It may be difficult to monitor whether enterprises unlawfully release toxic substances into sewers. However, the new sensor system aims to identify these substances by sampling and analyzing water in sewage pipes. The technology was developed by the Institute of Reliability and Microintegration of the Fraunhofer Association of Germany and scientists from the European Union MicroMole Project.
The core of the device is three rings, each of which is equipped with sensors, batteries, energy management system, control and communication systems and micropump sampling system.
The robot places the first ring in the sewer pipe, just upstream of the sewer outlet of a suspicious enterprise. The second ring is located directly downstream of the outlet, while the third ring is located a little farther downstream.
The first two loops communicate with each other by using physical sensors that analyze water parameters such as temperature, pH value and conductivity, and basically compare the parameters. If a significant change in parameters is determined after the water flows through the outlet, the second loop sends a signal to "wake up" the third loop.
The ring also uses chemical sensors to further analyze water and check for the presence of specific pollutants. If any of these substances is detected, the authorities will be reminded that the contaminated water samples they keep can be used as evidence for court hearings. On the other hand, if no pollutants are detected, the ring will automatically distribute the cleaning solution and flush the chemical sensors to prepare them for the next time.
The technology has been successfully tested in laboratories and sewage pipes of a certain length. Now researchers plan to test actual municipal sewage pipes in five European cities.
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