Managing Silt and Tide Levels

Managing Silt and Tide Levels

ABP Mer approached us to provide a system that would monitor tide levels and turbidity over a period of two years whilst the waters around Southampton and the River Hamble were being dredged. The project was expected to last for two years.

The amount of silting was of significant importance to the marinas along the Hamble as it affects the depths of their moorings.

In many cases we provide R-DNA to our clients where it is used on an ongoing basis. However, R-DNA also lends itself to temporary monitoring projects due to it’s low cost and easy setup. This was a case in point where the water needed to be monitored for a relatively short period of two years.

River Hamble

We were approached to provide a hardware solution and the recommended hardware setup was;

Communication between the sensors and the Gateway is made wirelessly. The Gateway collates the data and sends to R-DNA for processing, hourly.

This project ran successfully for the 2 year period between 2014 and 2016.

If you have any short term or temporary data collection/monitoring requirements then please get in touch with us to discuss how our R-DNA solution can help.


Controllable Snow

Controllable Snow

Here at R-DNA, we pride ourselves in listening to our customers. If the functionality currently on offer doesn’t quite match what you need, then we react and adapt accordingly. One such situation occurred recently with our partner Van Walt, and some specific requirements they needed to be able to achieve at the Cardrona Alpine Resort in New Zealand.

The Cardrona Alpine Resort is a relaxed and family friendly ski and snowboard resort located between Wanaka and Queenstown, New Zealand. Van Walt were working with the resort to place sensor and data logger hardware at various locations in order to monitor river flow and levels, and based on those values trigger a relay. The relay would then control the functionality of a snow generating device that turns the river water into snow in order to prepare the slopes in times of insufficient snowfall.

Cardrona Alpine Resort

Whilst R-DNA already contained a multitude of functionality in terms of data reporting and monitoring and remote control of those devices, it didn’t provide any reactive push-back to those hardware nodes in terms of automated control. So, we set to work to enhance R-DNA to provide these new additional requirements.

The mechanism for achieving this was controlled via the GSM network and utilised much of the remote control functionality already present in the system. We already had in place facility to remote control various data-logger hardware options to perform functions such as hardware configurations, restarts and so on. This requirement necessitated an enhancement to allow control of those relay switches and open up an expanse of possibility.

By allowing R-DNA to directly and automatically interact with hardware it now operates as a true Internet of Things (IoT) system that doesn’t rely on any human intervention to control hardware. The software will sit and smartly monitor data and automatically respond to that data based on pre-defined rules.

In this example the new functionality monitors water levels and turns off/on a snow making device, but it is clear that the system installed at Cardrona can be implemented in any number of scenarios – from the simple, such as the opening of a relay switch to sound an alarm when a door has been left open, to much more complex requirements, where the only limitation is your imagination.


You’ll find it all happening down by the riverside

You’ll find it all happening down by the riverside

The last few years have seen a significant shift in the way in which rivers in England are managed. In 2013 the Department for Farming and the Rural Environment (Defra) launched its Catchment Based Approach (CaBA). As part of this initiative, Defra encouraged collaborative working by funding the creation of local catchment groups that could support the management of rivers and their catchments. Only two years on, you would be hard-pressed to find a catchment in England that doesn’t have some form of ‘grass roots’ representation.

Our partner, Van Walt have themselves been an active partner of one of the groups, the Evenlode Catchment Partnership (ECP) since its inception in 2014. The catchment of the River Evenlode is in the headwaters of the River Thames and demonstrates many of the typical water management issues of England’s lowland rivers. There are concerns regarding water quality, land use, natural habitats and low flows. It is also one of the tributaries of the River Thames upstream of Oxford where the feasibility of a large flood alleviation scheme is being considered.


Van Walt helped the roll out of the ECPs ‘Know Your Catchment’ campaign, an ongoing programme of activities to engage schools, local landowners and communities in discussions of water issues in the Upper Thames. The collection of environmental data to understand how catchments work and to identify issues as they occur is key to raising awareness. Identifying the sources of observed environmental issues such as flooding and poor water quality is also a key ingredient for the design of solutions to these problems. An important philosophy of the work of the ECP is to collect environmental data that may help understand what is happening in the landscape and using new technologies to help inspire the next generation of water and environmental scientists.

In July 2015 the Van Walt team installed a hardware telemetry device with water level sensors at the downstream end of the Evenlode catchment at beautiful Combe Mill, a location that itself was completely inundated during the 2007 floods and that now acts as a focal point for the monitoring activities of the ECP. Combe Mill is a visitor attraction that receives over 2,500 people per year, attracted by wonderful old steam engines, a working forge and a wonderful riverside café. The ECP is actively working to further develop this location as an environmental education centre and it recently hosted a large group of trainee geography teachers. The telemetry device was a star of the day really showing how technology can capture imaginations to support discussions about catchment management and real world environmental problems.

In the meantime, the system has now been up and running for 6 months and has been collecting the data we need to understand what is happening in the catchment during periods of low flows and flood via the R-DNA interface. Van Walt are able to run period reports to extract that data and run analysis on trends.


R-DNA has arrived at Platform 1

R-DNA has arrived at Platform 1

In partnership with Van Walt, R-DNA provides a robust monitoring service for Network Rail. Train delays can be caused by a variety of reasons, from livestock and leaves on the tracks, to flooding. That means the organisations that manage the rail networks have to contend with all the possible factors that could create a disruption to the smooth flow of rail traffic. More often than not it is external circumstances like extreme weather, landslides, blocked drains, overflowing rivers, pollutant spills, overgrown or flooded waterways that cause delays to the rail timetable.

Like every other business that offers a service or product to the general public, the rail network has a duty of care to deliver theirs safely, securely and to agreed service levels. That’s why an on-going programme of investment and research into better ways of managing potential risks to the assets and infrastructure is in place and why Van Walt was invited to suggest a solution to monitoring a potential flood risk situation.

On HS1 infrastructure there was a risk of assets being flooded due to internal and external factors. Richard Dance, Systems Engineer, Network Rail (High Speed) Ltd contacted Van Walt in the last quarter of 2014 to discuss the deployment of a couple of systems to measure water level and to report by means of alarms when levels were getting to a critical point. The introduction of an early warning alarm would give the business time to take remedial action before any serious damage or delay occurred. Two hardware telemetry devices with water level sensors were installed and have been running continuously now for well over a year, sending data to R-DNA to provide continuous insight into those water levels, with the aforementioned alarms set for critical points.


At the Stratford International Station end, the problem was of a different nature. An early warning system was needed to report both water level and the presence of hydrocarbons on a small lake not far from the station. Here Van Walt also installed a further hardware telemetry device this time including a hydrocarbon sensor. As soon as hydrocarbons are detected an alarm is raised within R-DNA and emailed to the duty officer.

Network Rail (High Speed) Ltd as the manager of HS1 infrastructure takes delays very seriously. Their well-trained staff identify the problem and look at solutions and we are delighted that we have been a small part of that process. By collecting every 15 minutes with an hourly upload to the R-DNA cloud , the client has a very thorough picture of what is going on, (the graphic presentation can show the events in the last few hours or days to give reassurance) but more importantly but also has ample warning time to initiate any corrective actions. No-one likes to be woken up at unsociable hours, and so having a system such as R-DNA which can be interrogated remotely enables the person on duty to make sensible decisions ahead of donning foul weather and safety gear to go to site. Of course, one of the hidden extra benefits of R-DNA in this instance is that it throws up information which had hitherto been unknown such as, for example, the extent of tidal influences relatively deep inland.

And so on to cost: Technology and digital advances have made this type of system available at a cost which is now, by far, overshadowed by the benefits. Installation is simple, the sensors are accurate, resilient and reliable. These systems can now be configured to measure many different parameters in addition to level, temperature and hydro-carbons, so are suitable for multiple applications and requirements.

For pricing contact us for a discussion about your requirements.



Automating Legionella Control

Automating Legionella Control

The prevention and control of the potentially fatal legionella bacteria is an ongoing challenge for facilities management professionals, especially when managing a large campus with an aging infrastructure. The implications of an outbreak in a healthcare environment, where it is likely to impact those already weakened by illness, would result in a potentially devastating human, financial and legal cost.

Whilst the basic requirements for negating the growth of legionella are fairly straightforward, the regulations for effectively monitoring the environment pose challenges. The basic requirements to avoid contamination by legionella are:

  • Avoid water temperatures between 20 °C and 45°C
  • Avoid stagnant water
  • Avoid allowing the build-up of rust, sludge, scale, algae and other bacteria
  • Treat the water.


Healthcare estate managers have to ensure compliance with the relevant sections of the Health and Safety at Work etc Act 1974 (HSW), the Control of Substances Hazardous to Health Regulations 2002 (COSHH) and Management of Health and Safety at Work Regulations 1999 with regard to the risk from exposure to legionella bacteria.

HSE Guidance in HSG274 part3 recommends that in order to comply with their legal duties employers, duty holders and those who have health and safety responsibilities for others you should:

  • Identify and asses sources of risk
  • Prepare a scheme of prevention or control
  • Implement and manage precautions
  • Keep record of precautions
  • Appoint a manager responsible for others.

In order to comply with the regulations it is necessary to regularly measure the temperature and flow of water within the system, not only at the water tank but at the furthest points of the water system. This is a subtle change to the requirement which now means that testing at the furthest tap in the system is not sufficient.

Primary, secondary and tertiary water circuit testing is a time consuming process and involves deploying qualified personnel to physically visit the various locations across the campus to test the water and record readings.

The associated costs in man hours invested in this activity are often significant, especially when managing a large estate.

The use of technology to automate this activity, improve quality of results and provide a more robust audit trail offers estates managers better control of their resource and manpower can be redirected.

R-DNA provides this automation via our advanced alarm controls, providing configurable parameters for those which can be directed to mobile devices for immediate attention and action (either via email, SMS or the R-DNA Messaging System). In addition to this real-time notification, R-DNA enables estate managers to interrogate the data collected and identify trends which may indicate an incremental risk such as:

  • Reduced flow rates indicating potential build-up of residue in the system
  • Water stagnation due to incomplete tank turnover
  • Changes to water temperature and flow indicating possible system leaks.

Through R-DNA granular user access controls, the manager responsible has complete control of the reporting function via the R-DNA Control Centre, enabling both reflective and pro-active interrogation of the data.

For audit purposes, the system can show a full history of the data collected in order to demonstrate that the risk zone parameters have never been breached, or where a breach has occurred, that the corrective action was taken in a timely manner. In regards to intelligent maintenance and efficiency, the rich data collection provides estate management with a full picture of this safety system in order to plan refurbishment or upgrade work as required.

R-DNA is already in operation at Poole Hospital for the purpose of legionella monitoring and we have also worked closely with the estates team to ensure the needs of this complex campus site were addressed. During an initial site survey, we:

  • Identified location of all components in the network and outlined integration solutions
  • Assessed the site for challenges in delivering a robust wireless network
  • Discussed current building management systems and reporting outputs.

The Poole installation meets the needs of today however the architecture has been designed to facilitate expansion to wider site monitoring without the need to replace the installed configuration. We were able to choose the best COTS equipment to connect the existing hardware in the hospital with the R-DNA servers. This approach provides the estate management with the opportunity for future expansion as the site requirements develop.