Digital sampling key for groundwater management

How technology supports groundwater management is part of Xylem Analytics’ thinking as a responsible corporate citizen. Inside Water looks at what it has to offer.

How technology supports groundwater management is part of Xylem Analytics’ thinking as a responsible corporate citizen. Inside Water looks at what it has to offer.

When Xylem Analytics goes out and works with a partner, it aims to be a leader in high-quality instruments for the water resources market. Established in 2008, it supports Australasia’s growing YSI & SonTek customer base. Xylem Analytics understands the importance of supporting partners with world-leading technology. With its constant stream of innovative products, it connects with its Australasian customers and want to ensure that high-quality data is collected reliability.

Groundwater Management Case Study 1: BMT

BMT is a maritime-orientated, high-end design house and technical consulting firm driven by a passion for solving complex, real-world problems. It delivers design, engineering, and consulting solutions in a world of ever-increasing change: growing compliance, new global competitors, the pressure to do more with less, ever-faster innovation cycles and less time to exploit market positions or new technologies.

It supports customers at every stage of the project lifecycle. BMT’s customers worldwide buy outcomes: cost-effective solutions to business problems requiring technical excellence, independent thinking, and innovation.

With about 1,300+ professionals in 27 offices in the Americas, Asia, Australia, and Europe, it draws upon a range of experience and expertise to provide high-quality, high-value products and services.

YSI ProDSS preferred technology

When it undertakes its sampling programs, BMT predominantly uses the YSI ProDSS, a product from Xylem Analytics. Xylem Analytics is part of Xylem, which is a manufacturer of premium field, portable, online and laboratory analytical instrumentation for water and wastewater, ocean/coastal, food & beverage, environmental, chemical, and pharmaceutical markets.

The YSI ProDSS (digital sampling system) is a portable water-quality multiparameter instrument for measuring several critical parameters. Users can measure dissolved oxygen (optical), total algae, turbidity, pH, ORP, conductivity, specific conductance, salinity, TDS, resistivity, TSS, ammonium, ammonia, chloride, nitrate, depth (optional), temperature and GPS coordinates.

It is designed for surface water, groundwater, coastal/estuarine, aquaculture, and wastewater. The rugged ProDSS allows for measuring water quality parameters with digital sensors. The water quality meter uses intelligent sensor technology to enable sensors to be automatically recognised by the handheld while retaining calibration data.

Brad Grant is a Principal Environmental Scientist at BMT and has been there for nearly 14 years. He explained the importance of proper equipment and how the right gear is critical for groundwater management.

“At BMT, we need reliable equipment, especially when we undertake sampling programs in remote locations such as PNG,” said Grant. “A lot of time cost is involved in mobilising to remote sampling locations, so we need to know the sampling equipment is rugged and reliable, which is why we use the YSI ProDSS.”

Features of the YSI ProDSS

The YSI ProDSS features an easy-to-read backlit colour display, large memory capacity, simple calibration procedures, a rechargeable battery, and a robust data management program (KorDSS). All these features combine to make BMT’s sampling experience more convenient.

The optional GPS and depth feature, along with a range of cables and sensors, allows for complete customisation of the ProDSS. Military spec connectors, IP-67 waterproof rating, rubber over-moulded case and one-meter drop tests ensure durability to provide years of sampling even in harsh field conditions.

BMT measures several physical and chemical parameters of the water it is testing at different levels. It often seeks data such as pH, electrical conductivity, salinity, turbidity, temperature, and dissolved oxygen.

The needs of BMT for groundwater management

Given the heavy workload of BMT, the company leans heavily on its instrumentation. The reliability of the YSI ProDSS means that many clients and authorities can rely on the data provided by BMT. Ultimately, instruments need to be accurate, dependable, and consistent.

Instruments must be hard-wearing to handle the demands of sampling in the field. Water-quality devices tend to be expensive, so rugged instruments that last longer are prized over fragile ones.

Grant said that BMT that YSI sampling equipment can be expensive to purchase, but because the equipment is so rugged, it typically provides many years of trouble-free use. “Over the long term, it is probably more economical to use YSI equipment over cheaper, less rugged equipment that needs to be replaced more frequently.

Reliable data always

Following BMT’s role in assisting Stockland in environmental assessments and obtaining federal approval for the project, BMT was responsible for preparing and implementing the Water Quality Management Plan for Stockland’s Aura development.

Aura is a master-planned, mixed-use community of more than 20,000 homes on the Sunshine Coast of Queensland, extending more than approximately 2,400 hectares. Located upstream of the internationally protected Pumicestone Passage, a holistic approach to water management is an essential element of the master-planned community to ensure that these environments are not negatively impacted.

BMT’s role at the Aura site, along with flood modelling and stormwater assessments, is the implementation of the Water Quality Management Plan, which includes monthly surface water and groundwater monitoring. BMT has been undertaking these monitoring activities on behalf of Stockland since 2008.

“At the Aura development, we regularly use the YSI ProDSS for monthly surface water readings and groundwater sampling,” he said. “The benefits of the ProDSS are that it’s simple to use, easy to calibrate, and the sensor readings are typically very reliable. Furthermore, the GPS comes in handy when a sample is logged to an incorrect site code, with the correct site code able to be identified using the GPS coordinates.”

Game changer

The BMT team has found that the ProDSS saves time and money while undertaking sampling in the field. It also found that simple calibration, colour display, and long battery life provide benefits. The turbidity sensors support BMT’s research into turbidity. GPS coordinates are logged with every reading. It automatically ties every sample to a specific location, ensuring that data can indicate trends across multiple sites.

BMT has a lot of experience when it comes to water quality field measurement instruments. The YSI ProDSS is the company’s tool of choice for measuring any parameter it wants..

“The YSI ProDSS is our go-to equipment of choice when taking spot measurements in the field,” said Grant.

Groundwater Management Case Study 2: Tyne Tunnel Project

There are many projects where groundwater needs to be monitored, along with surface water. Such projects might include underwater road tunnels, where the groundwater needs to be measured inside the tunnel, and the water outside the tunnel needs to remain high quality.

An example of this is the Tyne Tunnel in North East England. Ten years ago, a second tunnel was built to account for the increased road traffic in the region. The original tunnel was designed to handle a daily traffic flow of 24,000 vehicles a day but carried 38,000 per day.

With that in mind, the project managers bought five buoy-mounted, real-time automatic water quality monitors (AWQMs). Xylem installed the Australian-made YSI DB600s to ensure that construction staff are not affecting the water quality in the River Tyne in Newcastle.

Xylem was contracted to provide continuous monitoring data from five locations in the river. It did this by setting up a cloud web viewing access to the key stakeholders to which the data were transmitted in real-time. The AWQMs were installed around 12 months before the commencement of dredging operations. It allowed ‘normal’ water quality conditions to be established. The standards were based on differences between water quality measurements upstream and downstream of the dredging operations. This allowed the impact of the dredging operation to be distinguished from background variations.

All the data, all the time

Each DB600 is fitted with accurate sensors designed to operate in challenging environments. These continuously measure dissolved oxygen, turbidity, and temperature in addition to velocity. The turbidity measurement is critical because it is a surrogate for suspended sediments and contaminants.

The AWQMS raised alarms on a few occasions. These alarms arose primarily because of high turbidity in the overflow from the dock. When the alarms sounded, an email was automatically generated and sent to a mobile phone on the dredger. Dredging would stop until water quality had returned to acceptable levels.

Xylem was delighted that the data contributed to the project’s success. Monitoring water quality in a tidal estuary in various conditions was challenging. Being able to offer reliable data reflected the rugged instruments. Their unique anti-fouling technology was a benefit in these aggressive conditions.

Xylem has completed several projects in which the company has been contracted to supply monitoring data. Darren Hanson from Xylem said, “This is a growing trend. We have invested in the resources necessary to fulfil contracts of this nature effectively. Recent advances in communications and internet technology have enabled us to transfer live data to customers’ desktops with far greater speed than has ever been possible in the past.”

Combining data sets for groundwater management

Xylem has worked to ensure that its solutions come together to integrate smart and connected technologies. It has hundreds of years of experience in problem-solving. They seek to empower its clients to deliver transformative outcomes to its end users.

Part of building these data sets together is using the right sensors in the right place. With the Tyne Tunnel Project, the YSI EXO2 and EXO3 multi-parameter water quality sensors were perfect companions to the DB600 smart buoys. The EXO sensors provide an array of data on water quality while remaining properly calibrated throughout their time in the water. They are designed for long-term use and can be integrated into any system.

The staff at Xylem understand the importance of monitoring groundwater and surface water. They have combined their experience to provide a continuous and comprehensive water quantity and quality record. Their instruments generate reliable data in real-time so you can work efficiently and reduce costs. Xylem understands the challenges of working in natural environments and builds high-quality devices to handle the most challenging situations.

To find out more, go to and

Related Articles:

Send this to a friend