A smart, safe, and efficient management of water is fundamental for both developed and developing countries. Several wireless sensor networks have been proposed for real-time monitoring of drinking water quantity and quality, both in the environment and in pipelines. However, surface fouling significantly affects the long-term reliability of pipes and sensors installed in-line. To address this relevant issue, we presented a multi-parameter sensing node embedding a miniaturized slime monitor able to estimate the micrometric thickness and type of slime. The measurement of thin deposits in pipes is descriptive of water biological and chemical stability and enables early warning functions, predictive maintenance, and more efficient management processes. After the description of the sensing node, the related electronics, and the data processing strategies, we presented the results of a two-month validation in the field of a three-node pilot network. Furthermore, self-powering by means of direct energy harvesting from the water flowing through the sensing node was also demonstrated. The robustness and low cost of this solution enable its upscaling to larger monitoring networks, paving the way to water monitoring with unprecedented spatio-temporal resolution.
Document type: Article
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