Articles & Case Studies

Wireless technology gives real time water monitoring

Posted: Monday 26th March 2007

A new name in water monitoring – Intellitect Water - makes its debut at this year’s IWEX exhibition. The company is launching Intellisonde ™ and Intellical™ which use advance sensor and wireless technology, rather than chemical reagents, to provide multi-parameter water quality monitoring.

The major benefits of the Intellisonde, which fits directly into the water distribution network, is that it can monitor up to 12 parameters, every five minutes. When something outside the preset range is registered, it uses wireless technology to send an alarm to a predetermined location or SCADA System for the necessary action to be taken. Intellical is an easy to use handheld version which can be used around treatment works, pumping stations and for mobile spot checks.

It has taken two years to develop the units which monitor chlorine, mono-chloramine, ORP, dissolved oxygen, conductivity, pH, pressure, turbidity, colour, temperature and flow.

Behind Intellitect Water is a team with solid experience in the utilities sector, which has attracted a multi-million investment from Credit Suisse and the Pemberstone Group.

Intellitect’s chairman is Roy Pointer who has more than 40 years’ experience in water and wastewater engineering and operations. He is most widely known as a former chief executive and deputy chairman of Anglian Water, as well as a past chairman of Water UK.

The product development team is headed by technical director David Vincent. Having previously been with Siemens, David’s skill in designing instrumentation and software have played an important role in the development of Intellisonde and Intellical’s multi-sensor monitoring techniques.

David is supported by operations director John Howell, who has worked extensively in the utilities sector and was chief executive of Advanced Technology, a wireless communication provider to the security and water sector.

John Howell says: “Being able to monitor water quality in real time is a breakthrough. There has been a reliance on the taking of periodic regulated and non-regulated samples for too long. These then have to be taken to a lab and analysed which takes time. Carried out around 4 million times a year it is estimated to cost the sector around £200 million. It is costly and labour intensive and, depending on the frequency of tests, when problems are identified they could have been occurring for some time.

“With Intellisonde as soon as anything is registered outside of the preset parameters, in-built wireless technology information sends an alert to pro-actively reduce the number of incidents which could ultimately become reportable to OFWAT and DWI. Contaminations such as E.coli and cryptosporidium spread quickly and Intellisonde can provide early warning of problems for immediate remedial action to be taken.

The sensor head, developed using micro and nano-technology, is at the heart of Intellisonde. It provides up to 12 membrane-free sensors and a stirrer within the head that works during minimal flow periods and reduces the risk to the sensors fouling, the development of bio film or metal coatings - all of which can affect traditional monitor readings. The stirrer also has a novel feature of power scavenging by using the flow to turn the stirrer into a generator powering the internal power supply to lengthen battery life.

The unit is an easy to fit ‘plug and play unit’ and takes just 10 minutes to install directly into water distribution pipes, even with calibration and testing. It is capable of measuring and logging values at intervals anywhere between 1 minute to an hour and can log up to 25,000 sets of data readings.

Intellical provides many of Intellisonde’s features in a hand held device. It has the same 12 parameters featured in the Intellisonde but is a portable device or can be wall mounted.

With an auto-chlorine calibration feature, Intellical will help non-specialist operators in making reliable and accurate recordings. The unit eliminates the need for manual readings as it provides an integrated logging and communications via a range of wireless methods including GPRS, GPS and a local area radio network.

John Howell adds: “Intellical gives a pro-active approach to monitoring water quality around treatment works, pumping stations and spot checks throughout the network. Its advantage is that there is no need for chemicals and reduces the cost of ownership”

Full details and demonstration of Intellisonde and Intellical can be found on the Intellitect stand R80 at IWEX or visit the website

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