Digitalisation ensures safe and clean drinking water

Skanderborg Forsyning has a vast supply area in which they need to ensure safe and clean drinking water for the consumers. But it can be challenging to get a general overview of the fire hydrants’ status because they are placed around the supply area.

It is Skanderborg Forsyning’s top priority to ensure safe and clean drinking water for the consumers, while at the same time improving their fire hydrants’ service level, when they decided to initiate a collaboration with AVK Smart Water. 

Currently, the water utility Skanderborg Forsyning in Denmark has no overview of when or if the fire hydrants in the area are being used, and who is using them. The fire hydrants are only to be used by the fire department or the water utility, however, unauthorised use has been detected before. The utility cannot determine whether it is vandalism or theft. Unauthorised use is not only illegal; it also poses an increased risk of water contamination.

“Skanderborg Forsyning always seek to reduce possible incidents that can negatively affect drinking water. Therefore, it was important for us to find a solution that could indicate the duration of time a fire hydrant has been inactive to ensure an acceptable water quality”, says the operation manager at Skanderborg Forsyning. 

In addition, the utility wanted to reduce inexplicable water loss in the network. It is especially in the industrial areas that fire hydrants are exposed to water loss. Skanderborg Forsyning has used cable ties to secure the hydrants, but they have been cut when the utility checks them.

IoT to ensure safe drinking water

Skanderborg Forsyning decided to look for an intelligent solution that would enable them to monitor the fire hydrants in their network, and thereby reduce and ultimately end unauthorised use. Therefore, Skanderborg Forsyning decided to team up with AVK Smart Water.

AVK Smart Water developed the VIDI Cap solution that makes it possible to monitor where and when the hydrants are being used and for how long it has been opened. The solution consists of an IoT-device mounted in the cap of the fire hydrant. This enables the device to send a radio signal to a cloud platform, whenever the cap is opened. 

“An IoT-based solution gives the utilities a reliable and cost-effective way of monitoring the water distribution network, and further, it enables utilities to make informed choices whenever they detect an opened fire hydrant cap”, explains Business Development Director at AVK Smart Water.

Benefits and unique opportunities

The technology behind AVK Smart Water’s VIDI Cap solution provides countless benefits and unique opportunities for utilities. Not only can it monitor whether the cap is open or closed; it can also monitor how long a fire hydrant has been unused e.g. in connection to flushing the network. This is important as stagnant water poses the risk of bacteria growth and water contamination. 

In addition, this IoT solution will also enable Skanderborg Forsyning to inform consumers when the fire hydrants are being used, as this sometimes can affect the colour of the water due to iron and manganese.  

“The IoT solution brings a lot of opportunities and benefits with it, and it will definitely improve our service level and help ensure safe and clean drinking water for our consumers,” says the operation manager.

What does the future bring for monitoring fire hydrants?

AVK Smart Water and Skanderborg Forsyning have tested the solution with positive results, and now Skanderborg Forsyning is planning the next step in the digitalisation of the 80 fire hydrants in their water network.

“We are looking forward to continue our collaboration with Skanderborg Forsyning to ensure the water usage and quality in Skanderborg,” says Business Development Director at AVK Smart Water. 

As for the future, AVK Smart Water states: “The future holds many exciting projects for AVK Smart Water, and we are looking forward to welcome additional IoT devices to the VIDI solution like valve positioner, pressure sensors, temperature sensors and more”.

Skanderborg Forsyningsvirksomhed A/S

Skanderborg Forsyningsvirksomhed A/S is the main supplier of water in the municipality of Skanderborg with a population of approx. 62,000 inhabitants. It is furthermore responsible for all wastewater treatment in the municipality. 

The AVK premises in Galten, Skovby and Låsby are located in the municipality of Skanderborg.