How climate change is impacting water analysis

Nicola Brittain

Why have changes to water composition as a result of climate change increased industry demand for water analysers?

Technology manufacturer ABB’s UK arm saw a 50% percent growth in the sales of its Aztec 600 water quality analysers in 2023 compared with the previous year as British water utilities worked to ensure more sustainable management of potable and wastewater supplies, as well as compliance with water quality and environmental regulations. Shifting weather patterns and the need for regulatory compliance have been key drivers in the sales of the product according to the company.

Water quality has been altered by climate change

“The need for more sustainable management of the UK’s water supplies is growing as weather patterns become increasingly uncertain,“ said Jon Penn, ABB measurement and analytics specialist. “In recent years, we have seen extremes of wet and dry weather conditions affecting both the quantity and quality of water. This has made the accurate measurement of supplies increasingly vital. Added to this is a tightening regulatory framework aimed at protecting the environment by reducing discharges of chemicals.”

The Aztec 600 analysers enable accurate and reliable measurement of a range of key parameters in potable and wastewater treatment processes. The series can measure ammonia, iron, aluminium, manganese, color, phosphate, and more, amd are designed to enable water utilities worldwide to safeguard water quality and ensure compliance with regulations.

Providing continuous analysis, the Aztec 600 analysers collect and measure up to six samples per hour, enabling regular analysis of water quality at the point of extraction. With features including QR codes that provide remote access to diagnostic information, the analysers reduce the time and cost of maintenance and enable smarter deployment of engineering resources.

The situation in scotland

In Scotland, Aztec 600 analysers are providing additional monitoring at intakes to water treatment works to identify spikes in phosphate and manganese levels - reduced rainfall has meant there is less water in the nation’s reservoirs to dilute these elements.

The tightening of phosphate consent levels to 0.1mg/l is seeing companies obliged to build tertiary treatment processes using coagulation to control these levels. Coagulation uses iron or other metals-based coagulants to control phosphorous levels, requiring the measurement of iron to achieve the correct dosing, as well as phosphorous measurement to prove that levels have been reduced.

The Aztec 600 analyser range is part of a wider portfolio of ABB products that are deployed both on the supply and demand sides to help UK water utilities to manage the nation’s water more sustainably.

Earlier this month, ABB announced that it has agreed to acquire Canadian company Real Tech, a move that will expand ABB’s strong presence in the water analysis segment and complement its portfolio with optical sensor technology critical for the age of smart water.

ABB’s Process Automation business automates, electrifies and digitalises industrial operations to address a wide range of essential needs – from supplying energy, water and materials, to producing goods and transporting them to market. The company helps customers in the process, hybrid and maritime industries improve performance and safety of operations, to help them create a more sustainable and resource-efficient future.

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