Data is king when it comes to water quality monitoring. It is not merely the type of data being collected that matters but also how that data is stored, processed and presented. When Joseph Kamalesh, a project manager with Stantec Consulting Services Inc., needs to find the right equipment for large client-based projects, he knows to keep these factors in mind.
Joseph has a background in water quality and water flow monitoring instrumentation, which he continues to focus on at Stantec. During college and his early career, Joseph gained experience with water instrumentation, consisting primarily of on-site wastewater sampling and sampling small systems. Joseph spent most of his early years in the field doing flow monitoring, learning how to use telemetry systems to operate sensors and data loggers that collect water quality samples.
When Joseph was first settling into his career 15 years ago, telemetry was still a new practice of data collection–the equipment was large and often more difficult to use. “It used to be like a big steel enclosure, that big NEMA box—which kept everything in an enclosed container but also took up more space on various sites,” says Joseph. “But I was amazed how [NexSens] condensed that large piece of equipment into that small unit, which is the size of your palm.”
As equipment such as telemetry and GPS monitoring were on the rise in his industry, Joseph saw an opportunity to grow with them at Stantec, where he could help develop sustainable infrastructure using emerging technology in the communities they work with.
As a large engineering firm, Stantec offered opportunities for Joseph to work with projects and clients that suited his experience and interests. “I was already connected with [the industry], related to sensors and instrumentation,” said Joseph. “This was more of an organic growth.”
Stantec started in 1954 as a small firm and has since grown into an international corporation with 26,000 employees across the globe. Stantec advises clients on projects from energy infrastructure to engineering, with one of their main focuses being water quality monitoring and management.
Stantec believes that utilizing innovative technology allows them to meet the environmental and economic needs of the communities and clients they serve.
Within the Cincinnati branch, Stantec has worked on many projects, including redesigning watersheds, sewer systems and bridges. Water quality monitoring is crucial for projects that require extensive changes to the surrounding landscape, both to understand the current state of a water system and to monitor the state of the impacted water when a project is finished. These projects need timely and effective data collection before and after construction, which requires the right equipment.
As a project manager in Cincinnati, Joseph realizes how important using the right environmental monitoring equipment is for understanding the land use impacts of Stantec’s work. When water systems are involved, he chooses NexSens Technology’s telemetry equipment to monitor sites impacted by projects. NexSens offers easy-to-use, accurate, durable and efficient real-time telemetric equipment, including data loggers, sensors and buoys.
During his time in the industry, Joseph has seen telemetry systems change drastically. “We started when the telemetry system used to be a big, giant box with the hardwire stuff and all that and now we’ve updated all our systems to NexSens’ newest, small [device],” said Joseph. “We really love the small footprint.”
NexSens Technology offers X2 data loggers, which connect to environmental sensors and continuously log and transfer data for efficient real-time monitoring that can be accessed through the WQData LIVE Web Datacenter, allowing for easy storage and presentation of data.
In many of their projects, Stantec uses CB-450 data buoys. For both open water and nearshore projects, they are equipped with EXO3 sondes and X2-CB buoy-mounted dataloggers. Moreover, Joseph explains the small size also means a smaller cost on Stantec’s end due to low power consumption and the built-in solar panel on the buoys.
Ultimately, it’s the ease that comes with the equipment that Joseph appreciates most. “The instrumentation, the website, and the data telemetry, [it’s] one single package that makes it more attractive for us,” explains Joseph. “It’s just a one-stop shop for all our needs.”
As a consulting business, Stantec acts as the intermediary between suppliers like NexSens or Fondriest and clients that are looking to construct water monitoring systems, procuring products on an as-needed basis for specific projects.
As an example, Stantec assisted in the closure of a coal-fired power plant in the southeast located along the river. Water quality monitoring was needed up and downstream from a 42-acre ash pond that was to be dewatered and shut down.
Upstream from the ash pond, Stantec used a solar-powered CB-450 buoy with cellular modems and dataloggers, which were able to send continuous water quality data and notify the plant staff when “predetermined thresholds were surpassed, allowing for mitigation strategies to be implemented quickly.”
Downstream from the pond, a shore-based telemetry system was installed, also using NexSens sensors, to monitor the same parameters as the buoy station. NexSens Technology aided in the measurement of parameters, including water temperature, salinity, pH, turbidity, depth, oxygen levels, and more. The plant has now been safely closed, although some monitoring still takes place.
Similar projects overseen by Stantec using the same NexSens equipment include closures of ash ponds in various states to support the industry’s goals for transitioning to new energy solutions.
Having been in the field of water quality monitoring for so long, Joseph understands that with the scale of work Stantec undertakes, getting accurate data in a timely manner is crucial. He explains, “You get what you pay for [. . .] don’t compromise on the quality for cost sake.”
Stantec takes on large and complex water quality projects regularly, with impacts that stretch beyond the immediate area. Water is essential to our lives, but it is precarious, and slight changes can drastically alter how humans use it. To attain this in-depth understanding of water quality, care needs to be taken at every step, and that starts with choosing the right equipment.
Despite other companies competing for Stantec’s business, Kamalesh has no qualms about their choice. “We stayed with Fondriest for the value that they bring.