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CSIRO masters real-time groundwater monitoring with new tool

The CSIRO has developed a new sensor system to make groundwater monitoring faster, more reliable and less labour intensive.

CSIRO Research Leader Kathie McGregor said the SENSEI system can replace manual monitoring techniques to collect information on pH levels, reduction potential, temperature and conductivity.

“SENSEI is an automated system that delivers reliable groundwater data in real time, saving companies time and money on labour from traditional manual monitoring approaches,” she said.

The unit is equipped with the CSIRO’s patented pH sensor and can be embedded in groundwater wells and aquifers, where it will deliver data for months without the need for maintenance. 

McGregor said it will be particularly useful for mining operators, who can receive real-time alerts about environmental issues. 

It has been trialled at Heathgate Resources’ Four Mile West mine in South Australia, where its ability to withstand extreme environments was put to the test.

“Because data can be accessed immediately on-site or remotely via the cloud, the user has the ability to detect any anomalies quickly and take action as soon as possible,” McGregor said.

“We’ve been able to test SENSEI’s performance in a real-world setting and are pleased to report the system is still operational after almost 12 months of testing in the field.”

Although it was designed and tested for use in groundwater monitoring, she said the SENSEI system could be adapted for other applications that need chemical and physical monitoring.

The CSIRO is now looking for partners to bring the technology to market.