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  • Writer's pictureElena Ranyuk, PhD MBA

Why choose real-time ESC discharge monitoring?

Updated: Aug 12, 2021

The challenge

There is no argument that the construction sector has a profound impact on water quality. Large excavation effluent and concrete washouts not meeting water quality regulations is an issue that is gaining more and more attention from the public and the industry.

Construction site, stormwater
Construction site

To protect receiving environment from construction pollutants and undesirable pH changes, sediment runoff and concrete washouts need to be contained and treated on site prior to release into the environment.

Sediment Control System, Construction Water Treatment Plant
Water treatment plant (ESC system)

Erosion and Sediment Controls are meant to protect the environment and the drainage infrastructure, however current BMPs aren't robust or efficient enough to reliably control the risk of environmental damage.

Water quality of an ESC discharge can rapidly decline due to an operational failure of the water treatment plant, a sudden change in source water composition or inefficient design of the water treatment plant. On the example below, pH of the discharge changed from neutral 7 to > 11.5 in just one hour.

Real-time water monitoring and control
A construction project example - rapid pH changes are very common

Turbid construction discharge
ESC system discharge

Operational failures such as mechanical failures, power failures, depletion of treatment chemicals and improperly sized or inadequately designed water treatment systems are very common, posing uncontrolled risk to the receiving environment and our infrastructure.

Large quantities of high pH (>10-11) or sediment-laden water can be released in the drainage network or a watercourse unnoticed, as the existing BMPs relying on grab samples and self-monitoring fail to adequately protect the environment.

It's become very clear that the current monitoring strategies do not provide the accurate, reliable and timely data needed to protect the drainage infrastructure and receiving environment.

Target symbol

How can we get the reliable and timely data to not only accurately identify the issues, but even more importantly solve the performance issues?

The solution - reliable, real-time water quality monitoring and control technology

The solution that will ensure that water entering aquatic ecosystems from development sites does not harm aquatic life or damages our infrastructure is an intelligent, real-time ESC discharge monitoring and control solution, provided by a third-party, independent from the water treatment supplier and environmental monitor.

Why independent performance verification matters?

In order to safeguard against compromised, or manipulated results, performance of the water treatment plant has to be monitored by a neutral, arms-length provider of the discharge monitoring and control technology, in an independent, transparent manner.

Only then could environmental protection truly be achieved and substantial benefits be reaped by the project owners.

Our experience on multiple construction projects where Flowlink real-time solutions were deployed to independently verify performance of ESC systems has confirmed that many existing water quality monitoring systems provided by the water treatment system vendors aren’t accurate or reliable, allowing large volumes of non-compliant water be released into the environment.

With Flowlink, only safe, compliant water is discharged

Our remote monitoring solution offers real-time data acquisition and analysis at the rates unprecedented in the water monitoring industry. Near-instant data collection, transmission and processing rate is critical for minimizing the adverse effects of developments on water quality of the receiving environment and drainage infrastructure. Our automated emergency shutoff acts as the ultimate fail-safe preventing release of non-compliant water into the environment by diverting non-compliant water back to the site for re-treatment. Our reliable, transparent Quality Assurance Program delivered by trained and experience personnel is there to ensure that the data our systems produce are accurate and precise.

Flowlink dashboard - a project example

On this example above, non-compliant, high pH (> 10) discharge was prevented in real-time from being released from site into the storm drain and redirected via recirculation/"bypass" line back to the site for re-treatment. Vertical blue band indicates activation of Flowlink discharge shutoff ( = "Valve Closed").

Interested in learning more about Flowlink?

Please get in touch!

Useful links.

Here you can find a convenient, up-to-date summary of guidelines for pH, turbidity and TSS across various municipalities in Lower Mainland and Fraser Valley. Web-links to the municipal bylaws are also provided.

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