News article published: 19th August 2019
Sensors that allow hot-and-cold water systems to be remotely monitored are being introduced to help tackle the threat of Legionella. Specifically, the Neptune water monitoring technology, produced by Dundee tech firm M2M Cloud will allow engineers tasked with managing facilities in the Scottish Highlands to be alerted of any potential build-up of harmful bacteria, without having to manually test for it. If it is effective, this technology could revolutionise how duty holders monitor water pipes and tanks as they go about enforcing essential water hygiene protocols. Produced by an Internet of Things network and backed by the Scottish government, the Neptune technology will be able to alert engineers of dangerous legionella build-up or conditions in which bacteria might potentially thrive. The sensors take temperature readings every ten seconds, which are transferred to an intelligent dashboard at The Highland Council. This is important, as bacteria like legionella typically appear in warm or stagnant water systems when temperatures are at anything between twenty and forty-five degrees. This technology is especially useful in the Scottish Highlands, where an engineer might have to travel many miles to manually inspect water outlets and pipes. It could also, however, represent a step forward in the national fight against the legionella bacteria. Sensors that monitor in real-time could help buildings or facilities managers across the country maintain their water standards with greater ease, and alert them immediately if there are any problems. The speed of this response could potentially save lives. Innovations such as the Neptune monitoring system could help stem the tide of legionella incidence in the UK, where neglect of facilities and poor practice have increasingly resulted in outbreaks of the bacteria. Duty holders have a commitment to building occupants, staff and the general public to ensure that premises under their control are safe and do not pose a health risk. Managing water systems, including everything from outlets like taps to water storage tanks, is a continuous process that could benefit hugely from new technology. Assuming the Neptune system is a success, it could have the potential to be used elsewhere in the UK to help stop the increase in cases of legionella this summer.