Real-time condition monitoring and early warning of failure of potable water using novel fluorescence spectroscopy instrumentation

Lead Research Organisation: University of Sheffield
Department Name: Civil and Structural Engineering

Abstract

The Water Industry Act, the Water Supply (Water Quality) Regulations and the Private Water Supplies Regulations place a duty on water companies to supply water that is wholesome at the time and point of supply. It is a criminal offence to supply water that is unfit for human consumption. Wholesomeness is defined by reference to prescribed concentrations assigned to various microbiological, chemical and physical parameters. Prescribed concentrations or values for microbiological parameters rely on indicator organisms, such as coliform bacteria, E. coli and colony counts. In addition to meeting standards, water must not contain any micro-organism or parasite at a concentration which would constitute a potential danger to human health. To help safeguard quality of water supply, there is an urgent national and international need to provide novel real-time water quality assessment tools and techniques. It is proposed here that an innovative solution to this issue is to exploit the fluorescence characteristics of drinking water through the development of novel instrumentation. All water fluoresces; however most of the fluorescence is emitted in the ultraviolet, so it is invisible to the human eye. However, off-the-shelf equipment can detect this fluorescence. Previous work has identified relationships between fluorescence and river (i.e. raw) water quality. Specifically, it has been shown that fluorescence emitted at 340-370 nm under excitation at 220-240nm or 270-280nm (tryptophan-like fluorescence) is indicative of microbial activity, whilst fluorescence emitted at 400-480nm under excitation at 300-360nm (fulvic-like fluorescence) is indicative of the presence of organic carbon. The sensitivity of fluorescence spectroscopy to microbial material presents the opportunity to effect a major step change in water quality assessment techniques, moving beyond the dated and limited use of indicator organisms, to enhance security of supply to customers. This project focuses on the design, rigorous testing (progressing from bench top to field prototype) and implementation of the first all-LED dual peak potable water quality assessment tool for deployment within water distribution systems. This would represent a significant advance in the real-time assessment of water quality and proactive management of potable water distribution systems.The potential application and benefits of the impacts from this research are significant. The project's deliverables will have a direct impact upon:1. the nation's health (through its improvements to network supply and management of safe water resources) and2. the nation's wealth through cost savings achieved through optimisation of sampling and analysis of networks and an anticipated reduction in analysis costs compared to current approaches.The beneficiaries of these impacts are diverse and include:1. the general public,2. the commercial private sector (e.g. instrument manufacturers and private water companies),3. regulators (e.g. in the UK the Environment Agency and the Drinking Water Inspectorate),4. legislators and planners, 5. UK-based and international academics.

Publications

10 25 50

 
Description A dual wavelength LED based, battery powered, portable prototype device has been developed and proven for the measurement of potable water quality. The device;



- Works in either discrete or continuous modes of operation.

- Gives near real time measurements.

- Is suitable for use in-situ, outside laboratory conditions.

- Provides a single indicative value assessment of organic (peak C) and microbial (peak T) content of water.

- Operates over a wide range of fluorescence, hence applicable to waters found through potable and waste water systems.

- Provides excellent correlation with a proven bench top device for both peaks.

- Provides excellent correlation to total organic carbon, with potential shown for microbial surrogate measures.
Exploitation Route The device has multiple potential uses within the water industry, in both water and waste water applications. It could be deployed to provide a rapid, cost effective and robust indication of:



- Organic and microbial matter in potable water distribution systems

- Identification of potential ingress into service reservoirs

- Identification of misconnections

- BOD and COD at different stages within wastewater treatment

- River water quality for use at, or upstream of, water treatment works abstraction points or downstream of wastewater treatment discharge points

- Bathing water quality

- Combined Sewer Overflow spills

- Disinfection by-product formation potential at water treatment works and water distribution systems.



The device also adds value to academic research involving the use of LED based fluorescence instrumentation for the assessment of water quality.
Sectors Environment

 
Description The device developed has been utilized at prototype stage for a number of applications across water supply systems including treatment works, service reservoirs and distribution systems by all three collaborating water companies. Results of these applications have yield benefits and informed initial benefit assessments. A follow on funding project is in progress to further develop the device for application by water companies including instrumentation supplier partners.
First Year Of Impact 2013
Sector Environment,Other
Impact Types Economic

 
Description Follow on funding via University of Birmingham Impact Accelorator Account
Amount £90,000 (GBP)
Organisation University of Birmingham 
Sector Academic/University
Country United Kingdom
Start 06/2014 
End 06/2015
 
Description Collaboration with Northumbrian Water 
Organisation Northumbrian Water
Country United Kingdom 
Sector Private 
PI Contribution Collaboration with Severn Trent Water / United Utilities / Northumbrian Water throughout the course of the project in the application of the created technology to real world treatment and supply conditions (e.g. collection and monitoring of sample waters).
Collaborator Contribution Membership of steering committee, direction, advice, comparative analysis and field testing
Impact Field testing leading to reports, publications and follow on funding
Start Year 2011
 
Description Collaboration with Severn Trent Water 
Organisation Severn Trent Water
Country United Kingdom 
Sector Private 
PI Contribution Collaboration with Severn Trent Water / United Utilities / Northumbrian Water throughout the course of the project in the application of the created technology to real world treatment and supply conditions (e.g. collection and monitoring of sample waters).
Collaborator Contribution Membership of steering committee, direction, advice, comparative analysis and field testing
Impact Field testing and comparative analysis leading to reports, publications and further funding
Start Year 2011
 
Description Collaboration with United Utilities 
Organisation United Utilities Group PLC
Country United Kingdom 
Sector Public 
PI Contribution Collaboration with Severn Trent Water / United Utilities / Northumbrian Water throughout the course of the project in the application of the created technology to real world treatment and supply conditions (e.g. collection and monitoring of sample waters).
Collaborator Contribution Membership of steering committee, direction, advice, comparative analysis and field testing
Impact Field testing and comparative analysis leading to reports, publications and further funding
Start Year 2011
 
Title Fully functional prototype device constructed and tested 
Description A fully functional dual wavelength LED based, battery powered, portable prototype device has been developed and proven for the measurement of potable water quality. 
Type Of Technology Physical Model/Kit 
Year Produced 2012 
Impact Stimulated new thinking and capability for measuring water quality in real time in situ 
 
Title Improved measurement of peak C and peak T fluorescence using a portable, battery powered LED device 
Description The project has advanced the use of LED based technology for the measurement of peak C and peak T fluorescence in both discrete and continuous modes of operation. 
Type Of Technology New/Improved Technique/Technology 
Year Produced 2012 
Impact Stimulated new thinking and capability for the real time insitu measurement of drinking water quality 
 
Description Diageo Foundation 25 Year Impact Report Lauch Event 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Industry/Business
Results and Impact Presentation of latest prototype of water quality analyser at the Diageo Foundation's launch of its 25 year report. This project was the only one selected for showcasing throughout the evening. Attendees included Diageo staff, NGOs and charities, including Wateraid and Care.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2017
URL http://www.diageo.com/en-row/newsmedia/pages/resource.aspx?resourceid=3049
 
Description Filtration and Separation 
Form Of Engagement Activity A press release, press conference or response to a media enquiry/interview
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Professional Practitioners
Results and Impact Result of press release by University of Birmingham.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2016
URL http://www.filtsep.com/view/44267/birmingham-water-experts-develop-device-to-save-lives/
 
Description Finesse Control Systems ltd opportunities scoping 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Industry/Business
Results and Impact Presentation and initial discussions around commercialisation of water quality device, possibly with production based in Malawi to stimulate local economy.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2017
 
Description Fishermans Rest Presentation 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Third sector organisations
Results and Impact Presentation to Fisherman's Rest / FROM Wales. FROM Wales monitors borehole activity in more than 10,000 boreholes in Malawi and hopes to increase this to 40,000 over the next few years. The charity is interested in using the water quality device to monitor quality at those borehole sites.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2017
 
Description IWA NATURAL ORGANIC MATTER SPECIALIST CONFERENCE 2013 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Type Of Presentation paper presentation
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Professional Practitioners
Results and Impact Oral presentation at the IWA NATURAL ORGANIC MATTER SPECIALIST CONFERENCE - NOM 5 Down Under. Led to international interest and awareness

Follow up interest from international researchers and water companies
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2013
 
Description Interview with Voice of America 
Form Of Engagement Activity Engagement focused website, blog or social media channel
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Media (as a channel to the public)
Results and Impact Interview given to Voice of America on need for rapid water quality analysis and how EPSRC funding has helped in the development of a novel device.

Voice of America (VOA) is the largest U.S. international broadcaster, providing news and information in more than 40 languages to an estimated weekly audience of 236.6 million people. VOA produces content for digital, television, and radio platforms. It is easily accessed via your mobile phone and on social media. It is also distributed by satellite, cable, FM and MW, and is carried on a network of more than 2300 affiliate stations. Thus, its reach is vast.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2015
URL http://www.voanews.com/a/new-device-tests-water-safety-in-seconds/3345158.html
 
Description Micropol and Ecohazards 2013 conference - Zurich 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Type Of Presentation paper presentation
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Professional Practitioners
Results and Impact Poster presented at IWA Micropollants and Ecohazards 2013 conference in Zurich detailing key findings from the project.

The 8th IWA Specialist Conference on Assessment and Control of Micropollutants/Hazardous Substances in Water

Interest from international researchers
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2013
 
Description Pioneer Article 
Form Of Engagement Activity A magazine, newsletter or online publication
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Other audiences
Results and Impact Article published in EPSRC Pioneer magazine.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2016
URL https://www.epsrc.ac.uk/newsevents/pubs/pioneer16/
 
Description Presentation at st SWIG Sensing in Water bi-annual conference 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach National
Primary Audience Professional Practitioners
Results and Impact talk sparked questions and discussion and requests for information

Interest from supply chain and water companies
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2011
 
Description SWIG conference 2013 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Type Of Presentation paper presentation
Geographic Reach National
Primary Audience Professional Practitioners
Results and Impact Oral presentation at the SWIG conference 2013. Led to discussions with supply chain.

Interest from supply chain
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2013
 
Description Severn Trent - Lunch and Learn session 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach Regional
Primary Audience Professional Practitioners
Results and Impact 20 minute oral presentation given to staff (approx. 20) in Severn Trent Water's clean and dirty water process operations, summarizing work and key findings. Followed by 15 minute question and answer session. Talked led to interest and further testing with severn trent.

Company awareness of project
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2013
 
Description Severn Trent Water - Stakeholder dissemination event of research outcomes 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach Regional
Primary Audience Professional Practitioners
Results and Impact Presentation / question and answer session to middle management at Severn Trent Water on the key findings of the project and the operational benefits to the company.

water company interest
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2013
 
Description University of Birmingham Press Release 
Form Of Engagement Activity A press release, press conference or response to a media enquiry/interview
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Public/other audiences
Results and Impact Press release from University of Birmingham Press Office generated significant interest and requests for further information. Story picked up and reported across at least 34 separate websites across the world, including the UK, United States of America, China, India, Canada, South Africa, Australia, Indonesia, Turkey, Cambodia.

http://wwtonline.co.uk/features/rapid-low-cost-water-quality-assessment-for-all
http://www.wateractive.co.uk/news/birmingham_water_experts_develop_device_to_save_lives
http://www.huaxunnsw.com/health/huanbao/146605450317634.html
http://www.eenaduindia.com/News/International/2016/05/17173545/UK-water-experts-develop-device-to-help-save-lives.vpf
http://www.noodls.com/view/733D317668E5681B386FB7302429AFFC876B2BF6
http://www.financialexpress.com/article/india-news/water-experts-develop-device-to-help-save-lives-in-india/257876/
http://www.publicnow.com/view/733D317668E5681B386FB7302429AFFC876B2BF6
http://www.indiablooms.com/ibns_new/health-details/S/1752/birmingham-water-experts-develop-device-to-help-save-lives-in-india.html
http://www.newkerala.com/news/2016/fullnews-64896.html
http://www.asianage.com/technomics/uk-water-experts-develop-device-save-lives-india-384
http://huntnews.in/p/detail/4253145791164409?uc_param_str=dnfrpfbivesscpgimibtbmntnijblauputoggdnw&pos=1463519022333&channel=tag_headlines&chncat=tags_english
http://www.business-standard.com/article/pti-stories/uk-water-experts-develop-device-to-help-save-lives-in-india-116051700838_1.html
http://economictimes.indiatimes.com/news/science/uk-water-experts-develop-device-to-help-save-lives-in-india/articleshow/52309997.cms
http://www.newindianexpress.com/world/UK-water-experts-develop-device-to-help-save-lives-in-India/2016/05/17/article3437664.ece
http://www.deccanherald.com/content/547001/uk-water-experts-develop-device.html
http://www.dailyexcelsior.com/uk-water-experts-develop-device-to-help-save-lives-in-india/
http://drdo.gov.in/drdo/pub/npc/2016/may/19May2016.pdf
http://www.gdepi.com/bencandy.php?fid=139&id=21753
http://northcoastcourier.co.za/60606/birmingham-water-experts-develop-life-saving-device/
http://www.voanews.com/content/new-device-tests-water-safety-in-seconds/3345158.html
http://www.filtsep.com/view/44267/birmingham-water-experts-develop-device-to-save-lives/
http://canmua.net/washington/new-device-tests-water-safety-in-seconds-841431.html
http://whatissaid.com/news_stories/health/2016/05/new-device-tests-water-safety-in-seconds_264545.html
http://www.internationaltravelnews.com/index.php/sid/244375237
http://www.torontotelegraph.com/index.php/sid/244375237
http://www.southsouthnews.com/all-news/voa/198-2015-05-27-15-49-38/health-voa/100806-new-device-tests-water-safety-in-seconds
http://www.worldandi.com/subscribers/searchdetail_headlines.asp?num=15643
http://workingwithwater.filtsep.com/view/44267/birmingham-water-experts-develop-device-to-save-lives/
http://www.newdelhitimes.com/new-device-tests-water-safety-in-seconds123/
http://www.cnnindonesia.com/gaya-hidup/20160526122334-255-133569/kualitas-air-kini-dapat-diuji-dalam-hitungan-detik/
http://www.sizehaber.com/haber/256664/ictiginiz-su-temiz-mi
http://www.risalehaber.com/ictiginiz-su-temiz-mi-272142h.htm
http://kampucheathmey.com/kpt/?p=288624
http://www.haberturk.com/saglik/haber/1246837-ictiginiz-su-temiz-mi
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2016
URL http://www.birmingham.ac.uk/news/latest/2016/05/Birmingham-water-experts-develop-device-to-save-live...
 
Description Water quality measurement using fluorescence spectroscopy 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Type Of Presentation paper presentation
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Professional Practitioners
Results and Impact Presentation to IWEX trade exhibition.

Supply chain
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2011