An Integrated Project Funded by the European Commission under the Sustainable Development, Global Change and Ecosystems Thematic Priority Area.
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Contract Number: 018320
Project Cordinator: Dr. Theo van den Hoven KIWA Water Research
Project Duration: 1st January 2006 to 31st December 2010

WA3 'Monitoring and control technologies for high quality water supply'

Rationale

Fast, sensitive and reliable monitoring and control technologies are indispensable for the production of safe drinking water. They allow for the surveillance of source water quality and the detection of biological and chemical threats, thus defining the boundary conditions for the subsequent treatment and providing early-warning in case of unexpected contaminations; they are mandatory for the permanent control of the treatment process and the efficacy of each single treatment step, and they safeguard the high quality of the finished water. Furthermore, appropriate analytical techniques are indispensable for the detection of changes in water quality during distribution and for monitoring drinking water quality at consumers’ tap. Reliable monitoring technologies contribute to a large extent to the consumers’ trust in a high drinking water quality. Following the overall objective of the TECHNEAU project, the major objective of WA3 is to provide a set of analytical techniques and methods that ensure the provision of safe high quality drinking water that has the trust of the consumers.

Today, requirements for monitoring technologies to be used for high quality water supply are enormous: They should offer the ability to detect a large number of biological and chemical contaminants whereby the list of target analytes is increasing day-to-day. They should give immediate answer to any disturbance in source water quality as well as to any malfunction within the treatment process. Early-warning systems may be used by water suppliers to detect sudden changes in source water quality and may provide information necessary to implement appropriate responses such as closing intakes or changing treatment options. Especially river waters are susceptible to rapid disruptions in quality as a result of accidental, intentional, or natural contamination. To protect consumers from potentially harmful contaminants, to avoid disruptions in the treatment process, and to ensure compliance with regulations, water suppliers must respond rapidly to spills and sudden pollution events and make appropriate adjustments in drinking water treatment and operations. Monitoring and control technologies should be easy to use, should require a low level of maintenance but for all that should be robust and sensitive. Furthermore, requirements for appropriate monitoring technologies can not be generalised but have to be defined on a case-to-case basis taking into account the special situation of a water supply including vulnerability of raw water source, size of the water supply, and status of the treatment train and the distribution system.

 

Methodology

Within WA3, monitoring technologies that safeguard the production of high quality drinking water will be investigated. Existing monitoring technologies will be evaluated according to their suitability for application in controlling water quality in the whole drinking water production process. Evaluation criteria will not only be analytical parameters like sensitivity or reproducibility but will include criteria like ease-of-use, robustness, maintenance, and costs. Latest results from ongoing research projects in this field will be followed and will also be included in the evaluation process. In addition to this, new and innovative monitoring technologies like effect-related DNA-arrays or Electronic nose technology will be developed, optimised and tested. Criteria for selection of technologies will be novelty and degree of innovation but also the demands of water suppliers.

In consequence of this approach, monitoring technologies considered in WA3 will meet the demands of drinking water suppliers and will address current and future threats. Special emphasis will be put on on-line technologies, which can be used for early-warning purposes, on molecular methods, that allow for effect-related analysis and advanced chemical monitoring. The technologies under development are expected to be highly complementary. On-line technologies will provide fast, almost in-time response to an unwanted situation such as a sudden contamination of the source water or a malfunction of a treatment step within the drinking water production process. Within this context, the use of on-line monitors as early-warning systems and the possibilities of using appropriate monitoring technologies for prevention against deliberate contamination or terrorism will be elaborated. Technologies that will be used and evaluated include automated biomonitoring systems, electronic tongues and noses, sensors, and UV spectroscopy. These broad and often relatively unselective early-warning systems will be complemented by laboratory-based technologies that will identify high potency pollutants and pathogens that are of special concern.

Taking into account the “source-to-tap” approach of the TECHNEAU project, WA3 will cover source water monitoring as well as analytical options for process control and surveillance of drinking water quality and changes during distribution. This approach reflects the WHO concept for risk assessment and risk management recommending the use of monitoring technologies to evaluate the efficacy of control measures (treatment processes; hygiene procedures etc.). The structure of WA3 and the definition of Work packages (WPs) will consequently not be based on single technologies but will follow the “source-to-tap” approach, enabling an easy linking to other Work Areas and supporting the embedding of single analytical technologies into the overall framework. Technologies under development, however, should not be limited to single fields of application but a broad range of applications will be aspired. Some of the technologies under investigation will therefore be included in more than one WP, thus forming a link between the different WPs. The overall structure of WA3, the interrelation between the different WPs as well as between WA3 and other WAs can be seen from the following figure.

 

Objectives

  • Prioritisation of parameters and technologies in an integrated framework for monitoring water quality from source to tap
  • Methods for monitoring source water quality with respect to biological and chemical threats
  • Monitoring technologies for control of the drinking water production process
  • Analytical tools for monitoring drinking water quality
  • Technologies for monitoring quality changes during distribution
  • Testing of monitoring technologies