More than ever, modern businesses understand the significance of field data and how it can help them maintain equipment, systems, and processes that are productive, efficient, and environmentally safe. What exactly is environmental monitoring then? Although the use cases are varied, we can characterize it as a network of distributed sensors, wireless connectivity, edge computing, and visibility tools that track environmental health and/or prevent events and equipment failures that could be harmful to the environment.
Even more broadly, "environmental conditions" refers to a variety of environmental factors, such as heat, cold, moisture, vibration, and others, that can have a negative impact on the consistency and reliability of equipment functioning. In other words, although we may initially associate the phrase with the biological sense of environmental monitoring, the term also refers to these factors and their effects on operations.
Environmental monitoring technology has been around for a while, but it can be difficult for companies that must react quickly to changing environmental conditions to act on this data since it's produced outside of traditional on-premises or cloud contexts. Environmental monitoring is being integrated into the operations of sectors including manufacturing, agriculture, and energy via networks of Internet of Things (IoT) devices, significantly changing how these companies interact with and react to their surroundings.
What Exactly is Environmental Monitoring?
Detecting, observing, and measuring environmental conditions at a particular site or location requires the use of observational techniques and equipment (such as sensors, wireless communications, and remote management software). But, depending on the use case, how these processes are done, what tools are utilized, and what settings are chosen can all differ significantly.
Environmental monitoring has historically been utilized mainly for ecological purposes. For example, disconnected methods for the long-term observation of environmental variables may be used by researchers who want to observe air pollution or the impact of industrial pollutants on protected areas and habitats.
To get the needed data, they would periodically need to go pick up the monitoring devices they've distributed in the field. The principles of environmental monitoring are now applicable to new use cases, from monitoring water treatment plants and groundwater supply to monitoring oil and gas pipelines for leaks, attributable to IoT devices, wireless connectivity, and platforms that support nearly instant access to information from anywhere.
Detecting Environmental Threats with Methods of Environmental Scanning and Monitoring
Organizations can select from a range of scanning and monitoring strategies while keeping an eye on environmental systems. It's crucial to take into account which strategies are most suited for each organization's industry, priorities, and operational demands. Data streams generated at edge sites can provide thousands of data points, frequently considerably more than can be processed or stored in the cloud for real-time use.
According to three main classifications of environmental concerns, these techniques can be divided into:
- Monitoring air quality
- Measuring temperature, humidity, or emissions with sensors
- Using Geographic Information System (GIS) models and sensor networks for air dispersion modeling
- Monitoring water quality
- Monitoring radioactivity, chemical composition, and temperature with sensors
- Measuring biological and chemical parameters through environmental sampling
- Monitoring soil quality
- Grab or composite sample to assess biodiversity, organic material, contamination, or pH levels
- Salinity measurement with electromagnets, remote sensors, and GIS
- Monitoring of erosion and instability
- Testing for soil compaction
Innovative Environmental Monitoring Systems Leading the Way to Keep Our Planet Safe
Environmental monitoring is now valuable for businesses in the oil and gas industry, manufacturing, agriculture, and even healthcare due to the accessibility of remote monitoring systems and modern wireless technology. Businesses can integrate proactive environmental monitoring and evaluation into their on-site management and operational processes by using IoT-based environmental monitoring systems. According to Extrapolate's projections, the global market for environmental monitoring will rise significantly - by USD 20.37 billion - by the year 2030.
Using these IoT-based monitoring systems can assist organizations in accelerating and improving their reaction to situations that demand urgent attention (such as leaks or equipment breakdowns) and long-term difficulties (like pollution and changes in water supply conditions). The following examples of environmental monitoring systems will demonstrate this.
- Pollution Monitoring Systems
In industrial, urban planning, and agriculture, pollution monitoring has developed into a highly valuable tool. These systems can help companies monitor, assess, and even reduce pollution and contamination that has an impact on both natural and artificial water reserves, the quality of the air, and the condition of the soil. Private and public organizations can benefit from monitoring these environmental elements' acidity and general chemical composition, but they also need to be able to process and act on that information rapidly.
Companies and local governments can respond more quickly to the impact of pollution on project schedules, equipment uptime, public health, worker safety, and sustainability initiatives when these environmental monitoring capabilities are linked and managed via IoT systems. construction companies and agricultural operations, for instance, that must do environmental monitoring effect analyses before starting and finishing regulated projects, might use continuous environmental monitoring to constantly be aware of and responsive to site conditions.
- Wastewater Lift Station and Tank Monitoring Systems
Although sewage management and the significance of environmental quality may not be widely associated, wastewater processing and storage systems constitute some of the most important use cases for environmental monitoring. Public health, water availability, agricultural productivity, and other factors are impacted by wastewater management. Equipment and storage facilities for wastewater can harm neighboring towns for a long time if it is managed improperly or breaks down.
The towns in charge of managing and running wastewater lift stations and tanks can create efficient environmental monitoring systems that record and measure the chemical properties of treated water in real-time by deploying and linking networks of IoT devices. Additionally, these systems can be coupled with leak detection sensors to reduce municipal workers' exposure to dangerous pollutants such as pathogenic bacteria or viruses and prevent the contamination of groundwater.
- Groundwater and Aquifer Monitoring Systems
Enhancing groundwater protection is another way that IoT-based environmental monitoring can be utilized to enhance public health and agricultural output. In the US, groundwater supplies more than 90% of drinking water for rural residents and accounts for 37% of the water that local municipalities provide to homes, businesses, and other buildings.
It may take some time before the effects and characteristics of environmental pollution of groundwater and aquifers are apparent, but once contamination occurs it can be exceedingly challenging to stop or resolve. The most frequent offenders can be industrial and commercial operations, which may cause environmental impact, public health issues, and fines from regulatory agencies such as the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).
All things considered, environmental monitoring is essential to preserving the security and welfare of both humans and the environment. Organizations may detect problems early, move fast to correct them, and guarantee regulatory compliance by putting in place an efficient environmental monitoring program.