Effluent sampling can be an expensive requirement for businesses which are required to conduct it as part of their consent to discharge permit. Unfortunately there are a number of factors which can push this cost up further, including poor installation practice, lack of maintenance and opting for units which aren’t user-friendly. We visit sites across the UK and regularly identify issues that are costing customers money and compromising the accuracy of results. Here are our top 10 things that can go wrong with effluent sampling – and how to avoid them.

1. The sampler isn’t being correctly maintained

Unsurprisingly given the level of effluent they deal with, wastewater samplers get dirty easily and require regular cleaning. If your sampler unit isn’t being properly maintained then it can cause a whole host of issues which can result in missed samples, inaccurate results, and damage to the unit. Not only does it make the sampler unpleasant to work with, allowing parts such as the level detection pins to become dirty causes conductivity issues where they are unable to detect effluent and will continue to allow the jar to fill, resulting in overflow which can cause serious damage to the pump and internal electronics.

Our wastewater samplers are designed to be maintained easily, without the need for a technician to come out to site. Other units can be more difficult to access and clean, or large and heavy to move. Our units are compact and easy to access, making regular cleaning simple and straightforward. Read our guide to cleaning your vacuum sampler.

2. Effluent sampling parts can’t be replaced easily

When parts fail on a wastewater sampler, replacing them can be a time-consuming and complicated procedure. Our sampler units are designed to allow the easy replacement of individual parts, for example hoses which can periodically split with use, minimising downtime and costs to the business.

3. The unit isn’t user-friendly

It might sound like common sense but you’d be surprised how many effluent sampling units aren’t built in a way that is straightforward to use for both technicians and on-site operators.

Simple things like opting for a sturdy non-breakable polycarbonate vacuum chamber instead of glass, which can be easily broken if dropped instead (and they do get dropped – they’re slippery!) and having enough space to work inside the unit when wearing gloves make our units much more user-friendly and easy to work with.

4. Your effluent sampling system isn’t built to suit your needs

Every site is different and an “one size fits all” approach won’t produce the best results for your business. Our wastewater samplers allow for greater flexibility and the versatility to build a system which is fully suited to your needs. We will always spend time understanding the individual requirements of your site prior to any sale, which allows us to make tailored recommendations and set up the unit based on your bespoke specifications.

We offer both in-line and vacuum units, with bottle systems available in configurations of 2, 4, 12 and 24, depending on your requirements. The 2 and 4 options are used for daily composite sampling while 12 or 24 bottle systems tend to be used when locating process faults in the discharge.

5. There’s no refrigeration unit

Effluent contains Biological Oxygen Demand (BOD), which must be kept cold in order to be effectively measured. SIRIS samplers feature a reliable refrigeration unit with a robust thermoplastic enclosure and secure locking door to ensure it remains sealed at all times.

6. The hose is clogged

Sampling hoses can become clogged easily, preventing wastewater from being drawn into the unit. Our hoses are tapered, creating a narrower opening at the end that sits within the effluent to prevent large particles which can cause blockages from being sucked in. You’ll also find a sinker weight attached to the hose which effectively holds the hose end in the water and makes it easy to pick up and check for any blockages.

7. The distribution arm breaks easily

The distribution arm is the mechanism which rotates the sampling function between bottles. These can be flimsy, poorly constructed and break easily, stopping the arm from moving to the next bottle and disrupting the sampling process. Our units feature simple and strong mechanical arm which is much more reliable than a standard arm.

8. Effluent sampling system isn’t correctly synced with flow meter

This is typically an issue we see when the sampler has been installed by a company without an in-depth understanding of flow measurement. In order to get the most accurate results, it’s essential that your sampling system is set up in line with your flow meter and takes samples at the correct times.

9. You aren’t getting the right support from your supplier

Whens something goes wrong, you need to be sure that you have the right support to get things up and running again as quickly as possible. We’ve heard horror stories from customers who have raised sampler issues with their suppliers, only to wait up to four months for an engineer to come to site. We pride ourselves on providing a high level of care to our customers, and are always available to offer support and guidance. When we install your system, we’ll also take time to make sure you understand how to use it and keep it maintained, to avoid unnecessary issues arising later.

10. Poor installation

There are a variety of things that can go wrong when a wastewater sampler has been installed incorrectly – from using the wrong type of sampler (for example, we would never recommend using a vacuum sampler for an above-ground pipe installation), to positioning the vacuum hose too high, or not using the correct pipework. The only way to make sure that your sampler is working correctly is to get it installed by an experienced expert who has a full understanding of flow measurement and can make any necessary adjustments.

Our view on effluent sampling

The bottom line is that we are confident that you simply won’t experience any of the above issues when you opt for a SIRIS sampler and installation. Our samplers are robust, reliable and are flexible enough to be set-up in line with your requirements. Ultimately, a correctly installed system supported by a team of experts is the only way to be sure you are getting a cost-effective and reliable system.

To discuss your requirements, get in touch with our friendly team on 0191 5131313, or email hello@siris.co.uk.

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