Tuesday, March 7, 2017

Remote Monitoring Using Well Watch Sensors

Traditionally, to be able to remotely monitor your data you needed a substantial investment into a SCADA (Supervisory Control and Data Acquisition) system. This was usually limited to larger municipalities and industrial applications that had the necessity and funds to monitor multiple locations and types of sensors.

Today, SCADA is still an excellent option for those types of customers but there is a new movement towards pushing data into the cloud. From there the data can be viewed on a web interface that can allow the user to view data from a number of sites and sensors. Most programs can display real time and historical data, have graphing features and can control sensor settings. Some systems can also be setup to send alarms via text/email when a predetermined level has been exceeded or circumstance has occurred.
Screenshot provided by Secosys

Users have a wide range of sensors to choose from but most rely on proprietary software. Eno Scientific wisely designed their sensors so that they may be added into a pre-existing system or interface of the users choice freeing them up from managing sensor data on multiple web platforms/apps. Our cloud based partners can suggest the appropriate method of pushing data up including WIFI, GSM, CDMA and Radio. (Note: Some methods may require a data plan.)

Well Watch 670

Eno Scientific's Well Watch 670 can monitor wells below 10” in diameter, or larger if using a sounding tube, and down to 7,000ft. Data transmission can be made through any of the included outputs RS232, RS485 (Modbus), 4-20mA or 0-5V. As with all of our products it utilizes our Sonic Sense Technology TM and provides continuous water level readings without the risk of contamination or damage to the well equipment caused by lowering an object into the well.

Well Watch 700
The Well Watch 700 Series water level indicators, which will be released in Spring of 2017, uses a patent pending technology to monitor the water levels in large diameter industrial wells. This stainless steel probe with din rail mounted controller provide professional and accurate readings for the municipal, irrigation and agricultural customers. The Well Watch 700 is flow meter compatible and includes two independent relays which may be used for pump control or remote alarms. Data transmission can be made utilizing one of the RS232, RS485 (Modbus), SDI-12, 4-20mA, 0-5V or Ethernet connections.

Whether collecting data for regulatory reporting or trying to understand your system's water levels and usage, Eno Scientific can help you design a sensor package and find the right service provider to best meet your needs and budget. Contact us (link to contact us page) and let us know how we can help.

Friday, May 6, 2016

Agricultural Water Intelligence for a Smarter Growing Season

Water is a perennial concern and its scarcity has a huge impact on food production. The latest drought has exposed farming’s growing vulnerability to water shortages, particularly where groundwater reserves are inadequate and climate change is expected to make severe droughts more likely. Without water, farmers do not have a means of maintaining a prosperous production cycle and providing for the increasing demand. The trouble is that most farmers do not know how much water they have. Imagine if there was a product that painted a better picture of how much water was available to you...

Information leads to better planning and better decisions.

Eno Scientific's goal is to provide a simple method to obtaining vital water information that expands the areas of Agriculture to increase the amount of crops being produced. The Well Watch 670 water level indicators are simple to install and non contact so there is no risk to the well's quality and infrastructure. It is about turning well level measurements into useful data that can help farmers/growers respond to changing climates, markets and technological opportunities. You can use the data from smart water level meters to understand how much water you have available in order to increase the number, efficiency and quality of the crops grown.

Water Intelligence puts the power back in your hands.
  • Understand water levels during peak usage, daily usage and seasonal changes.
  • Make more informed decisions on how many acres to plant
  • Plan for next growing season based upon historical water data
  • Better water contingency planning
  • Graph long term levels to understand the strength of your Aquifer
  • Identify ahead of time if your wells need to be drilled deeper
  • Share data with Water Professionals and Government agencies
  • Use data to support unnecessary water restrictions
The value of ground water is increasing; Agricultural use is a necessity.

Especially in water-stressed areas, the primary strategy has been to impose watering restrictions and conservation measures. New groundwater legislation, local initiatives, and State mandates provide opportunities to strengthen resource management and develop equitable usage strategies. Groundwater level monitoring is key to providing accurate data to support appropriate agricultural water management motives. The goals are to supply water where it is needed most without endangering the lifeline of American farmers.

Friday, March 4, 2016

Why Sonic Over The Others?

Every well owner/operator has a responsibility to monitor the water levels in the well they are using, whether for personal or community use, to comply with State regulations or for scientific monitoring. There are several methods to acquiring this data, each with its own benefit and issues. Providing accurate data with economical and efficient equipment has driven people to search for a better method, hence the sonic technology movement.

Sonic meters monitor  levels by sending a low frequency sound pulse into a well which reflects off the water's surface. It then performs a time distance measurement on the reflection to provide a reading in feet and inches. These meters which are available in portable or permanent configurations, mount easily in the vent hole of the well, do not require anything to be lowered into the well and will provide accurate readings in seconds. Sonic meters, such as the Eno Scientific Well Sounder 2010 PRO and Well Watch 670, also include a built in data logger for simple and complete data collection with the ability for long term monitoring and telemetry integration.

People frequently confuse the term 'sonic' with the 'ultrasonic' meters that are also non contact level indicators. These methods are distant cousins in the sound spectrum family. Where the Sonic meters are low frequency, the Ultrasonic meters are very high frequency, similar to a laser beam. The long waves of the Sonic units have the ability to travel around corners, through coils of pipe and around obstructions in the well making them very versatile. The Ultrasonic meters are very directional and require line of sight to the object they will be measuring. Ultrasonic meters are beneficial for measuring short distances where they are not contained, such as tank or open surface water level measurements. The Sonic meters must be contained in a relatively small diameter space, 12” and below, or can be contained in a sounding tube for larger diameter wells.

Another method for taking measurements are water level tapes. These come in a variety of styles and are commonly used for taking measurements of various wells. They are basically a rolled up tape measure with built in conductor wires. When the tape measure hits water the wires are bridged and the tape beeps to alert the user to the presence of water. The issue is that there can be multiple places in a well where water enters the casing and any one of these entrance points can cause the wires to bridge and the tape to beep causing a false reading. Most wells are also outfitted with pumps, wiring, stabilizers, etc and the process of weaving an object down through this equipment can be very difficult. Some wells have only a fraction of an inch of available space to operate in and if the tape gets stuck it has to be cut off and replaced. Not a big deal if you don't mind random tape pieces in your well and the expense of buying a new tape every time this happens (note: water level tape prices vary on length, a 300' tape can cost as much as a Sonic meter that can measure down to 4000') In addition, if the tape is not properly sterilized between wells it can cause cross contamination. The tapes are also only useful for manual readings which can be time consuming depending on the depth to water and there is no data logger so I hope you bring a pen and paper.

Pressure transducers are a submersible method which requires a pressure sensor to be lowered down into the well and left for long term monitoring. The benefit of transducers are the level of accuracy they provide however they are costly and have similar limitations to the level tapes. They need unobstructed space to be lowered into and are not ideal for wells with turbulence. They also store the data internally but do not provide any type of real time display so the data must be downloaded. Transducers are  purchased depending upon the custom length you provide. If the water table drops below the set transducer level then you will need to replace it with a longer cable. Products that are submerged for a length of time will eventually corrode and will need to be replaced so be prepared to pull it all back up.
Each method has its benefits but why would you take the risk of lowering an object into your well if you could get the same readings in a fraction of the time without the risk of contamination and lost/broken equipment? This is why people have migrated towards a better, safer and more economically feasible method.  Check it out for yourself www.enoscientific.com

Thursday, January 7, 2016

The Importance of Well Maintenance

As a home owner, there are a list of maintenance items that you complete every year to keep  your home running well.  You change the air filters for your air handler, change the batteries in your smoke detectors, get the freon refilled in your AC, and clean your gutters.  All of these might seem arbitrary until you are in a hot house without AC or have water leaking into your house because heavy rain is not draining off your roof.    Do you ever have your water well equipment checked to ensure that it is functioning properly?  Do you even know what is installed in your well?

I could sit here and give you a lesson about how a well is constructed and what is in your well, but the truth is, well construction is extremely regional.  For instance, in the South, we have very basic residential wells with submersible pumps, external wiring and plumbing.  In the North, where freezing temperatures are more common, well drillers install the same style well with pitiless adapters (these push the water out below the freeze line so there are no exposed lines) and turtle caps (sanitary seals).  In the Western US, the well owners may also have cisterns to supplement well water and take advantage of all of the available and much needed rainfall.  When your well was drilled, a report was created which includes the construction makeup, production levels, and equipment that was installed.  If you are not the original owner and were not provided a copy of this, you may find one at your county office.

The one thing that all of our wells have in common is that they are outfitted with equipment that can fail and leave us without water.  An annual inspection by a licensed water well professional should begin with a visual inspection of the well, checking for any obvious leaks,  loose connections or frayed wires.  It should also include testing the currents standing water level alone with a flow test.  This tells you not only where the water levels are at this time, but how much water your well is capable of pumping and, maybe more importantly, how quick does it recharge/refill after it has been pumped down.   You may also want to have your water quality tested for bacterias or other supplemental nitrates that are getting to an unhealthy level.

If you are performing yearly maintenance on your well you will receive a report from your well professional with all of this information included and easily displayed for your records.  Sporadic measurements don't mean much, but having the historical data to show where you're well levels were when it was drilled and where it is now, 10-20 years later.   This lets you know how healthy the well is and if you should expect another 10 years or should consider having a new well drilled.

Well Watch 660

For those of you who are interested in taking a more informed position in your water well maintenance, we suggest installing a sonic water level meter, like the Well Watch 660, on your well cap.  This is a non contact method of monitoring your well levels which can display real time readings at your well or in your home with the remote display.  You should know what is normal for your well, what is low and at what point you should be concerned enough to place a call to your well professional.  This will allow you to take action before it is too late and you run out of water causing major expensive repairs.

Learn to protect the investment you have in your well,  just like you do with your house.

Monday, December 28, 2015

Do You Have Enough Water to Meet Demand?

"When the well’s dry, we know the worth of water.” 

  --  Benjamin Franklin

It's Monday morning, the alarm goes off dragging you from sleep.  Reluctantly, you crawl out of bed and make it to the shower hoping it will wake you up for the day ahead.  Turning on the water the steam begins to fill the bathroom, you get in and suds your hair, then halfway through rinsing the glorious spray of hot water stops.  You stumble out and reach for a towel wondering

Ahhh, your mind shuffles through images of piles of laundry that were washed yesterday because your in laws are coming to visit, your teenage daughters hijacking the bathroom to take 40 minute showers, the extra loads of dishes that were washed AND it hasn't rained in 3 weeks...OMG has my well run dry?!

Depending upon a well for water requires an understanding of how much water you have and how much you need.  It is about monitoring, maintaining, and understanding usage.  Unlike a city water supply, there is not an endless amount of water in your well.  You're well can (and will) run dry if you over pump it, potentially costing you thousands of dollars for repairs.  Unfortunately, most well owners have no idea how much water they are actually using.  How many gallons do you use when you take a shower or wash dishes?

Homewaterworks.org, which is a project of the Alliance for Water Efficiency, has a great interactive online tool to estimate your home water usage and tips for ways to conserve your water.

Typical distribution of water consumption by activity.
Monitoring your well water levels is one of the best ways to avoid a major lifestyle disruption.  Water tables across the United States are dropping and it is becoming essential to be armed with the water intelligence needed to understand how your well is performing.  

Is my water level dangerously close to my pump level?  Has my water dropped to a record lower level?  Is it taking longer and longer for my water levels to recover?  Are my neighbors or that new development across the road effecting the water supply?

There are several different ways that you can monitor you well water levels.  You could pay a water professional hundreds of dollars per visit to take measurements (multiple or weekly measurements can be rather costly).  If you are a do it yourself you could drop a weighted tape into the well.  Unfortunately, if not cleaned and stored properly between uses it could contaminate your drinking water.  Tapes often get tangled in the internal components of the well.  Additionally, a one time measurement does not give you the data needed to monitor usage.

Well Watch 660
Another popular method utilizes non-contact measurement products, such as the Well Watch 660 from Eno Scientific.  It is installed in the vent or access hole on your well cap and utilizes sound waves to monitor and calculate the water levels inside your well.  

By cleverly utilizing sonic technology you are not risking the health of your water by introducing a foreign, possibly contaminated, object into your supply.  No risk of damaging your contents or causing expensive service calls from your Well Professional.  The Well Watch provides constant monitoring of water levels, drawdowns and recovery.  

Acoustic monitoring devices like this will display the real time depth to water and can warn you when your levels are getting dangerously low.  Armed with the data provided by monitoring your well water levels you will know when your well is distressed.  

Understand your basic water needs and consumption.  Be smart, watch your well water levels so you don't get stuck with soap in your eyes!

Remember, most people don't spend a lot of time thinking about their well...   but a poorly monitored well system will definitely get your attention, one way or another.

Tuesday, November 24, 2015

Why Should I Monitor & Measure My Well Water Levels?

The National Ground Water Association estimates that 44% of the U.S. population is currently dependent on well water.  If your home relies on a well for water it is important that you understand the source of that water and what to do if your well is running dry.    

Water wells are drilled into the ground through various layers of dirt, rock and clay.  The hole must be drilled deep enough to reach a producing aquifer.  What is an aquifer?  Good Question!   According to the USGS an aquifer is a geologic formation that is water bearing and stores and/or transmits water to wells and springs.  Use of the term is usually restricted to those water-bearing, formations capable of yielding water in sufficient quantity to constitute a usable supply.  

A borehole for one well may drill through several different aquifers.  The water in an aquifer is recharged or refilled by rain or melting snowpack, flowing down through the earth toward rivers and creeks.  Porous rocks allow for quicker recharge rates and higher pumping capacity.  Rain water can take months or years to seep into the useable aquifer level.  The dry, compacted surface caused by drought further complicates the replenishment rate by causing more water runoff instead of absorption.  In areas which are experiencing drought conditions, aquifers are not being replenished at a sufficient rate to support their continued use.

If the aquifer is strained or depleted it could cause your well water levels to drop below the position that your pump was installed which can result in damage to the pump.  For example, if the well was drilled to 200 feet and the pump was installed at 180 feet, but the water levels are dropping below the location of the pump at 180 feet.  If you are not monitoring your water levels, then by simply taking a shower you could unwittingly burn up your pump resulting in an expensive phone call to a well maintenance professional.  

Prices for professional water well component repairs will vary depending on your location and the extent of damage.  Replacing the submersible pump could cost anywhere from $500 to $5000 depending on the size of the pump and the complexity of your system.  If your aquifer is not recharging and your well needs to be drilled deeper this could cost $15-$50 per foot.  If you are in a drought stricken location, you could be placed on a waiting list for service.  Either way, it is an expensive venture could have possibly been prevented by watching your well levels!

Be a responsible well owner by monitoring your well water levels and usage all year long.  Know what a normal water level is in each season because the levels change.  This will allow you to understand the well's behavior and use your water appropriately.  It is up to you to protect your water!

Fun Water Facts

Interested to know which aquifer you are on on?  Find yourself on this map offered by the USGS.  

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) estimates that 69% of the planet's freshwater is contained in glaciers and ice caps.

For a more detailed account of the hydraulic cycle click here.

Wednesday, November 11, 2015

Four Things Every Well Owner Needs to Know

Where is my Well?

Wells are typically located within your property lines, near the home, and away from ground water contaminators like barns, street drainage, and septic tanks.  When in doubt look for the giant plastic rock adorning your lawn and peek under it.

How much water is in my well?

This is a good question and to find the answer you need a few measurements:  the drilled depth of the well, the diameter of the casing, and the static level of the water.  Newer wells will have a metal stamp on the outside of the well that includes the drilled depth and diameter (information for older wells should be available at your local county or state office).  The static level can be determined by measuring from the opening of the well to the surface of the water in the well.

A note about measuring the static level.  Traditionally, long weighted tapes were dropped into the well posing a risk of entanglement or contamination.  Please be careful when lowering anything into your well or consider a non contact sonic water level meter and skip the math in the next paragraph .

Once you have all of the measurements you can calculate the volume of the well using a simple equation, V=Pi* r2* h, or you can let your sonic meter do the calculations for you and give you the total number of available gallons.

Monitoring your total number of gallons and understanding usage can save you time and money.  Imagine running out of water mid-shower!  Don't get stuck with soap in your hair.  Watching your well's water levels will help prevent this soapy catastrophe. 

How healthy is the water in my well?

What's in your water?  Why are there rings in the toilet bowl?  What is that blue stain in the bathtub?  What does the water have a bad smell?  All signs of water quality issues.  There are some serious nasties that can live in your water, then there are just annoying bacterias that make it hard to bleach your whites.  Make sure you test your well water at least annually for any bacteria, nitrates, and local contaminants.  Find a certified water inspector in your state by clicking that pointer here.

How healthy are my wells components?

Static water levels, recovery and flow rates are usually a good indicator of the health and behavior of your well's supply, but you also ned to maintain the well's operating equipment.  Poor water pressure, leaky pipes or slow flow rates could indicate problems that should not be ignored.  Your well should be serviced yearly by a professional to prevent these issues.  A well maintained well can provide you with years of good service and you need to know that your well can continuously perform when you need it.