Analytical Instrumentation & Environmental Monitoring


Detection of contamination from heavey metals and organic contaminants

March 2000 Analytical Instrumentation & Environmental Monitoring

Water contamination can take many forms, therefore the broader the range of contaminants detected, the better the chances are of ensuring uninterrupted plant operation and biomass protection. Traditional laboratory test methods, such as whole organism bioassays and COD testing, can convey an incomplete picture of water quality.

The Microtox-OS test system from Siemens Environmental Systems is claimed to be the only on-line water quality testing instrument capable of detecting contamination from heavy metals, organics, pesticides, and herbicides, among others. This is an important safeguard when the user is trying to optimise plant performance and minimise operational costs. In addition, the system provides the speed, automated sample preparation, toxicity alarms and remote data access that are simply not available in other testing methods.

A test system is only as good as the validity of its test results. This is why the Microtox-OS has multiple crosschecks to ensure reliability of test data.

The first check is an automated biodetector verification (BDV) protocol. The Microtox-OS test reagent is tested immediately upon reconstitution to measure and ensure the response to a given standard. If the reagent vial is rejected, the reagent carousel rotates to the next vial. The BDV protocol can be programmed to execute at user-set intervals - every new carousel, every day, or any interval in between.

The Microtox-OS test system calibrates itself automatically to assure standardised results. Finally the entire system is temperature controlled to ensure stability of the test reagent.

Wastewater treatment plant operators can program the Microtox-OS test system to identify seasonal and operational trends. It can also help plant personnel troubleshoot problems and fine-tune plant operation.

The system incorporates a proprietary learning mode algorithm, whereby the System 'learns' normal baselines for acceptable and unacceptable water quality. Thus, the System allows the user to adjust the internal alarm thresholds accordingly.

Learning mode provides the system with the means to compensate for seasonal water quality changes or industrial production variances. Therefore, heavy stormwater runoff or cyclical spikes in production output will not trigger an unnecessary false alert.

Up to 30 days of data are automatically archived in memory within the Microtox-OS test system. Data can be uploaded via modem to the computer, scada system or monitoring station, allowing the latest data collected from the Microtox-OS test system to be readily available. Data can even be imported into spreadsheet applications such as Microsoft Excel for analysis. This flexibility even allows Azur technicians to remotely troubleshoot, perform diagnostic checks or upgrade software on systems located anywhere in the world.

OEN Enterprises

(011) 792 2859

mike@oenenterprises.co.za



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