Sensors for SWAN

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With reference to the On-line Measuring Sensors (OMS) available on the market, a review of the state of the art by Lee et al. (2012) is partially reproduced in the following Table published in Di Nardo et al., 2015 (*). The original table of Lee et al., 2012 (**) defined three levels of the importance for water quality parameters, following three criteria to ensure that all monitoring devices could potentially be used in an efficient manner for online water quality monitoring (Lee et al., 2012). The levels of the importance were Low, Medium and High on the base of: (i) the practicality of the parameters for online monitoring, i.e., if online equipment is readily available or not, if the parameter has broad applications or not, if a reagent is needed or not, etc.; (ii) the parameter indications, e.g., if the parameter can interfere with a treatment process or is a toxic or a poisonous substance such as cyanides, or is a cause of health problems such as nitrates, for example (Lee et al., 2012). Moreover, the three criteria adopted to choose the sensors and to fill the tables were the following: 1) all sensors must detect/measure the water quality indicators without the use of chemical reagents; 2) the device must have online and remote capabilities (telemetry). 3) the device must be the most recent and up-to-date version (Lee et al., 2012). Starting from such classification, with the help of companies belonging to the Action Group, a revision is proposed in Table 1, by adding those parameters requiring the use of chemical reagents, which are characterized by a short response time and consequently permitting on-line measurements, although not fully in real time. The authors believe this choice is crucial, because some automatic commercial devices based on chemical reagents are now reliable and perfectly integrated with telemetry systems. In this way it is possible to monitor water quality and re-design many purposes to improve SWAN management and protection.

Specifically, the arrangement of Table is fundamentally the same as the one proposed by Lee et al. (2012), but revised by parameters for which novel on-line sensors are now available (bold characters), or do exist reliable sensors that use chemical reagents (bold characters in brackets); both classes of devices have been shifted to the third row, based on the knowledge of Action Group members. Furthermore, the parameters for which the members of AG group are carrying out research aimed at filling the gap between the demand and the market are highlighted in italics with a star appended. Further details about marked parameters are provided in next sections.


Availability on the market

Importance of online measurement of a Water Quality parameter




No online sensors available

Aldehydes, antimony, barium, beryllium, brominated DBP, cadmium*, chlorate, chlorite, dichloramine, Drug metabolites, formaldehyde, glyphosate, haloacetic acids, heterotrophic plate counts (HPC) bacteria, hydrocarbons, malathion, mercury, molybdenum, parasites, bacteria* and viruses, pesticides*, phosphate inhibitors, selenium, silver, taste and odour, trihalomethanes, vanadium

E. coli*, total coliform*
Can be indirectly estimated using available online sensors Assimilable organic carbon (AOC), ozone, radioactivity, stability, total suspended solids, uranium Lead*
Online sensors available Algal pigments, (arsenic), (boron), (chemical oxygen demand), chloramine, chlorine, (cobalt), (corrosion inhibitors), dioxide, (dissolved organic carbon), flow, fluorescence, (hydrogen sulphide), level sensors, (manganese), multi-angle light scattering, multi-spectrum absorption, (nickel), (nitrogen organic), (orthophosphate), (phosphate), pressure, (potassium), (silicon), (silicate), (sodium), streaming current, total chlorine, total dissolved solids, (toxicity), ultraviolet 254 nm absorption (SAC 254), volatile organic carbon (Alkalinity), (aluminium), (calcium), (chromium 6+), (copper), fluoride, (hardness), (iron), (magnesium), (nickel), (nitrite), particle count, (phosphorus), (sulphate) temperature, total residual chlorine, (zinc)

Ammonia, (chloride), colour, conductivity, dissolved oxygen, free residual chlorine, (nitrate), oxidation reduction potential, pH, turbidity, (total cyanide), (total organic carbon)


* A. Di Nardo, V.H. Alcocer-Yamanaka, C. Altucci, R. Battaglia, R. Bernini, S. Bodini, I. Bortone, V.J. Bourguett-Ortiz, A. Cammissa, S. Capasso, F. Cascetta, M. Cocco, M. D’acunto, B. Della Ventura, F. De Martino, A. Di Mauro, M. Di Natale, M. Doveri, B. El Mansouri, R. Funari, F. Gesuele, R. Greco, P. Iovino, R. Koenig, T. Korakis, C.S. Laspidou, L. Lupi, M. Maietta, D. Musmarra, O. Paleari, G.F. Santonastaso, D. Savic, A. Scozzari, F. Soldovieri, F. Smorra, F.P. Tuccinardi, V.G. Tzatchkov, L.S. Vamvakeridou-Lyroudia, R. Velotta, S. Venticinque, B. Vetrano (2015)New Perspectives for Smart Water Network monitoring, partitioning and protection with innovative On-line Measuring Sensors, Proceedings of IAHR 2015 Conference, Delft, 28 June-2 July 2015.

** Lee, A., Francisque, A., Najjaran, H., Rodriguez, M.J., Hoorfar, M., Imran, S.A., Sadiq, R. (2012). Online monitoring of drinking water quality in a distribution network: a selection procedure for suitable water quality parameters and sensor devices, Int J Syst Assur Eng Manag, 3(4), 323–337.