Technology: Computer keeps track of pollution on the Rhine

日期:2019-02-28 07:14:07 作者:艾娄濮 阅读:

By PETER STINKS in AMSTERDAM THE DUTCH national water authority, Rijkswaterstaat, has installed a computer system that continuously checks the levels of pollution in the Rhine and Meuse rivers. The system, called Aqualarm, sets off a warning signal if the amount of effluents in the rivers rise above set levels. It cost Pounds sterling 1 million and was developed by the British software firm Scicon. The Rhine, which rises in the Alps, discharges into the North Sea a noxious cocktail of waste, particularly chemical effluent, from companies situated along the river’s meandering route through Switzerland, Liechtenstein, Austria, France, West Germany and the Netherlands. At Rotterdam, the river annually dumps some 10 million cubic metres of silt, which the authorities must remove. But the silt is so contaminated it cannot be deposited at sea, but must be kept in a special dump. Aqualarm uses computers to gather information from instruments that measure water quality at seven of 12 stations along the 350 kilometres of river tributaries. Three of these lie at critical junctions – Lobith, Eijsden and Stevensweert – where the Rhine and the Meuse enter the Netherlands from West Germany and Belgium. The instruments tied to Aqualarm perform routine measurements on pollution indicators, from mineral and chemical content to oxygen concentration, temperature and acidity. The computers then feed the data into a central computer at the offices of Rijkswaterstaat. An alarm is triggered when measurements exceed the threshold set for a certain station. The station manager must acknowledge receipt of the alarm within a certain time, generally 20 minutes, otherwise the alarm diverts to a nearby station for action. The system, which regularly checks the accuracy of its measuring instruments,