STREAM (Sensor Technologies for Remote Environmental Aquatic Monitoring) is a marine and environmental monitoring project funded from the European Union's European Regional Development Fund through the Ireland Wales Cooperation programme.
The project combines partners from Waterford Institute of Technology, Cork Institute of Technology and Swansea University focusing on the impact of climate change; lower the cost of marine observation and accelerate the process of data provision. The initial deployment phase requires the placement of sensors by Waterford Institute of Technology, Cork Institute of Technology and Swansea University that will be used by the project to monitor parameters for stakeholders. Following an initial specification phase and consultation with stakeholders the project partners have identified two initial trial sites in Co. Wexford in the South East of Ireland and two at Swansea in South Wales.
Proteus Instruments Ltd were employed by Swansea University to install two Proteus Multiparameter Water Quality Probes. The required parameters specified are; Temperature, pH, Conductivity, Dissolved Oxygen, Total Organic Carbon (TOC), Dissolved Organic Carbon (DOC), Chlorophyll-A and Turbidity. Water quality data is required on the seaward side of the Tawe Barrage adjacent to the fish pass where the river Tawe discharges into the Bristol Channel. Tidal ranges in the Bristol channel are among the highest in the world. The range at Tawe Barrage can exceed 10m during spring tides, rising rapidly.
For this location, the Proteus instrument will be deployed in a stilling tube and connected via a submersible cable to a solar powered BD2 system which houses an Outpost telemetry data logger. Data can be accessed by authorised personnel assigned to the project via a web based platform. Remote monitoring in this regard provides real-time data throughout the year and negates the requirement for personnel to collect samples from site.
Proteus with Temperature, pH, Conductivity, Dissolved Oxygen, Total Organic Carbon (TOC),Dissolved Organic Carbon (DOC), Chlorophyll-A and Turbidity. Paired with Solar powered BD2 system with telemetry.
The Tawe Barrage location posed specific challenges for instrument deployment. Proteus Instruments Ltd. embarked on the installation of an 11m long stilling tube on the pier as close as possible to the fish pass.
The tube will house a Proteus Multiparameter Probe protecting it from being buffeted by the sea and allowing easy retrieval for routine maintenance. Due to the nature of the pier construction, task area location, accessibility and height, it was identified the best method of installation would be to employ a rope access team. Industrial Climbers Ltd provided a three man team. Two trained RATs (Rope Access Technicians) abseiled down the pier to install the PVCu stilling tube with 316 stainless steel fixings, managed and supervised on site by owner and Director Mark Needham.
Ensuring the rope access teams safety, a safety boat was required should the team be unable to ascend due to equipment failure, immersion or medical emergency. In which case they could be lowered to the boat or rescued for safe retrieval. Swansea University operate their own Class 5 rib for environmental projects along the South Wales coast. Operated by Two trained staff and moored up along side the pier, Swansea University provided vital safety cover for the rope access team.
The exposed nature of the area, strong winds (and often rain), added further challenges. Fortunately, whilst deployed the pier wall provided shelter from the wind for the two man team. The installation took six hours in total. Starting at high tide, the team had to co-ordinate timings to allow for the installation of resin fixings when the tide was at it's lowest point. Critically the tube needed to be supported at the lowest possible point to ensure the tube extended into the water, thereby ensuring the Proteus instrument remains submerged for the greatest amount of time throughout the monitoring period. Spring tides are the lowest and fortunately this occurred during daylight hours in early March.
The installation was successful and proved that this method enables the installation of water quality instrumentation at other challenging locations, such as disused quarries and bridges.