Water utility tech set to transform domestic resource monitoring

Posted 29 September 2016

Real-time water monitoringSouth East Water is finalising a range of new innovations within its monitor-and-control telemetry device, OneBox, including integration of gas and electricity data, rainwater storage control and water quality monitoring.

The Victorian utility is also trialling new off-grid power and communications technologies within the device, to enable its use in remote and hard to reach places.

Product Development Manager Eamon Casey said these developments are part of the product's evolution in response to utility and customer demand over the past seven years.

“It started off with South East Water listening to its customers who wanted a similar experience with their pressure sewer system as with their gravity system – they wanted to flush and forget,” he said.

OneBox is a telemetry-based pressure sewer control system that allows pressure sewer networks to be monitored and controlled by the utility, making the operation and maintenance of the system simpler, reducing peak flows, spill risk and cutting down the required asset size.”

The latest incarnation of OneBox will be installed at the south east Melbourne development, Aquarevo, in a bid to reduce each home’s demand for mains drinking water by up to 70%. 

“In Aquarevo, the big difference is that OneBox has multiple functions including controlling the pressure sewer, controlling rainwater storage, taking water and recycled water metre readings, taking gas meter readings, taking electricity meter readings and also monitoring the rainwater to hot water treatment system,” Casey said. 

But even before the product is installed in the first Aquarevo homes, SEW is looking to expand OneBox's reach by taking it off the power grid. 

“We have a trial going with powering the OneBox pressure sewer solution with solar power and battery. That allows us to get off-grid and will reduce installation costs in many places,” Casey said.

“We're looking at incorporating solar-powered OneBox units into tanks to remove the requirement for connecting to household power supplies and simplifying installation.”

SEW was also working to reduce communication costs associated with OneBox.

“Currently, the OneBox has a 3G communication system but we're trialling a narrowband communication system – NB-IOT – and that comes with the potential for significant reduction in communication costs,” Casey said.