Is our drinking water safe? When opening the tap for drinking water in our homes, we as consumers always expect perfect drinking water quality almost for free, don’t we? Still there are numerous of cases (in Sweden every week around the year) where water utilities communicate the recommendations to boil the water before drinking, in worst cases too late resulting in outbreaks with thousands of people getting sick annually from drinking the contaminated water from the tap.
Water utilities produce water according to very strict rules and regulations so the drinking water is one of the most controlled foodstuff. However water utilities have problems and challenges to monitor and control drinking water quality throughout the distribution networks, when the drinking water is transported from the water utility to the buildings. In Sweden these long distribution networks (70700 km) are often very old and buried into the ground together with sewage piping’s. One of the main cause of failure and contamination is that sewage water has entered the drinking water distribution network, often either due to the leakage in the distribution lines or by human errors making fault connections between sewage and drinking water piping. Local hospitals are in close contact with the water utilities and alarms if they suspect outbreaks due to contaminated drinking water, when having many patients from the same living area with same syndromes. To isolate and locate the reason for the outbreak takes usually hours or even days, with the risk of exposing even more consumers.
The main method used today to monitor drinking water quality in the distribution lines is to measure samples at the tap that is sent to lab for analysis, which is very time consuming and requires manual labor work. Today most water utilities are using pressure, flow and temperature sensors in the distribution network to mainly monitor and identify leakages that could be a risk when conserving the drinking water quality. Some water utilities even use very expensive multi-probe sensors to measure pH, conductivity, turbidity, chlorine content etc to make a statement of the drinking water quality in easy to access places. Some also use optical sensing and other techniques to measure the level of microbes. These techniques are often very expensive and cannot be placed in places where they bring most value and requires high level of manual maintenance and availability to infrastructure.
The start-up company sense2bits have developed an innovative, robust, reliable, safe and very cost effective sensor system solution based on technology developed at Linköping University in Sweden. This sensor system is an early warning monitoring system that on-line and in real time creates unique drinking water quality data and information for water utilities, that can be installed as a network of sensors placed in optimal places in the whole water distribution network, much closer to the consumer than other existing solutions. The sensor solution have demonstrated at water utilities the ability to detect low levels of sewage water entering the drinking water in pressurized water utility networks, levels as low as compared with sewage water entering a leaking drinking water pipeline during piping maintenance work (0,05% sewage water in drinking water, corresponding in order of tens to hundreds of CFU/100mL E.coli). With a network of sensors out in the distribution lines the water utilities can continuously visualize the drinking water quality in multiple places in real time to early alarm risks of contaminated drinking water and secure a fast reaction (seconds/minutes) to assure that the consumers don’t get exposed to sewage water in their drinking water. This unique drinking water quality data and information can easily be shared with other stakeholders in the drinking water value chain creating even more value.
The targeted market segments for the solution is water utilities and distribution networks, building owners with special needs of monitoring drinking water quality (such as hospitals, elderly homes etc), food industries and private dwell owners.
We are seeking partners to join our vision to safeguard the drinking water value chain by digitalization of the drinking water.
Don’t hesitate to contact us for more information at +46 70 389 2918 or firstname.lastname@example.org.