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Buyers in the sewer flow meter market must sort through bewildering claims of meter accuracy. These claims may or may not be substantiated with test results. When test results are provided, comparison from one manufacturer to the next is made difficult by the variety of testing conditions and protocols. Objectivity of the test results may be questionable. Without objective and comparable data, the buying decision is reduced, in large part, to trust and reputation.

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (USEPA) established the Environmental Technology Verification (ETV) Program in October 1995 to verify the performance of innovative technologies applied to problems that threaten human health or the environment, and to accelerate the entrance of new environmental technologies into the marketplace. In September 2000, the ETV Wet Weather Flows (WWF) Pilot administered by USEPA's Verification Partner, NSF International (NSF), developed a testing protocol for the verification of flow meters for applications in small- and medium-sized sewers. The first two flow meters tested were from ADS Environmental Services (ADS). From the viewpoint of the first participants, this paper contends that purchasers should recognize ETV verification as a necessary source of reliable, informative and comparative performance data when procuring flow meters.

The flow meter protocol requires a manufacturer's participation in laboratory and field tests. The manufacturer's commitment occurs through written agreement with USEPA's verification partner organization to provide equipment for testing, provide technical staff to assist the testing organizations, and contribution towards the test expenses.

The development and use of a common Testing Protocol assures that no monitor can gain a comparative advantage by statistical tactics such as averaging or eliminating outliers. The tests are performed under a range of conditions so that no manufacturer can exclude testing under conditions not in their monitor's optimal flow conditions. The results represent the most complete, accurate, unbiased source of comparative flow monitor performance data currently available. Participation in the ETV Program by all major flow monitor manufacturers will serve to provide a broad source of data that vendors and consumers can utilize in the marketplace. An ultimate goal of the ETV Program is for consumers to require third-party verification reports as a necessary reference in awarding flow monitor procurements.
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Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: 2003-01-01

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