New Developments in Real-Time Kinematic Water Quality Monitoring of Lakes and River Basins

New Developments in Real-Time Kinematic Water Quality Monitoring of Lakes and River Basins

Luca Novelli (Archimedes Logica Co., Italy), Michele Vianello (Municipality of Venice, Italy), Hong Weimin (Environmental Monitoring Centre of Suzhou, China), Lucia Bonadonna (Italian National Institute of Health, Italy) and Tiziana Forte (Italian Institute for Environmental Protection and Research, Italy)
DOI: 10.4018/jsesd.2010070105
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The kinematic approach to water monitoring of rivers and lakes was by Archimedes Logica under the EU initiatives (LIFE1996) for the monitoring of the Lagoon of Venice. These systems were limited to the measurement of typical basic parameters: pH, Eh, salinity, turbidity, dissolved oxygen, electrical conductivity, temperature and immersion depth. However, this earlier system was unable to help against pollution from hydrocarbons. In this paper, the authors present a new kinematic monitoring system named AQUARIUS, which integrates a new generation of automatic chemical and biological analyzers. Automatic sampling and measurement equipment for micro-organism discrimination and counting are present, especially for detecting dangerous species like toxic algae. This article describes the wide spectrum of applications of the new AQUARIUS system: safety control of freshwater reservoirs, detection of urban and agriculture impacts on inland waters and early warning detection of man-made accidents, which are aided by the adoption of new mobile measurement equipment and broadband data channels offered by the modern 3G network.
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The State Of The Art

The current practice consists in complementing the usual online monitoring systems made of fixed monitoring stations with few mobile units, installed on boats. Fully automatic kinematic monitors can be installed on whatever boat fleet travelling over the monitored area, e.g. for public or private transportation. In the Lagoon of Venice, boats employed for normal waste collection and cleansing service were successfully utilized. Using regular service boats can make the systematic acquisition of some key variables representative of water quality and circulation a much easier task with lower associated costs.

Usually, a dedicated laboratory boat with specialized monitoring equipment is also necessary, in order to allow specific in-situ analyses and checks, particularly in case of anomalous situations or real-time monitoring in case of accidents.

It is worth to underline that the possibility of examining a whole ecosystem, continuously yelding a huge amount of low-cost data, and the ability of reaching whatever position in order to monitor local phenomena, changes de facto the whole scientific and methodological approach to the problem. This generates the innovative aspects of the proposed approach.

The suitable real-time sampling rate for physical-chemical data is 10~120 sec, on the basis of the size of the monitored area and of the expected spatial gradients of monitored variables. Biological samples, if included in the monitoring protocol, are usually taken on seasonal basis, depending upon growth and reproduction cycles.

The final element of the environmental data acquisition chain is an Environmental Database. This structure includes both the measurement data coming from the water body and the scenario description data (cartographic, anthropical, geo-morphological) concerning the territory.

In order to turn the raw monitoring data (oxygen concentration, turbidity, temperatures, presence of larvae.) into immediately understandable information (e.g., “in these conditions a sudden anoxic crisis may occur”), it is necessary to develop a set of interpretation and forecast models describing the behaviour of the environment. Such models typically consist in mathematical relationships (analytical, statistical, matrixes) between the measured environmental variables and other variables whose short and long-term trend is to be evaluated or estimated.

One commonly used software package is e.g. WATERNET modelling tool, cofinanced by the European Union. Such modelling tools make a more efficient and effective use of monitored data: modelling a river, forecast the evolution of a pollution event in real time, generate custom-made reports, and calculate quality indices.

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