Environmental Stewardship and Compliance in the Digital Age

As human existence has advanced so have the challenges presented by such progress. This has not been more evident than in the balancing act between industrialization and environmental stewardship.  Over the past 50+ years there has been a focus in the United States on balancing the economic benefits of industrialization with the basic human needs of a clean environment.   Government regulation such as the Clean Water Act and Clean Air Act have been the primary vehicles whereby industrial organizations have been held accountable for pollution control.  This regulation has had a positive impact on the environment, and industry has continued to innovate to insure compliance and reduce costs.  Heavy industrial operations such as mining, metals, and energy are faced with a new challenge, continued innovation in the face of record low commodity prices that have forced a reduction in budgets used for innovation.  Aridea Solutions has addressed this challenge by developing solutions that bring the Internet of Things (IoT) to environmental stewardship and compliance while helping to drive down the cost of these activities. 

Currently the prevalent methodologies for insuring compliance in most industrial operations involves either manual sampling or remote data logging.  These methods are widely accepted by regulators and industry as being the best available technology, but both have constraints. 

Manual sampling involves sending workers into possible hazardous environments to retrieve environmental samples that are then delivered to a lab for analysis and reporting.  This methodology brings a high level of confidence in results but is very costly due to the required labor. Manual sampling also only provides a sample in time of the parameters being measured.  This can result in the lack of a clear picture of environmental compliance across broader weather and time cycles. 

Remote data logging involves placing electronic data loggers connected to sensors that take measurements to be retrieved by workers at predetermined intervals such as weekly, bi-weekly or monthly by connecting computers to the data loggers.  This method is more cost effective than manual sampling due to a reduction in required labor but has its own challenges.  The primary challenge for remote data logging is the lack of data integrity and loss of samples.  For example, if the data logger loses power or retrieves out of range measurements the environmental worker will not know of these problems until they visit the site for data retrieval which could result in up to a month of useless data and could result in regulatory enforcement action. 

Aridea Solutions has developed a unique offering that combines the confidence of manual samples with the cost benefits of data logging.  The Aridea Solutions platform utilizes Internet of Things technology that allow for low power long range communications and data collection.  The Aridea environmental solution can measure environmental parameters as often as every 5 minutes and report the results in real-time through Aridea’s ThingInformer software that is provided as a service to customers.  Aridea’s solution has advanced algorithms that can identify possible data inconsistencies by analyzing previous results to learn trends from all external conditions, which results in accurate data collection and analysis.  The solution monitors not only the environmental parameters required by industry and regulators, it also monitors the health of each sensor and communications gateway to insure that the data is timely and accurate.  Aridea Solutions allows environmental engineers and technicians better resources to measure and analyze their existing parameters, and also provides time to focus on delivering better environmental outcomes for the communities in which they work.