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
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
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
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