Scandals related to water pollution are not new. We daily encounter some news that portrays the severities through which freshwater bodies go through. Such news mainly revolves around the deaths caused due to consumption of contaminated water and the deterioration of aquatic life, including crustaceans.
Chemicals and contaminants discharged into the water through industries, along with inadequate sewage collection & treatment are the leading causes that are polluting the rivers. As per NRDC, more than 80 % of the overall wastewater is dumped directly into water bodies without any treatment. This unregulated dumping not only results in deterioration of aquatic life but also results in the contamination of freshwater bodies, including rivers and lakes that could have been used for other potable purposes.
Even though with strong efforts of pollution control boards, the issue of water pollution doesn’t seem to halt. Harmful chemical waste discharged from industries eclipses the efforts that are being made by concerned authorities to control water pollution. Furthermore, untreated water disposal manifests severe diseases among the public like diarrhea which results in the death of more than 485,000 people every year.
IoT for Monitoring Wastewater:
Strict regulation is imposed on industries and sewage treatment plants to keep the discharge levels under the preset limits. Still, corruption and the inability to monitor the discharged wastewater from remote locations results in non-compliance with these regulations.
The pollution control board of different nations are hence looking for ways that they can use to keep an eye on industries and water treatment plants to make sure that the dumped wastewater doesn’t affect the water bodies severely.
Internet of Things is one such technology that can act as a bridge for pollution control boards to monitor the wastewater dumped into rivers. It comprises of a wireless sensor network (WSN) that monitors the condition and parameters of the sewage being dumped into rivers from distant locations. Special sensors, meters, and devices can are used to track various metrics that can affect the quality of freshwater bodies.
Turbidity refers to the haziness or cloudiness in water or any other fluid caused due to the presence of individual suspended particles. High turbidity levels of wastewater can result in increased concentration of solids and insoluble compounds in the water bodies it is discharged into.
A turbidity measuring sensor working on the principle of light scattering can be used to measure the number of suspended particles present in the water.
pH stands for the power of hydrogen and expresses the nature of water in terms of acidity or alkalinity. Based on the geographical and atmospheric conditions, the pH scale of water can vary from its standard value. Howbeit, a vast difference in the pH value can cause severe health and environmental-based implications.
A temperature monitoring sensor measures the temperature of sewage and used water dumped into the freshwater bodies. Disposal of water on high temperatures can increase the temperature levels of water bodies causing damage to the aquatic life and their habitat.
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Biological Oxygen Demand refers to the amount of dissolved oxygen that is required by organisms in water to break down organic compounds. It is essential to make sure that the oxygen levels in the water are high enough to facilitate the growth of aquatic life and enhance the breakdown of organic compounds.
Conductivity, in accordance with water quality, refers to the ability of water to produce electricity. Conductivity in water increases due to the formation of ions caused due to the presence of dissolved salts and other inorganic compounds. As aquatic life in rivers breeds in water with low conductivity, it is essential to make sure that the conductivity of wastewater being discharged in the river bodies is as low as possible.
TDS stands for total dissolved salts and refers to the amount of organic and inorganic compounds present in the water. The high concentration of TDS facilitates the development of ions that increase the conductivity of the water. TDS directly correlates to the purity of the water and is thus the most critical parameter to measure. There are different devices present in the market that can be used to estimate TDS.
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The salinity of water means the concentration of soluble salts in the water. High salinity levels can hamper its sustainability to be used for domestic, industrial, and agricultural purposes. It can be measured with the help of specially built salinity meters that pass electricity between two electrodes in a sample of water.
It is essential to keep these parameters for wastewater well under the threshold limits to make sure that no harm is caused to the river it is disposed into. Pollution control boards can use the technology of IoT to distantly make sure that the industries and sewage treatment plants are adhering to the regulations set by them.
The data related to water quality is gathered through the sensors embedded on the water disposal systems of such industries and is sent to cloud storage via gateways. The concerned authorities can access this data through an IoT platform and keep an eye on the industries to make sure that they are complying with the regulations. They can even monitor the performance of these sensors remotely to make sure that they are not hindered.
IoT annihilates any chance that industries can use to dispose of untreated wastewater into freshwater bodies without facing any consequences. As the data is stored in centralized storage, it cannot be hampered, and hence the chances of corruption is also eliminated. Pollution controlling authorities can use this technology to make sure that the river bodies are free from harmful contaminants and help create a sustainable and pollution-free future.
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