Protecting our drinking water: AQUAVALENS research project

Protecting our drinking water: AQUAVALENS research project

Published On 23/08/2018

AQUAVALENS (‘healthy water’) is a collaborative project funded by the European Union ( UKWIR is participating in this project through the support it provides to WRc as a partner in the project consortium.

A recent workshop, chaired by UKWIR’s Project Lead on drinking water, Yorkshire Water's John Haley, disseminated the findings from this five year £9m project.

The project had the mission of protecting the health of European citizens from contaminated drinking water and water used in food processing.

The project has involved thirty nine partners from small and medium size businesses, universities and research institutes.

Additionally it connects a multi-disciplinary team of scientist, engineers, public health practitioners and policy makers from thirteen countries across Europe.

AQUAVALENS was centred on the concept of developing suitable platforms that harness the advances in new molecular techniques to permit the routine detection of waterborne pathogens and improve the provision of hygienically safe water for drinking and food production.

This new approach led to advancements to the current time-consuming microbiological techniques, which are based on the cultivation of indicator bacteria.

Adapting existing technologies

The key focus was to adopt and, where appropriate, adapt existing technologies to develop the new detection systems.

A universal platform to detect bacteria, viruses and protozoa was developed and validated then tested with samples from water treatment works.

The results showed that some of the technologies developed were suitable for adoption by water companies.

The outputs and knowledge gained from this work should allow water companies to more easily assess the robustness of water treatment in terms of the microbiological quality of drinking water, and identify which catchments and activities pose the greatest risks.

Helping companies with disinfection

An UKWIR workshop was held at Cranfield University in June to disseminate the findings of the UKWIR supported PhD Identification of Treatment Conditions which Minimise DBP Formation, being carried out by Cranfield University’s Erin Losty.

The opportunity also was taken to have a number of closely related presentations that were followed by detailed discussions on the wider issues relating to the research.

Professor Cristina Villanueva Belmonte from ISGlobal at the Barcelona Institute for Global Health was the special guest.

Her presentation DBP Exposure and Health Effects from an Epidemiological Perspective reflected the Institute’s long-term commitment to the subject.

This was followed by Dr Tom Bond from the University of Surrey who gave the background to the Formation and Control of Disinfection By-products.

There were further academic presentations from Cranfield University researchers. Dr Chrissa Sfynia dealt with Minimisation of Regulated and Unregulated DBPs in Drinking Water at Anglian Water and Dr Emma Goslan looked at Natural DBPs in Scottish Water.

John Haley in discussion with Professor Belmonde

John Haley