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Water tank sensors at residential buildings to monitor quality

THE local water authority will begin installing sensors on the water tanks at residential buildings to monitor tap water quality around the clock by 2020, officials said today.

The sensors will evaluate the water temperature, the amounts of chlorine, PH level, and mud and send the data back to the water authority, which will send workers to clean the tank if any problems are detected.

"After the sensors are installed around 2020, the nearby water company will take full charge of the water quality of water tanks to ensure the safety of tap water," an official with the Shanghai Water authority said.

Previously, the property management authority shifted responsibility to the water authority when water tanks had quality problems.

Shanghai has a total of 120,000 water tanks, mostly on top of residential buildings that supply tap water to each apartment.

Though the property management companies often clean water tanks, some residents, especially those in old residential houses, still complain their tap water has some smell.

The property management company typically argue they have cleaned the water tank according to stipulation, but the water authority later finds the water tank is contaminated.

The residents need not pay for the installation of sensors because the cost will be covered by the water authority. But considering the huge cost for over 120,000 sensors, the authority will install some sensors at the water tank that serves a whole community to save on costs, the official said.

The authority has begun testing the monitoring system at the former site for the World Expo 2010 in Pudong New Area. Five sensors were installed in a rectangle water tank while an air conditioner kept the temperature between 22 and 25 degrees Celsius.

The sensors sent back data around the clock to the water authority and the city government.

Some 90 such sensors have been installed in Pudong in a test operation, said the Pudong Veolia Water Corporation that supplies water to over 4 million residents.

The sensor installation is part of a citywide campaign to establish an electronic system that can monitor the water quantity and quality all the way between the water company and the residents' homes, the water authority said.

The system can start functioning in 2017, when some residential buildings will become the first to be monitored.


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