Facility and building managers often change workplaces and do not have the time or resources to understand the intricacies of the water distribution systems in the places they are managing. Building plans often do not exist or are not up to date, renovations and modifications are done but are not properly documented. This leads to unknown pipework, deadlegs and areas of low-flow or no-flow which encourage biofilm and bacterial buildup. This in turn can lead to the risk of infection from Legionella and other waterborne pathogens. This public health risk also comes with a range of legal implications for organisations and individuals.
From a financial perspective, getting to know your water distribution system can help save a lot of money. In many institutions water leaks, water and energy-hungry appliances, unnecessary wash cycles, plumbing issues and overly high water temperatures go unnoticed, leading to hefty utilities bills which could otherwise be avoided.
If you are a facilities manager, ask yourself the following questions:
- How much do I know about the water delivery system?
- How old is the pipework?
- What is the pipework made of?
- Has it been modified?
- Are my backflow prevention devices working as required?
- Are my TMVs leaking cold water into the hot/warm water loop?
- How do I know?
- Do residents/patients complain about showers not getting warm, are there low flow areas in the system and where/why?
- Are the hot water loops suffering from temperature excursions below 55 deg C thus providing a breeding ground for bacteria, increasing the risk of Legionella?
To remedy this and to help get visibility and transparency into the situation many sites are facing, Bion Systems Pty Ltd offers a forensic analysis service.
This comprises several subservices, which can also be offered individually on a per need basis.
Forensics provides detailed understanding of the health and effectiveness of the water distribution system.
Our Forensic analysis services include:
- High resolution flow rate determination (logging)
- Logging and monitoring of water conductivity and temperature
- Analysis of dependency between flow and temperature and other water chemistry
- Directional travel determination using advanced, non-invasive ultrasonic equipment
- Pipe tracing using visual and thermal tracking
- Identification of distal points and low-flow areas
- Water chemistry testing at multiple points (pH, conductivity, hardness, alkalinity, chlorine residual)
- Microbiology testing including HCC, Legionella, Pseudomonas and other pathogens
One-off monitoring or continuous service
On the one hand, forensics is a one-off analytical service creating a summary report. On the other hand, the services included in the forensic analysis can be applied as a continuous validation and verification service.
Irrespective of this service being one-off or continuous, this approach helps with identifying high risk locations where micro-sampling should be done with higher priority. The forensic analysis report can be included as an essential component of your Risk Management process.
Ongoing services that can be offered stand alone are:
- Water chemistry and microbiology testing
High-resolution monitoring and logging
The ongoing logging and monitoring of water flows and temperatures in various places of the system is essential to find areas of stagnancy and temperature excursions into the “danger zone”. It also helps to build better system understanding and opportunities to save water and therefore money.
The “Big Data” approach
With the advent of more and more devices communicating through the Internet, the so called “Internet of Things” (IoT) is a term describing the ability of even the smallest devices being able to go online and send data in real time to any authorised person – anywhere.
Imagine looking at a blurry, low resolution screen, details are hard to see, whereas looking at a high definition screen reveals details not noticed before.
It is similar when we look at water flow data from a water pipe that is collected only once every 5 minutes. A lot of intermittent water flow will be missed using this very crude resolution.
If you were to measure the flowrate every 5 minutes, you may think your flow profile looks like this:
Where in reality, the flow profile looks like the red line:
Without high resolution logging down to the second and advanced data analysis methodology, essential information will be easily missed.
Bion Systems has developed its own sophisticated logging equipment that use complex algorithms to acquire the high resolution data and then compress the information into a manageable size, whilst highlighting important aspects of the data set.
Real time, continuous, high-resolution logging is important to establish accurate flow profiles rather than “average values”, it can also help to identify water leaks and faulty appliances (water usage spikes at night that may otherwise go unnoticed if only averages are considered).
Visualise data and aggregate key performance indicators at the desired resolution. Drill down into data, accurate down to the second.
Display data as table in high resolution and download data from the application as a text or CSV file for processing in other office applications.
Optional upload of data to secure cloud server – available anywhere, at any time to authorised personnel.
We are a very flexible and innovative team. Please contact us with your requirements so we can tailor a solution for your needs.