Ultrasonic monitoring bonus

Cities and towns worldwide are cracking down on commercial establishments which are dumping tons of grease annually into sewer lines. In many communities, the number one cause of sewer overflows is grease blockages.

Manufacturer of electronic monitoring equipment for grease traps and septic tanks, Worldstone Inc, in conjunction with engineers GREASEwatchTM, has developed microprocessor-based ultrasonic technology which continuously monitors the grease, sludge, liquid level, and temperature in tanks. An ultrasonic transducer is mounted on a pipe suspended in the middle of the effluent (normally at the outlet end of the tank). The acoustic beams in the transducer monitor to the top of the sludge, to the bottom of the grease, and to the liquid level in the pipe mounted in the tank.

At any time, users can push a button to find out how close the tank is to its next pumping. Programmable settings allow the service provider or the regulator to set when the tank should be pumped based on the desired and actual amount of solids. A buzzer is triggered when the critical solids and liquid levels are exceeded. The system logs up to 20 years of data providing a historical record of changes to document tank performance and routine maintenance.

Lessons from the USA
In rural areas which rely on septic systems and in cities with sewers, regulators are responsible for the management of the grease problem. Their primary challenge is to develop programs that will ensure and document compliance with codes. Proposed solutions include mandatory pumping cycles, manual inspections, and fines for offenders. The most promising incorporate new tank monitoring systems and many US cities are considering re-writing their codes to advocate new automatic monitoring technology.

But how frequently should tanks be inspected and pumped? Manual inspections are costly and time consuming not to mention, messy, noxious, and in and in many cases, dangerous. They are also difficult to manage consistently due to shortage of inspectors and the growing number of facilities that must be checked.

Service providers who may not properly pump tanks and traps are another part of the problem. In some instances, grease and solids have actually been introduced into tanks by pumpers looking to cut costs and disposal who may just skim top grease and leave bottom solids.

However, there are also those facilities which simply don't service their tanks and traps or do not comply with best waste
disposal practices which are a necessary part of controlling the accumulation of grease and sludge. For cost-effective compliance, new solutions will incorporate continuous monitoring and tracking at the tank level, and easy access to real-time data.

With ongoing tank monitoring, regulators have a powerful tool to keep people compliant and prevent overflows at less cost. Monitoring is also a tool for business owners to ensure service providers are properly managing their tank or trap.

For service providers, the monitoring solution enhances the value and profitability of service contracts. Pumping is done when it is needed. Less pumping for the existing customer base frees up pump trucks and personnel to expand the business without additional expense.

For customers who always wait too long to pump, monitoring is proof that they should pump more often. This makes the service provider's job easier and increases service revenue.



Waste & resource management

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