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Dynamic Flow Technologies supports revolutionary trial to meter wastewater

An innovative way of revolutionising how sewerage services could be measured is being trialled by Wessex Water, following a collaboration with Dynamic Flow Technologies Limited, from Loughborough University Science and Enterprise Parks.

The project sees the installation of the world’s first wastewater meter capable of accurately measuring the smallest of flows in part filled sewer pipes. Elster Water Metering, a world leader in water metering technology, is supporting the trial in Bath, which is yielding promising results. 

Whilst meters are commonly used for gas, electricity and water consumption (allowing people pay for the volume of the service they use), wastewater from properties or commercial premises has never before been able to be measured in the same way.

Matt Wheeldon, Wessex Water’s head of wastewater strategy, and Loughborough University alumnus, said: “Being able to cheaply, accurately and reliably measure the range of flows inside sewer pipes has not been viable, until now.” He continued: “Our innovation uses non-invasive microwave technology to measure flows as low as 0.02 litres/second – the tiniest trickle in the invert of the pipe – up to virtually full bore flows.”

“After many years of research and technological advances, it is great to see the product in use” said Martin Croft, a Director of Dynamic Flow Technologies. “We have been helped in our product development with grants from the Technology Strategy Board and we are now able to support further research into our next generation of meters, through a doctoral sponsorship at Loughborough University.”   

Wessex Water believes the project could ultimately prove to be good news for commercial customers, as it would enable them to pay only for the service they use rather than the proxies which are commonly used today.

Diverting surface water from car parks, roofs and patios away from combined sewers into water butts, rainwater recycling tanks, or soakaways, could mean that sewerage bills are reduced to reflect the volume of the sewerage service used. The additional benefits of encouraging less surface water to enter combined sewer systems would also reduce sewage flooding incidents and CSO spill frequencies.

The technology has the potential to send the right supply management signals to customers, so that if they believe their use of sewerage services is less than average, they could opt for a wastewater meter. The recent Water Act means that all commercial customers will have a choice of supplier from 2017 and this new technology could provide greater choices on the services they want – including how they are charged.