From 6 Belgian knights to groundwater monitoring.
Background to installing the monitoring network
Pieter Careel, Production Support Coordinator, at Affligem Brewery: 'The government is very careful about issuing environmental permits for pumping groundwater. We must be able to demonstrate that we use the water for high technology applications, something that brewing beer obviously is. Moreover, the legislature requires that we carefully and closely monitor the wells.'
'These strict regulations are in place because in the past, heavy industry has been careless with pumping groundwater. In some places, textile and carpet factories, for instance, have extracted all the groundwater from the soil.'
There are five active wells and two inactive wells on the site of Affligem. The law prescribes that all these wells must be monitored. One of our water wells is special because it is located at a depth of no less than 280 metres. This well provides the Affligem Brewery of the purest water for its brewing process.
'In the past, we measured the level of the groundwater manually. This is a very labour-intensive and time-consuming process. Therefore, we started looking for a better method to monitor our wells. Another brewery from our group had implemented a monitoring system. However, this was a wired system. Our wells are located far apart. Wiring the wells would have cost us a fortune. That is how we came into contact with Eijkelkamp Soil & Water because you also offer a wireless system.'
“Initially, we purchased one Diver water level logger (groundwater data logger). We used this Diver to monitor the five active wells one by one. However, repeatedly placing the Diver in a well, configuring it and reading it still took a lot of time. Therefore, we were quickly convinced of the added value of also equipping the other four wells with Divers. We also provided all locations with a Global Data Transmitter Single (modem). Law requires us to perform one measurement per day. However, we measure every four hours. Not only do we report as part of our legal obligation, we also gain a lot more insight into our processes.'
'We must monitor wells when they are in operation as well as when they are not. However, the only times the wells for the cleaning water are not being used is during the weekend. Previously, that meant an employee sometimes had to perform a manual measurement on a Sunday afternoon. Now this process is fully automated, and no one needs to go to the brewery just to perform a measurement.'
How did Eijkelkamp Soil & Water make the difference?
The supply, installation and setting up of the groundwater monitoring network allow Pieter Careel to verify the situation of the wells on the Affligem site at any time of the day. To make this possible, Eijkelkamp Soil & Water has equipped the five wells with Diver water level loggers and a Global Data Transmitter Single. The Global Data Transmitter Single telemetrically transmits groundwater data to the Eijkelkamp Web Portal.
In 1074, six Belgian knights swap their swords for monk’s robes and they dedicate their lives to peace. Their first task? Building an abbey in the Belgian village of Affligem. Shortly after this, the monks start brewing beer in the abbey. More than 900 years later, the Affligem brewery still exists and is now part of the Heineken brewery group. The Affligem Brewery is characterised by high fermentation beers. Affligem wins many awards for its beer. The most recent award was that of 'World's Best Pale Beer 2016'.