Turbidity describes the cloudiness, or clarity, of a liquid. It is a principal indicator of water quality, sensitive to any suspended solids present. Prior work has identified the lack of low-cost turbidity monitoring as a significant hurdle to overcome to improve water quality in many domains, especially in the developing world. Low-cost hand-held benchtop meters have been proposed. This work adapts and verifies the technology for continuous monitoring. Lab tests show the low-cost continuous monitor can achieve 1 nephelometric turbidity unit (NTU) accuracy in the range 0–100 NTU and costs approximately 64 USD in components to construct. This level of accuracy yields useful and actionable data about water quality and may be sufficient in certain applications where cost is a primary constraint. A 38-day continuous monitoring trial, including a step change in turbidity, showed promising results with a median error of
NTU for two different monitors. However, some noise was present in the readings resulting in a standard deviation of
NTU, respectively. The cause was primarily attributed to ambient light and bubbles in the piping. By controlling these noise sources, we believe the low-cost continuous turbidity monitor could be a useful tool in multiple domains.
This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License
which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited