensor technology has the ability to drastically broaden the horizons for real-time water quality monitoring and create useful and exciting new applications of this technology.

Operation of a real-time monitoring system in combination with telemetry and data processing software can provide a nearly continuous record of water quality. Flowlink intelligent software not only records and logs water quality data: it instantaneously reacts to the changes in water quality and power or network loss. At the same time users get access to the useful insights about performance of the water treatment systems in real-time.

Interested in working with Flowlink?

If you are interested in trying out one of our systems on your project, please get in touch! We would love to demonstrate to you the value of our technology in real life and prove that we can really do it better!

Useful links.

Here are the links to selected municipal regulations applicable to construction sites in the Lower Mainland.

City of Burnaby Bylaw

City of Burnaby Sediment Control Notes

City of Vancouver Erosion and Sediment Control Bulletin (Large Lot)

City of Vancouver Erosion and Sediment Control Bulletin (Small Lot)

City of Coquitlam Bylaw

City of Coquitlam Erosion & Sediment Control Requirements

City of North Vancouver Bylaw

City of Surrey Bylaw

City of Surrey Guide to Erosion & Sediment Control (ESC) on large construction sites

Township of Langley Bylaw

City of Langley Bylaw

City of Port Coquitlam Bylaw

City of Port Coquitlam Watercourse Development Permits

City of Maple Ridge Bylaw

City of Port Moody Bylaw

Here are the links to the B.C. Ministry of Environment Water Quality Standards to which municipalities must conform.

Approved BCWQGs

Working BCWQGs

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