A Water Quality Monitoring System, Capable of Early Notification and Easy to Install

Abnormalities in Factory Wastewater: Ignoring Them Is Not an Option

Factory Wastewater

A massive amount of water used in factories and in the industrial sector is drained out into rivers, normally after being sufficiently treated in the facility itself. What is needed is efforts to run water treatment processes without incident, to meet the government-designated wastewater standards, and to minimize the impact of companies on people and the environment. But installing water quality analysis equipment can be a costly investment, and setting it up all around the facility in spots where water quality monitoring is needed is by no means an easy task. Optex’s turbidity meter is a sensor that provides a solution to factories’ water quality management needs, and so, since its introduction, has been utilized in a large number of facilities.

Locating Anomalies in Factory Drainage Water Just That Little Bit Faster

As you are probably aware, companies’ environmental activities are not just something people in the local community are concerned about, but have a strong impact on investors’ investment decisions, as they are closely tied to ESG and the SDGs. Most companies pump sufficient investment into this area, and perform wastewater treatment in careful compliance with the law, strictly managing the water quality. But, on the other hand, there are cases of water containing things like oil and chemical products being dumped into the public water supply. Such cases are called “water quality incidents,” and in 2017 (between January and December) there were 865 such incidents in Japan’s Class A rivers, or roughly 17 per week.*

* According to the “2017 National Class A River Water Quality Report” published July 6, 2018 on the Ministry of Land, Infrastructure, Transport and Tourism website.

In the unfortunate event that some water is drained out into a river without being subject to sufficient water treatment, what is absolutely critical is being able to notice and respond to the problem as fast as possible. For this reason, establishing as many water quality inspection points as possible, so as to be able to notice any changes in the water quality in real time, is extremely important. However, introducing expensive water quality analysis equipment at any point is costly from a monetary point of view, and devices that take time to both operate and obtain analysis results do not provide early detection of water quality abnormalities, making them less than practical. Another method is to rely on putting more eyes on the matter by increasing the number of engineers going around and performing manual inspections, but this is not a realistic option in countries like Japan that have shrinking labor forces and a need for increased efficiency.

Factory Wastewater

Shoring Up the Monitoring Points With High Cost-Performance Turbidity Meters

Optex’s turbidity meter uses the infrared-based sensing technology for which Optex is famous, for continuous, 24-hour monitoring and instantaneous notification of abnormalities in the water quality. In order to meet the wastewater measurement needs of factories in the private sector, we designed and developed this product that, when compared with traditional water quality measurement devices, greatly cuts down on the machine cost.

The palm-sized, compact design allows for easy installation anywhere, without fretting over the installation location. These features have facilitated the introduction of water quality monitoring systems, using turbidity meters, to greatly increase the number of water quality monitoring points in factories.

As a water quality meter, it is noted for its robustness and its ease of maintenance. For example, the turbidity checker has an automatic wiper function that cleans the measurement surface in a fixed time, and has been highly praised for its extremely easy maintenance.

Remove dirt from the surface with the wiper function
Remove dirt from the surface with the wiper function
 Application of the turbidity meter
Application of the turbidity meter

1. Monitoring acquisition of water for factory use
By monitoring the turbidity of the water when it arrives, we can prevent trouble in the event that there is a sudden shift in turbidity down the line.
2. Turbidity monitoring at each stage in the manufacturing process
This facilitates easy pinpointing of where the problem started in the event that an abnormality occurs in wastewater treatment.
By monitoring the primary treatment facility, we can achieve more stable operation of the final treatment facility.
3. Turbidity monitoring at the cooling tower
It is possible to control the operation of the water filtration equipment and adjust the blow water volume according to the turbidity monitoring concentration after applying a cleaning agent.
4. Rainwater pit
This allows valve control to deliver only high-concentration initial rainwater to the treatment facility and run water into the river at the point treatment is no longer needed.
5. Monitoring drainage outside the manufacturing process
We can achieve total management of a factory’s wastewater by monitoring not only the water used in the manufacturing process but also that used in the purification tank, etc.
6. Coagulant control
By firmly establishing the correct concentration of wastewater, we can insert the appropriate amount of cleaning agent, allowing us to achieve a stable water quality.
7. Sludge interface check
By attaching a sensor to the settling tank, the sludge interface can be monitored.
Setting sensors up in two or three different stages creates a more accurate picture of the interface.
8. Monitoring of sludge overflow
We can perform functions like monitoring overflow of sludge, halting the drainage of water, and returning it to the raw treatment water.
9. Monitoring of water outflow
This allows for final monitoring of the treated water as flows out into the river.
10. Remote monitoring of turbidity in rivers
By combining our sensors with NiGK Corporation’s solar-panel-mounted “aqua e monitor,” we can remotely observe even places such as rivers, where an electric power supply can’t be secured.
(Measurement data is sent by e-mail.)

Using IoT to Achieve Total Remote Monitoring of Water Quality

In addition to the turbidity meter, Optex offers a wide range of water quality measurement equipment necessary for water quality management, such as suspended solids (SS), dissolved oxygen (DO), pH, and so on. We can also handle water quality monitoring systems.

The water quality data measured and collected by the water quality meter lineup can meet various measurement needs, and can be utilized not only in the factory, but also in a system set up for remote monitoring. Running a system that uses IoT wireless communication allows for simplification and lower cost. By simply connecting the turbidity meter to an IoT wireless unit, data can be automatically transmitted to a cloud server, allowing for unified monitoring of the wastewater from multiple facilities. Remote water quality monitoring, which in the past was just a pipe dream, will now open up a whole new world of possibilities in a variety of fields.

Factory monitoring system image
Product image for illustration purposes only. Actual product may vary.

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Frequently Asked Questions

What is “turbidity”? How is it different from SS?

Turbidity is one of the indexes that show the level of “murkiness” in water and sewage treatment plants, rivers, industrial wastewater, and so on.
The representative standards (indicators) are as follows:
The Polystyrene Turbidity Standard: A turbidity standard that is often used for water supply measurement and the like. The unit of measurement is degree, not mg/L.
The Kaolin Turbidity Standard: The turbidity when 1 mg of kaolin is contained in 1 liter of purified water is expressed as “kaolin turbidity 1.” The unit is mg/L.
Formazin Turbidity Standard: The formazin solution specified in the JIS, with the unit being the degree of formazin.
Therefore, the measurement results will differ depending on the type of standard (indicator) and the measurement method.
SS, on the other hand, is an abbreviation of “suspended solids,” and is one of the indexes used in factory wastewater, etc. The total volume of suspended solids, which have not been dissolved and cause murkiness in the water, is called the SS volume.

Is there a correlation between turbidity and SS?

The standards (indicators) for turbidity and SS are different. It is quite common to see shared trends in measurement results, such as an increase in the turbidity value causing the SS value to also increase, and the two can be said to be relatively similar.

Can models other than the water quality measurement sensors be used for other purposes, like managing pharmaceutical remnants?

We have prepared an IoT wireless unit for analog devices with a 4–20 mA output signal, so unified management and monitoring of both water quality and pharmaceutical remnants is possible.

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