20 Year Old Level Sensing Technology Resurfaces in Small Pump Stations in the UK

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The MultiTrode conductive level sensing probe was first released in the mid 1980's and has been used extensively in the US and Australia, with 200,000 installed. It was only recently introduced into the UK and has already been adopted by many pump distributors and contractors.

Conductive probe installation at Wessex

Most people moved away from conductive rods here a long time ago because they always had buildup problems. By contrast the MultiTrode probe hangs near the inflow so it stays relatively clean and because it is not attached to the wall of the wetwell there's nothing to pick up any buildup.

The MultiTrode conductive probe was developed to handle the challenge of measuring level reliably in the harsh and unforgiving environment of sewerage and wastewater. Most other level devices at the time were unreliable in wastewater. While new technologies have come along and existing ones have improved, there are still many applications which require a simple but very reliable solution.

MultiTrode only recently introduced their probe to the UK.

Sam Adcock, from Hersham Engineering on the Isle of Man, said: "We first saw the MultiTrode conductive probe at FM Environmental's premises in Ireland; on first look, it seemed to overcome many of the problems of ball floats and conductive rods, whilst at the same time offering a much simpler install than an ultrasonic. So we retrofitted the probe in some Flygt Compits - small packaged pump stations, the problem in the Compit was the lack of space meant that the ball floats would often tangle up, or get caught on top of the pump.

"The 3-sensor (0.5/3-10) probe combined with the MTR relay was tried out and worked so well that we ended up standardising on it. We now supply the 3-sensor (0.5/3-10) probe combined with a MTPC controller with the Flygt Compit as our standard dual pump sewage package station. For the more integrated pump station, we combine the probe with the Multismart pump station manager giving the best solution possible for any pump station."

Stuart Duncan, GM of MultiTrode UK added, "The UK water industry has generally standardised on ultrasonics for water and wastewater pump stations. With our focus on control and monitoring for that market we hadn't launched the probe. So the response from general industry to this technology has been very encouraging. And we have also found that many small and narrow wastewater utility pump stations also have 'temperamental' level sensing solutions, so even some of the water/wastewater utilties have begun installing MultiTrode probes.

"Most people moved away from conductive rods here a long time ago because they always had buildup problems. By contrast the MultiTrode probe hangs near the inflow so it stays relatively clean and because it is not attached to the wall of the wetwell there's nothing to pick up any buildup."

The MultiTrode probe comes as 10-sensor, 3-sensor and single sensor versions in a range of standard lengths. Because it has no moving parts and no electronics it almost never fails, with many still operating after 20 years of service. The simplicity of technology means that no specialist skills are needed to install or troubleshoot.

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Steve Carson
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