Remote Real Time Monitoring of Environmental Water Quality, Phase one - BC-409

Preferred Disciplines: Mechanical Engineering, Chemical/Biological Engineering, Resources & Environmental Management (Masters)
Project length: 4-12 months (1-2 units)
Approx. start date: As soon as possible
Location: Vancouver, BC
No. of Positions: 2
Preferences: None
Company: Empowered Startups Ltd. and TutaBlu Technologies Inc.

About Company:

Empowered Startups Ltd. is a business incubator in downtown Vancouver. We accelerate and incubate innovative international business ideas. We work with driven entrepreneurial leaders capable of building outstanding startups that enhance the prosperity of their chosen ecosystems. This research is in partnership with TutaBlu Technologies Inc., a startup founded by a civil engineer to enable real-time monitoring of our water systems.

Summary of Project:

Current municipal water utility management is very time consuming and requires significant labour to monitor water quality. Water technicians are required to travel daily to different aquifirs and water sources to assess quality and the parameters that are most critical to human health have to be sent to labs and await test results.

This project aims to provide the critical preliminary research in support of developing a proof-of-concept system that remotely monitors and analyzes water quality in real-time. The system will reduce the amount of field time required to measure water quality and reduce time lags between risks entering the water system and alerts to changes in water quality.

Research Objectives/Sub-Objectives:

Part I – Understand current practices

  • What parameters for drinking water are currently regulated to be monitored in North America and what are the thresholds?
  • How are those key parameters currently being tested?
  • What areas of technology are in need of advancement to make reliable real-time monitoring of water quality possible?

Part II – Assess technical feasibility of solution

  • How could TutaBlu theoretically test the key parameters from part I remotely in real-time with sensors?
  • Which sensors most accurately measure in water: temperature, pH, conductivity, dissolved oxygen, turbidity, transparency, colour, total suspended solids?
  • Which sensors  most accurately measure: chlorophyll, dissolved organic carbon, total organic carbon, nitrate, chemical oxygen demand, water level/speed/direction, hydrocarbons, and cyanobacterial.
  • How can we enable real-time remote monitoring and storage of data on water quality?
  • What are the protocal options to transmit data from sensors in the field to technicians for analysis?

Part III – Build and test proof-of-concept system

  • Build to explore if current sensor arrays can be used to monitor, analyze and alert to conditions of water quality in real-time and experiment and to what degree of accuracy
  • Build and test alogirthms to analyze water data to assess potential risks in water quality


    To be determined with the researcher

    Expertise and Skills Needed:

    • Research
    • Water monitoring
    • Embedded systems design
    • Programming,

    For more info or to apply to this applied research position, please

    1. Check your eligibility and find more information about open projects.
    2. Interested students need to get the approval from their supervisor and send their CV along with a link to their supervisor’s university webpage by applying through the webform