PEI water tech firm to install wastewater sensors across Canada

The microbe-electrode sensor named Sentry-AD gives operators a visual interpretation about the health of the wastewater biology. Photo Credit: Island Water Technologies

Prince Edward Island company Island Water Technologies has secured a $470,000 federal government contract to install nine bio-electrode wastewater sensors that will monitor wastewater quality in real time at facilities in at least three provinces.

The microbe-electrode sensor named Sentry-AD gives operators a visual interpretation about the health of the wastewater biology — such as imbalances or toxic shock — through signals from bacteria. Operators can gauge real-time organic loading to the plant, as well as quantify the impact of on-site cleaning events on process performance, the company says.

“Simply to place that sensor into the wastewater treatment system and give that feedback to an operator is essential to him being able to improve his process, and reduce the chance of the system failing, and reduce any occurrences of discharge or wastewater reaching the environment,” explains Dr. Patrick Kiely, CEO of Island Water Technologies, in a demonstration video for the sensor. Kiely is an environmental microbiologist with over 15 years of experience in the fields of molecular microbiology, microbial ecology and next generation wastewater and bio-energy applications.

Island Water Technologies announced that the wastewater sensors will be installed in Charlottetown and Montague in P.E.I., locations in British Columbia, Barrie and Toronto in Ontario, and Parks Canada sites around Banff and Jasper in Alberta.

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The company has already installed 13 Sentry sensor systems at facilities in China, the Netherlands, the U.S. and Germany, with more installations already in the works. 

In a summer 2018 report about the sensor’s effectiveness at an Atlantic Canada wastewater treatment plant, operators found that a pump station “cleaning event” discharged a significant amount of organic material into the wastewater treatment system. 

“The influent SENTRY system was able to identify this event with an increase in signal that day of 11% above a typical Wednesday measurement,” the report states.

In February, Island Water Technologies received $500,000 in total seed funding from Island Capital Partners and Natural Products Canada. It has also received a research and development grant from the National Research Council, worth $250,000, to further improve the sensitivity of the sensor.

The company has also been selected as one of the top-20 innovative companies at the Canadian Innovation Exchange conference to be held in Toronto on October 22-23.

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