Posts

Guide to flushing & pre-commission cleaning

Guide to Flushing & Pre-Commission Cleaning of Pipework Systems Pre-Handover

It’s often easy to take the performance of engineered-water systems for granted. Ensuring that they perform as they should can be helped significantly by following the correct pre-commission cleaning and flushing procedures of the pipework systems at the pre-handover stage. There is a lot to think about when you’re carrying out a pre-commission clean or on-line flush of a water system, and irrespective of whether the responsibility for doing this is with the client, main contractor or engineering sub-contractor, there are a few key steps that you need to follow to ensure success.

Read more

Role of the responsible person for legionella control

Taking on the Role of the Responsible Person for Legionella Control

If you work in an organisation which has any type of water system, including hot and cold water systems, showers, spa pools, air conditioning units or cooling towers, then there should be someone in your company who is designated as the responsible person for legionella control. This role can be an onerous one depending on the size and complexity of the buildings and water systems at your place of work. The role typically involves assessing the risks and putting in to place procedures and systems for the control of Legionella bacteria, the microorganism which can cause Legionnaires’ disease, a potentially fatal lung infection.

Read more

Biocides for closed systems

Choosing Biocides for Closed Systems – Closed Circuit Heating & Cooling Systems

Most organisations are keen to take steps to control the growth of micro-organisms which can flourish inside closed circuit water systems, including closed heating and cooling systems. Controlling the growth of bacteria in such closed circuit systems can also help to prevent the build-up of biofilm on the inside of pipe surfaces. It will also help limit the bacterial breakdown of any corrosion inhibitor chemicals that have been added to the water in the system.

Read more

Drinking water testing

Drinking Water Testing

Drinking Water Testing & Analysis

Drinking water testing

Specialist drinking water testing and analysis

WTS is a leading water, air and environmental company offering a range of specialist solutions to organisations throughout the UK and Ireland. Our expert laboratory services include drinking water testing and analysis of both mains fed (tap water) and private water supplies. Our potable water analysis procedures incorporate testing for metals and heavy metals, chemical analysis, microbiological water testing and in-field sampling services.

Why test drinking water?

When was the last time that you had the quality of your tap water tested? Here in the UK, our water utility companies have to conform to strict water quality standards set by the Government, and enforced by the regulator, the Drinking Water Inspectorate (DWI). These standards ensure that the water flowing through the mains distribution system is up to scratch at all times. However, once the water leaves the mains supply and enters a private residence or commercial building, the pipes, storage tanks, local distribution systems and other factors can start to affect the quality of the water. There are also properties, mostly in remote locations, which depend on other types of private water supplies such as springs, boreholes, rivers, lakes or wells and people using these types of supplies may need to carry out their own drinking water testing too.

Specialist tap water testing & in-field sampling

Our specialist laboratory drinking water analysis and sampling solutions include:

  • Laboratory Water Testing & Analysis

    Specialist laboratory analysis of drinking water for metals, chemicals and microbiological parameters.

  • Mains Fed Tap Water Analysis

    Specialist suite of tests covering metal and chemical parameters specifically for mains fed water systems.

  • Private Water Supply Testing

    Specialist suite of tests covering metal and chemical parameters specifically for private water supplies, wells and borehole fed water systems.

  • Microbiological Water Analysis

    Specialist analysis for a range of microbial parameters including coliforms, E. coli, total viable count (TVC), enterococci, sulphate reducing bacteria (SRB), legionella and pseudomonas.

  • Monitoring & Validation

    Latest laboratory and in-field water analysis equipment to monitor and validate water treatment programme performance against regulatory standards.

  • In-field Sampling.

    Expert in-field water sampling.

Full national UK coverage

With offices in London serving the South and South East England, Manchester (North West), Birmingham (Midlands), Bristol (South East England and Wales), Leeds (North and North East) and Glasgow (Scotland), supported by regional teams of specially trained engineers, water treatment specialists and technicians we can offer professional, cost effective drinking water testing, in-field water sampling and laboratory analysis services across the UK and Ireland.

Contact WTS today to learn how our water quality analysis solutions can help identify contamination issues. To speak with one of our water testing experts call us on 0330 223 31 31 or simply use the button below to get our full contact details or submit our contact form.

What could contaminate mains fed tap water?

If you are supplied by a water utility company and are concerned about what might be getting into your water between it leaving the public mains and coming out of the taps in your property, then a good place to start is by looking at how you treat your water, the type of water distribution systems you have in your building, the materials that have been used (lead, copper, plastic etc.) to construct the system, especially the pipes carrying the water and any water storage tanks.

Older domestic and commercial properties which have not been renovated since 1970 might have lead pipes either in the kitchen, bathrooms, or elsewhere in the property on the route the water takes to the tap.

Lead was a common material used for pipes and plumbing installations pre-1970 and can cause serious health issues, especially in children and pregnant women. If water testing identifies that lead is contaminating your water and is present at higher than the prescribed limits, you should take prompt action to replace the pipes. Other common drinking water contaminants are corrosion by-products, most often caused by copper corrosion or cast iron pipes rusting and leaching iron particles into the water supply. If this is happening, the water way contain increased levels of iron, copper or even manganese which can all lead to discolouration of the water and unsightly surface staining of baths, sinks, WC’s, pools and spas.

There are several microbiological contaminants that can also affect water quality including Legionella bacteria and Pseudomonas aeruginosa. These bacterium will typically colonise a buildings local water distribution system and, under the right circumstances can cause serious health issues.

Testing private water supplies

If your water comes from a private water supply such as a well, spring, borehole or river, it is unlikely to have been through the intensive water treatment processing stages used by the water utility companies to filter and disinfect our mains drinking water. In the worse case scenario, this could mean that there are bacteria, viruses and a range of other chemical or metal contaminants in your water.

One of the main concerns when extracting from a private water supply is contamination with faecal matter, especially in rural and agricultural areas where the presence of animals and cattle may pollute local water courses. This can lead to dangerous contamination of the water by organisms such as E. coli and Salmonella. Other issues in such areas include contamination from elevated levels of nitrates, nitrites, sulphates and sulphides which can be caused by the intensive use of commercial fertilisers or sewage contamination.

Regular drinking water testing will help to make sure that the steps you are taking to treat your water are having the desired effect and that any unwanted contaminants are maintained within the safe limits set out by the government. If you are living or working in a property with a private water supply, testing the supply might be something you do on a regular basis.

Testing drinking water

If you are testing drinking water for just one contaminant, such as lead or bacteria, then you might choose to use simple test strips or dip slides which you can dip in to the water to get your result. These are a quick and cost-effective way of testing your water but with one obvious drawback – you might get an answer about one type of contaminant but be completely unaware of other serious issues with your water. We recommend it’s better and safer to have your tap water tested by the experts at WTS, who can run a series of specialist drinking water tests in the laboratory to identify a range of specific microbiological, metal and chemical contaminants in your water, and determine at which levels they are present. These results would then be compared to the standards set out in the governments Water Supply Regulations, and a report produced. The report will flag up those contaminants which are of particular concern, allowing you to target your efforts to reduce risk.

Standard compliance suite of tests for potable (drinking) water

Our standard compliance suite of tests for potable (drinking) water is highly recommended and provides an excellent indication of overall water quality for general potable applications. This compliance suite includes for the following tests:

  • General colony microbial counts after 2 and 3 days
  • Clostridium perfringens (confirmed)
  • Total coliforms
  • E.coli
  • Conductivity
  • pH
  • Turbidity
  • Ammonium
  • Nitrite
  • Nitrate
  • Odour
  • Taste
  • Aluminium
  • Iron
  • Manganese
  • Colour

Mains fed water testing & analysis (chemical & metal)

Our standard suite of chemical and metal parameter tests for mains fed water supplies would typically include:

  • Chloride
  • Conductivity
  • Copper
  • Hardness
  • Iron
  • Lead
  • Alkalinity
  • Manganese
  • pH
  • Phosphate
  • TDS

Testing private water supplies & borehole water analysis (chemical & metal)

Our standard suite of chemical and metal parameter tests for private water supplies, wells, boreholes, lakes and rivers would typically include:

  • Chloride
  • Conductivity
  • Copper
  • Hardness
  • Iron
  • Lead
  • Alkalinity
  • Manganese
  • Nitrate
  • Nitrite
  • pH
  • Phosphate
  • Sulphate
  • Sulphide
  • TDS

Drinking water treatment techniques

Once you have your detailed drinking water analysis report giving information about the quality of your drinking water and any issues which have been found, you can then make plans for improving the quality of your water… or where this is not possible, to look for an alternative supply.

The approach and water treatment techniques selected will depend very much on the types of contaminants which have been identified. For example, if high levels of bacteria have been found in the water, the advice might be to use UV light to kill off the bugs, or add a suitable, DWI approved disinfectant to the water supply to kill them that way.

If the issue is corrosion in the pipes causing the water to become discoloured, then replacing the pipes might be the only option. If other types of contaminants are found, you might be able to filter them out by adding a filtration system either at the point where the water supply enters the property, or directly adjacent to the taps used for drinking water.

However, it’s important to remember that there is no point making any of these changes before you know whether or not you have a problem with water quality, and that can only be determined by specialist drinking water testing.

On-going water quality testing & analysis

Once you have invested in the correct improvements to your water supply, it’s then essential to have the water retested in exactly the same way so that you get an accurate comparison of the water quality before and after. It may also be well worthwhile implementing a regular programme of water testing to ensure water quality is maintained consistently.

Specialist drinking water testing for metals, chemicals & microbial contaminants

Contact WTS today to find out more about our laboratory water analysis services including drinking water testing for mains fed and private water supplies, and in-field sampling services.

With offices in London serving the South and South East England, Manchester (North West), Birmingham (Midlands), Bristol (South East England and Wales), Leeds (North and North East) and Glasgow (Scotland), supported by regional teams of specially trained technicians, in-field specialists and consultants we can offer cost effective environmental support solutions across the whole of the UK and Ireland.

Contact us today for more information or for your FREE, no obligation quote.

You may also be interested in…

Being a Duty Holder for Legionella – What Does it Mean?
E.coli water testing for hot tubs and swimming pools
Scale, corrosion & microbiological control in cooling water systems
Controlling legionella in hot and cold water systems
Guide to flushing & pre-commission cleaning
Dust monitoring in the workplace
Role of the responsible person for legionella control
Biocides for closed systems
Testing indoor air quality & Sick Building Syndrome
Drinking water testing

Further reading…

More information about drinking water quality … here →

Guide to flushing & pre-commission cleaning

Guide to Flushing & Pre-Commission Cleaning of Pipework Systems Pre-Handover

It’s often easy to take the performance of engineered-water systems for granted. Ensuring that they perform as they should can be helped significantly by following the correct pre-commission cleaning and flushing procedures of the pipework systems at the pre-handover stage. There is a lot to think about when you’re carrying out a pre-commission clean or on-line flush of a water system, and irrespective of whether the responsibility for doing this is with the client, main contractor or engineering sub-contractor, there are a few key steps that you need to follow to ensure success.

Read more

Role of the responsible person for legionella control

Taking on the Role of the Responsible Person for Legionella Control

If you work in an organisation which has any type of water system, including hot and cold water systems, showers, spa pools, air conditioning units or cooling towers, then there should be someone in your company who is designated as the responsible person for legionella control. This role can be an onerous one depending on the size and complexity of the buildings and water systems at your place of work. The role typically involves assessing the risks and putting in to place procedures and systems for the control of Legionella bacteria, the microorganism which can cause Legionnaires’ disease, a potentially fatal lung infection.

Read more

Biocides for closed systems

Choosing Biocides for Closed Systems – Closed Circuit Heating & Cooling Systems

Most organisations are keen to take steps to control the growth of micro-organisms which can flourish inside closed circuit water systems, including closed heating and cooling systems. Controlling the growth of bacteria in such closed circuit systems can also help to prevent the build-up of biofilm on the inside of pipe surfaces. It will also help limit the bacterial breakdown of any corrosion inhibitor chemicals that have been added to the water in the system.

Read more

Drinking water testing

Drinking Water Testing

Drinking Water Testing & Analysis

Drinking water testing

Specialist drinking water testing and analysis

WTS is a leading water, air and environmental company offering a range of specialist solutions to organisations throughout the UK and Ireland. Our expert laboratory services include drinking water testing and analysis of both mains fed (tap water) and private water supplies. Our potable water analysis procedures incorporate testing for metals and heavy metals, chemical analysis, microbiological water testing and in-field sampling services.

Why test drinking water?

When was the last time that you had the quality of your tap water tested? Here in the UK, our water utility companies have to conform to strict water quality standards set by the Government, and enforced by the regulator, the Drinking Water Inspectorate (DWI). These standards ensure that the water flowing through the mains distribution system is up to scratch at all times. However, once the water leaves the mains supply and enters a private residence or commercial building, the pipes, storage tanks, local distribution systems and other factors can start to affect the quality of the water. There are also properties, mostly in remote locations, which depend on other types of private water supplies such as springs, boreholes, rivers, lakes or wells and people using these types of supplies may need to carry out their own drinking water testing too.

Specialist tap water testing & in-field sampling

Our specialist laboratory drinking water analysis and sampling solutions include:

  • Laboratory Water Testing & Analysis

    Specialist laboratory analysis of drinking water for metals, chemicals and microbiological parameters.

  • Mains Fed Tap Water Analysis

    Specialist suite of tests covering metal and chemical parameters specifically for mains fed water systems.

  • Private Water Supply Testing

    Specialist suite of tests covering metal and chemical parameters specifically for private water supplies, wells and borehole fed water systems.

  • Microbiological Water Analysis

    Specialist analysis for a range of microbial parameters including coliforms, E. coli, total viable count (TVC), enterococci, sulphate reducing bacteria (SRB), legionella and pseudomonas.

  • Monitoring & Validation

    Latest laboratory and in-field water analysis equipment to monitor and validate water treatment programme performance against regulatory standards.

  • In-field Sampling.

    Expert in-field water sampling.

Full national UK coverage

With offices in London serving the South and South East England, Manchester (North West), Birmingham (Midlands), Bristol (South East England and Wales), Leeds (North and North East) and Glasgow (Scotland), supported by regional teams of specially trained engineers, water treatment specialists and technicians we can offer professional, cost effective drinking water testing, in-field water sampling and laboratory analysis services across the UK and Ireland.

Contact WTS today to learn how our water quality analysis solutions can help identify contamination issues. To speak with one of our water testing experts call us on 0330 223 31 31 or simply use the button below to get our full contact details or submit our contact form.

What could contaminate mains fed tap water?

If you are supplied by a water utility company and are concerned about what might be getting into your water between it leaving the public mains and coming out of the taps in your property, then a good place to start is by looking at how you treat your water, the type of water distribution systems you have in your building, the materials that have been used (lead, copper, plastic etc.) to construct the system, especially the pipes carrying the water and any water storage tanks.

Older domestic and commercial properties which have not been renovated since 1970 might have lead pipes either in the kitchen, bathrooms, or elsewhere in the property on the route the water takes to the tap.

Lead was a common material used for pipes and plumbing installations pre-1970 and can cause serious health issues, especially in children and pregnant women. If water testing identifies that lead is contaminating your water and is present at higher than the prescribed limits, you should take prompt action to replace the pipes. Other common drinking water contaminants are corrosion by-products, most often caused by copper corrosion or cast iron pipes rusting and leaching iron particles into the water supply. If this is happening, the water way contain increased levels of iron, copper or even manganese which can all lead to discolouration of the water and unsightly surface staining of baths, sinks, WC’s, pools and spas.

There are several microbiological contaminants that can also affect water quality including Legionella bacteria and Pseudomonas aeruginosa. These bacterium will typically colonise a buildings local water distribution system and, under the right circumstances can cause serious health issues.

Testing private water supplies

If your water comes from a private water supply such as a well, spring, borehole or river, it is unlikely to have been through the intensive water treatment processing stages used by the water utility companies to filter and disinfect our mains drinking water. In the worse case scenario, this could mean that there are bacteria, viruses and a range of other chemical or metal contaminants in your water.

One of the main concerns when extracting from a private water supply is contamination with faecal matter, especially in rural and agricultural areas where the presence of animals and cattle may pollute local water courses. This can lead to dangerous contamination of the water by organisms such as E. coli and Salmonella. Other issues in such areas include contamination from elevated levels of nitrates, nitrites, sulphates and sulphides which can be caused by the intensive use of commercial fertilisers or sewage contamination.

Regular drinking water testing will help to make sure that the steps you are taking to treat your water are having the desired effect and that any unwanted contaminants are maintained within the safe limits set out by the government. If you are living or working in a property with a private water supply, testing the supply might be something you do on a regular basis.

Testing drinking water

If you are testing drinking water for just one contaminant, such as lead or bacteria, then you might choose to use simple test strips or dip slides which you can dip in to the water to get your result. These are a quick and cost-effective way of testing your water but with one obvious drawback – you might get an answer about one type of contaminant but be completely unaware of other serious issues with your water. We recommend it’s better and safer to have your tap water tested by the experts at WTS, who can run a series of specialist drinking water tests in the laboratory to identify a range of specific microbiological, metal and chemical contaminants in your water, and determine at which levels they are present. These results would then be compared to the standards set out in the governments Water Supply Regulations, and a report produced. The report will flag up those contaminants which are of particular concern, allowing you to target your efforts to reduce risk.

Standard compliance suite of tests for potable (drinking) water

Our standard compliance suite of tests for potable (drinking) water is highly recommended and provides an excellent indication of overall water quality for general potable applications. This compliance suite includes for the following tests:

  • General colony microbial counts after 2 and 3 days
  • Clostridium perfringens (confirmed)
  • Total coliforms
  • E.coli
  • Conductivity
  • pH
  • Turbidity
  • Ammonium
  • Nitrite
  • Nitrate
  • Odour
  • Taste
  • Aluminium
  • Iron
  • Manganese
  • Colour

Mains fed water testing & analysis (chemical & metal)

Our standard suite of chemical and metal parameter tests for mains fed water supplies would typically include:

  • Chloride
  • Conductivity
  • Copper
  • Hardness
  • Iron
  • Lead
  • Alkalinity
  • Manganese
  • pH
  • Phosphate
  • TDS

Testing private water supplies & borehole water analysis (chemical & metal)

Our standard suite of chemical and metal parameter tests for private water supplies, wells, boreholes, lakes and rivers would typically include:

  • Chloride
  • Conductivity
  • Copper
  • Hardness
  • Iron
  • Lead
  • Alkalinity
  • Manganese
  • Nitrate
  • Nitrite
  • pH
  • Phosphate
  • Sulphate
  • Sulphide
  • TDS

Drinking water treatment techniques

Once you have your detailed drinking water analysis report giving information about the quality of your drinking water and any issues which have been found, you can then make plans for improving the quality of your water… or where this is not possible, to look for an alternative supply.

The approach and water treatment techniques selected will depend very much on the types of contaminants which have been identified. For example, if high levels of bacteria have been found in the water, the advice might be to use UV light to kill off the bugs, or add a suitable, DWI approved disinfectant to the water supply to kill them that way.

If the issue is corrosion in the pipes causing the water to become discoloured, then replacing the pipes might be the only option. If other types of contaminants are found, you might be able to filter them out by adding a filtration system either at the point where the water supply enters the property, or directly adjacent to the taps used for drinking water.

However, it’s important to remember that there is no point making any of these changes before you know whether or not you have a problem with water quality, and that can only be determined by specialist drinking water testing.

On-going water quality testing & analysis

Once you have invested in the correct improvements to your water supply, it’s then essential to have the water retested in exactly the same way so that you get an accurate comparison of the water quality before and after. It may also be well worthwhile implementing a regular programme of water testing to ensure water quality is maintained consistently.

Specialist drinking water testing for metals, chemicals & microbial contaminants

Contact WTS today to find out more about our laboratory water analysis services including drinking water testing for mains fed and private water supplies, and in-field sampling services.

With offices in London serving the South and South East England, Manchester (North West), Birmingham (Midlands), Bristol (South East England and Wales), Leeds (North and North East) and Glasgow (Scotland), supported by regional teams of specially trained technicians, in-field specialists and consultants we can offer cost effective environmental support solutions across the whole of the UK and Ireland.

Contact us today for more information or for your FREE, no obligation quote.

You may also be interested in…

Being a Duty Holder for Legionella – What Does it Mean?
E.coli water testing for hot tubs and swimming pools
Scale, corrosion & microbiological control in cooling water systems
Controlling legionella in hot and cold water systems
Guide to flushing & pre-commission cleaning
Dust monitoring in the workplace
Role of the responsible person for legionella control
Biocides for closed systems
Testing indoor air quality & Sick Building Syndrome
Drinking water testing

Further reading…

More information about drinking water quality … here →

Testing water for lead

Testing Water for Lead – The Dangers of Lead Pipes & Plumbing

Is testing water for lead a good idea? Well… whilst in the UK we are lucky enough to have a safe supply of drinking water people still worry about all sorts of contaminants getting into their water supply. One of those contaminants is lead, and it can cause very real health issues in humans if it’s not detected and dealt with properly.

Read more

Testing water for metals

Metals Testing

Testing Water for Metals & Heavy Metals

Testing water for metals

Specialist metal and heavy metals analysis

WTS is a leading UK water, air and environmental services company offering a full range of environmental solutions to organisations throughout the UK and Ireland. Our expert laboratory analysis services include testing water for metals (and heavy metals), wastewater and trade effluent testing, chemical and microbiological analysis and in-field sampling services.

Why test water for metals?

There are a number of reasons why you may want to test water for metals, including some of the more common heavy metals such as lead, mercury and arsenic. You may extract your water from a private supply and be concerned about contamination of your drinking water, or you may be a business looking to satisfy trade effluent discharge standards for your wastewater. Whatever your reasons WTS has the expertise to help you.

Specialist water analysis & in-field sampling

Our specialist laboratory based water analysis and in-field sampling solutions include:

  • Laboratory Water Testing & Analysis

    Expert analysis of water, waste water and industrial effluents for metals, chemicals and microbiological parameters.

  • Physical Parameters

    Testing for specified physical parameters in water.

  • Monitoring & Validation

    Latest laboratory and in-field water analysis equipment to monitor and validate water treatment programme performance and satisfy discharge consent standards.

  • In-field Sampling.

    Expert in-field water sampling.

Full national UK coverage

With offices in London serving the South and South East England, Manchester (North West), Birmingham (Midlands), Bristol (South East England and Wales), Leeds (North and North East) and Glasgow (Scotland), supported by regional teams of specially trained engineers, water treatment service specialists and technical experts we can offer professional, cost effective water testing, in-field water sampling and laboratory analysis services across the UK and Ireland.

Contact WTS today to learn how our professional water quality analysis, in-field testing and sampling solutions can help improve your water quality, water treatment validation and regulatory compliance processes. To speak with one of our water testing experts call us on 0330 223 31 31 or simply use the button below to get our full contact details or submit our contact form.

Understanding water quality

Here in the UK we’re lucky to have a safe and reliable supply of clean drinking water, literally on-tap. Most homes and commercial buildings in the UK get their mains water supplied directly by one of the big water companies, who have a responsibility to check the quality of the water being supplied, and testing it to ensure it falls within strict legal limits set by the regulators.

Water supplied for drinking (often called potable water) in the UK has to be constantly monitored, and there is an independent regulatory body called the Drinking Water Inspectorate (DWI) which monitors this. DWI inspectors regularly enter consumer properties to take water samples for independent analysis.

The quality of our drinking water is not something most of us need to worry about unless something goes wrong. However, if you’re buying or leasing a property for residential or commercial purposes which takes its water from a private water supply such as a well, borehole, spring or other water source, then it’s up to you to ensure your water meets the standards set in the Water Supply Regulations 2016. Confirming this may involve testing water for metals, chemicals, microbiological parameters and other common contaminants.

What metals could be in our water?

In general, heavy metals contaminating our water supplies are less of a problem than they were in the past. With improved environmental awareness we’ve cleaned up our collective act when it comes to waste and wastewater disposal. Changing patterns of work have also meant that we just don’t have the heavy industrial processes that previously used iron, steel, lead, mercury, arsenic and other metals. However, that doesn’t mean there is now no longer any metal contamination of our water supplies. It’s therefore important that where you suspect there may be a metal contamination issue that you test your water to make sure concentrations’ do not exceed the safe limits set by the Government.

Some of the main metals and other elements you might find in water, and which could potentially cause health problems if present at high enough concentrations include:

  • Lead

    Although lead has been banned for use in water pipes and water storage tanks since the 1970s, many older properties which have not been renovated for years might still have lead pipes.

    Too much lead in drinking water can have serious consequences; lead poisoning can cause a range of health problems including headaches, high blood pressure, memory loss, abdominal pain, kidney failure, miscarriage or premature birth.

  • Mercury

    Mercury occurs naturally in the environment and can combine with other elements in the earth to form a variety of compounds.

    Unlike lead poisoning where the effects build up over time, short term exposure to high levels of mercury in drinking water can cause serious health issues including headaches, insomnia, kidney problems, as well as having an effect on hearing, vision and memor

  • Arsenic

    It’s not news that arsenic is poisonous, and this metallic element is found at differing levels throughout the UK. Long-term exposure to arsenic in drinking water is linked to a higher risk of developing several types of cancer as well as heart disease.

  • Aluminium

    Scientific research is still ongoing into the possible negative effects of aluminium in drinking water, with many press reports making a link with increased levels of dementia.

  • Iron

    Most iron contamination in our drinking water comes from old plumbing installations where old iron pipes and water tanks corrode, and leach iron into the water. High levels of iron in water are generally easy to spot as the water becomes discoloured.

  • Calcium

    If you live in a hard water area then there will be higher levels of calcium and magnesium salts dissolved in your water… when compared to soft water areas. There are no reported health issues associated with drinking hard water, but it can cause limescale damage to boilers, kettles, washing machines and other appliances that use untreated hard water.

Drinking water metal analysis

The UK’s 2016 Water Supply Regulations set out maximum allowable limits for metals and heavy metals in drinking water. If your water is supplied from a water utility company then they are obliged to meet these standards. However, if you extract from a private water supply such as a well, borehole, spring or other water source, then it’s up to you to ensure you meet these standards. The following limits on the maximum concentration levels of metals in drinking water are taken from the Water Supply Regulations 2016.

Maximum Concentration of Metals in Drinking Water - Water Supply Regulations
MetalMaximum concentration
in drinking water
Point of compliance
Aluminium (Al)200 µg/lConsumers’ taps
Antimony (Sb)5.0 µg/lConsumers’ taps
Arsenic (As)10 µg/lConsumers’ taps
Boron (B)1.0 mg/lConsumers’ taps
Cadmium (Cd)5.0 µg/lConsumers’ taps
Chromium (Cr)50 µg/lConsumers’ taps
Copper (Cu)2.0 µg/lConsumers’ taps
Iron (Fe)200 µg/lConsumers’ taps
Lead (Pb)10 µg/lConsumers’ taps
Manganese (Mn)50 µg/lConsumers’ taps
Mercury (Hg)1.0 µg/lConsumers’ taps
Nickel (Ni)20 µg/lConsumers’ taps
Selenium (Se)10 µg/lConsumers’ taps
Sodium (Na)200 µg/lConsumers’ taps

Trade effluent & waste water metals analysis

If you intend to discharge trade effluent or industrial waste water in to a public sewer or watercourse such as a stream, river, lake or the sea then you will need to obtain specific consent from your local sewerage undertaker. Your consent to discharge is likely to include strict limits on the quality of the effluent including its metal content. WTS can analyse your waste water and effluent streams for a range of common metals including the following:

  • Antimony
  • Arsenic
  • Barium
  • Cadmium
  • Chromium
  • Copper
  • Lead
  • Mercury
  • Molybdenum
  • Selenium
  • Zinc
  • Other metals

Making sure drinking water is safe

There are a number of steps you can take to make sure that your drinking water is safe, especially when you’re relying on water from a private supply or natural source rather than taking it from one of the big water utilities.

The approach selected in treating your water before drinking will very much depend on what type of contamination problems exist or are suspected. Testing water for metals, chemicals, microbiological and other contaminants is therefore important. The main methods used to treat water to make it suitable for drinking are:

  • Filtration

    Filtration is a very common technique and involves water flowing through a series of filters which are designed to remove particles of various sizes that contaminate the water. This process could be as simple as a jug filter with removable cartridge for use in a home kitchen, or a complex series of filters used to treat wastewater or industrial effluent that uses several different elements at various stages of the filtration process.

  • UV Treatment

    Ultra-violet or UV treatment is a commonly used technique to deal with microbiological contamination. Although this process won’t do anything to remove metals in your water, it’s a common way of dealing with bacteria that can contaminate drinking water supplies. The advantage of this technique is that it offers a chemical-free way of treating drinking water.

  • Chlorination

    Chlorination is a very common water treatment technique and has been used successfully for many years. Chlorine is the primary chemical added to municipal water supplies to kill off bugs and bacteria in drinking water to make it safer to drink. While treatment with chlorine is a cheap and simple way of dealing with microbiological contamination, it won’t deal with any metals in water.

Experts at testing water for metals & other contaminants

Contact WTS today to find out more about our laboratory water analysis services including testing water for metals, waste water and trade effluent analysis, chemical and microbiological testing and in-field sampling services.

With offices in London serving the South and South East England, Manchester (North West), Birmingham (Midlands), Bristol (South East England and Wales), Leeds (North and North East) and Glasgow (Scotland), supported by regional teams of specially trained technicians, in-field specialists and consultants we can offer professional, cost effective environmental support solutions across the whole of the UK and Ireland.

Contact us today for more information or for your FREE, no obligation quote.

You may also be interested in…

Being a Duty Holder for Legionella – What Does it Mean?
E.coli water testing for hot tubs and swimming pools
Scale, corrosion & microbiological control in cooling water systems
Controlling legionella in hot and cold water systems
Guide to flushing & pre-commission cleaning
Dust monitoring in the workplace
Role of the responsible person for legionella control
Biocides for closed systems
Testing indoor air quality & Sick Building Syndrome
Drinking water testing

Further reading…

More information about water quality, metals and heavy metal contamination … here →

SDI testing

SDI Testing & Analysis

Silt Density Index (SDI) Testing & Analysis

SDI testing

Expert in-field SDI testing and analysis.

WTS is a specialist water and environmental services company offering expert in-field Silt Density Index analysis and SDI testing services for operators of reverse osmosis (RO) and other membrane filtration systems.

Our in-field and laboratory based water analysis services help organisations using reverse osmosis and other membrane filtration processes to optimise the effectiveness of their systems by reducing costs, enhancing efficiencies, and maintaining water quality and system performance.

If you use a reverse osmosis (RO) membrane system for purifying water in your business, as part of an industrial process or even at home, then you’ll already be aware of the importance of the Silt Density Index (SDI) and the need for regular SDI testing and analysis of the water entering your RO membranes. Such analysis procedures will allow you to understand and monitor the membrane fouling potential of the source water and help determine what steps are needed to keep your systems operating at optimum efficiency.

Expert silt density index testing & in-field analysis

Our specialist water analysis and in-field water testing solutions include:

  • silt density index testing

    Specialist in-field SDI testing and analysis to determine the fouling potential of source waters.

  • Laboratory Water Testing & Analysis

    Expert laboratory based analysis of water for an extensive range of parameters.

  • Monitoring & Validation

    Latest in-field water analysis equipment to monitor and validate programme performance.

  • Treatment programme Development

    Development and specification of specialist water treatment and membrane cleaning programmes to optimise system performance.

  • membrane autopsy

    Specialist membrane evaluation and autopsy.

Full national UK coverage

With offices in London serving the South and South East England, Manchester (North West), Birmingham (Midlands), Bristol (South East England and Wales), Leeds (North and North East) and Glasgow (Scotland), supported by regional teams of specially trained engineers, water treatment service specialists and technicians we can offer professional, cost effective in-field SDI testing and analysis, water sampling, membrane autopsy and specialist laboratory services across the UK and Ireland.

Contact WTS today to learn how our professional Silt Density Index testing and analysis solutions can help improve  the performance of your reverse osmosis and membrane filtration processes. To speak with one of our water testing experts call us on 0330 223 31 31 or simply use the button below to get our full contact details or submit our contact form.

What is reverse osmosis & how is it used?

Reverse osmosis, often abbreviated to RO is simply a scientific term that is used to describe a technique used to filter water, wastewater and other liquids. In this type of filtration system, water flows through a specially constructed membrane which can filter out very fine materials including bacteria, salts and other particles that may have contaminated the water. It’s a process which is most commonly used for desalinating seawater and making it safe to drink, filtering wastewater or effluent to make it suitable for reuse, but is also used in other specialist industries which require very pure water as part of their processes.

The membranes that are typically used in RO, desalination and Ultra-Pure processes allow water to flow through several different layers, all designed to filter out particles of differing sizes. These membranes are designed to only allow water to flow in one direction, and are usually made from a high performance plastic material. In a lot of ways the materials used in the membrane are similar to human skin, which allows sweat to flow out of our body, but does not let water pass through in the other direction.

The downside to the reverse osmosis process is that as well as removing potentially harmful bacteria, salts and other contaminants from the water, other more beneficial minerals can also be removed too.

Reverse osmosis and desalination can be an expensive, energy intensive processes. Desalination is typically only used on a large scale for drinking water where there is no other alternative. In the countries of Northern Europe where rainfall is rarely an issue, reverse osmosis water treatment is mainly used in specialist industrial processes, and for ultra-pure and medical water production.

Membranes, silt & analysis of fouling potential

Silt Density Index testing is a way of measuring the quantities of particles, bacteria and other contaminants (effluent) that can become trapped in a membrane. This is often referred to as the “fouling potential” or “fouling capacity” of the suspended solids, or in other words, how quickly a membrane is going to become plugged given the level of contaminants in the water.

Source water which is found to have a high Silt Density Index, and so more likely to cause more rapid fouling might have to go through some form of pre-treatment process before entering a reverse osmosis membrane system. Alternatively, if an operator is aware of the increased membrane fouling potential of their water, they may implement alternative solutions to the issue which could include changing the membranes more regularly, more frequent cleaning or switching to a different type of material for the membrane itself.

Silt density index testing calculations

There is a standard way of measuring the Silt Density Index of source water which is summarised here:

Using a 0.45 micrometre filter, source or feed water is forced through a membrane at a constant pressure of 30 psi (2.07 bar).

First, measure the time taken to collect a 500ml sample of water (ti ). Continue timing.

Maintain this pressure and take additional timings required to collect three further 500ml samples, typically after 5 (t5), 10 (t10) and 15 (t15) minutes have elapsed, this is to allow silt to build up.

How to calculate SDI

The plugging factor (PF) can be calculated at the 5, 10 and 15 minute intervals as follows:

PF5 = (1- ti / t5)100

PF10 = (1- ti / t10)100

PF15 = (1- ti / t15)100

The SDI test value is then determined as:

 SDI = PF/ t

The lowest SDI value, usually at 15 minutes, is the value that is reported.

Example calculation

Your timings indicate a ti of 1 minute and t15 of 4 minutes.

The plugging factor is calculated as follows:

PF= (1-1/4)100 = 75

SDI = 75/15 = 5

This indicates a fourfold reduction in flow or a 75 % plugged test filter.

SDI measurements at 5 and 10 minutes are often useful for source waters with higher SDI values where they can give a better indication of the rate at which the RO membrane is fouling.

Interpreting SDI test results

Our specialist SDI testing equipment measures the decrease in water flowing through the membrane over a specific test period.

Decreased flow is caused by particles (suspended solids) clogging or plugging the membrane and preventing the water to pass through.

SDI test results are expressed as a number.

The Silt Density Index isn’t about identifying what particles are present in the water and what sizes the particles are, it’s a way of measuring the total quantity of colloidal and particulate matter in a water source and so its fouling potential.

Interpreting silt density index values

If the testing results show a Silt Density Index value of less than one, this is extremely pure water which can flow through a reverse osmosis system for several years before membranes start to become fouled with silt.

Typically, water with a Silt Density Index of 3 or less indicates a very high level of purity, and that membranes will be able to perform for several months without needing to be cleaned or changed.

An index value of between 3 and 5 means that the water source, although not free from particles and silt, is suitable for use in a reverse osmosis system where the membranes are cleaned or changed regularly.

If the SDI result is 6 or higher, then the source water will require some form of pre-treatment to remove some of the colloidal and particulate matter before being passed through a reverse osmosis system. This could involve an additional filtration stage, UV treatment to remove bacteria or using higher quality water taken from a less contaminated source.

Sampling source water over time

It is important to remember that the SDI of a water source may change over time, especially with sea water desalination, but also with water taken from other sources. Depending on the specific application and the requirement for water purity in high volumes, testing to establish the silt density index might be performed weekly.

Specialist SDI test equipment is needed to force the source water at high pressure through the membrane and measure the results. Take advice from the experts at WTS about how best to test your water according your specific needs, and how often the testing process should be repeated.

Expert SDI testing & water analysis services

Contact WTS today to find out more about our professional SDI testing, laboratory and in-field sampling solutions and how they can help improve your reverse osmosis and membrane filtration processes.

As a leading provider of water tests, sampling and laboratory analysis procedures we can ensure you get the best possible services whenever you need them.

With offices in London serving the South and South East England, Manchester (North West), Birmingham (Midlands), Bristol (South East England and Wales), Leeds (North and North East) and Glasgow (Scotland), supported by teams of specially trained engineers, in-field site service specialists and technicians we can offer professional, cost effective SDI testing and support solutions across the UK and Ireland.

Contact us now for more information or for your FREE, no obligation quote.

You may also be interested in…

Being a Duty Holder for Legionella – What Does it Mean?
E.coli water testing for hot tubs and swimming pools
Scale, corrosion & microbiological control in cooling water systems
Controlling legionella in hot and cold water systems
Guide to flushing & pre-commission cleaning
Dust monitoring in the workplace
Role of the responsible person for legionella control
Biocides for closed systems
Testing indoor air quality & Sick Building Syndrome
Drinking water testing

Further reading…

More information on the Silt Density Index… here →

Water treatment training

Water Treatment Training Dates 2018

Water Treatment Training Dates for 2018

Water treatment training dates for 2018

World-class industrial and process water treatment courses

Water Treatment Services is a leading industrial water treatment, engineering and environmental services company offering a comprehensive range of specialist training courses. We deliver a full programme of public training courses, week-long Master Class sessions, together with courses delivered exclusively for clients at their premises. Details of our public and Master Class sessions for 2018 are provided here.

Our professional training courses cater for facilities managers, water and wastewater treatment engineers, plant operators, environmental and process engineers, engineering and maintenance contractors, and those with responsibility for the operation and management of commercial, industrial and process water treatment systems.

Our courses are delivered by experienced industry experts to ensure candidates develop the skills and practical knowledge required to fulfil their responsibilities with confidence.

Industrial Water Treatment Master Class Sessions

Next Dates – Week of 24-28 September 2018, Week of 4-7 December 2018

Location – Manchester, United Kingdom (On-site courses can also be arranged – please contact us )

Availability – Places are limited, please book early to avoid disappointment … contact us

2018 Master Class Schedule

  • Day 1

    Basic Chemistry of Water & Analysis Techniques – WTS 0010 forms a foundation to our range of courses and provides a useful introduction to the basic chemistry of water, its use in industrial and commercial applications, and why and how it is typically treated … basic chemistry of water →

  • Day 2

    Pre-Treatment Techniques for Industrial and Process Waters – WTS 0030 provides a detailed review of popular pre-treatment processes used for waters in commercial, industrial and process environments. It deals with base exchange water softening, de-alkalisation, de-mineralisation, reverse osmosis … industrial pre-treatment →

  • Day 3

    Water Treatment for Industrial Boilers and Steam Generating Systems – WTS 0040 provides a detailed review of the water treatment processes involved in the operation and management of steam raising systems including industrial boilers and steam generating plant in commercial, industrial and process environments. … boiler water treatment →

  • Day 4

    Water Treatment for Cooling Towers and Other Cooling Systems – WTS 0050 provides a detailed review of the water treatment processes involved in cooling water systems and cooling towers, open recirculating and evaporative cooling systems in commercial, industrial and process environments … cooling water treatment →

  • Day 5

    Water Treatment for Closed Heating and Cooling Water Systems – WTS 0060 provides a detailed review of the water treatment processes, procedures and techniques used to protect closed systems including closed-circuit heating and cooling systems in commercial, industrial and process environments … closed system heating and cooling →

Book Your Place Now

For more information about course prices, availability or to book a place on our Industrial Water Treatment Master Class sessions for September and December 2018 contact us today. Please note places are limited and allocated on a first-come basis. To avoid disappointment please call us on 0330 223 31 31 or simply use the button below to get our full contact details or submit our contact form.

World Leading Water & Wastewater Treatment Expertise

All our professional water treatment training courses are delivered by highly experienced, water industry specialists who are leading experts in matters concerning the implementation, management and control of industrial and commercial water and wastewater treatment installations.

You may also be interested in…

Being a Duty Holder for Legionella – What Does it Mean?
E.coli water testing for hot tubs and swimming pools
Scale, corrosion & microbiological control in cooling water systems
Controlling legionella in hot and cold water systems
Role of the responsible person for legionella control
Drinking water testing
Testing water for metals
Water treatment training
Water treatment training
Water treatment training

Further reading…

More information about industrial water treatment … here →

Pages

Guide to flushing & pre-commission cleaning

Guide to Flushing & Pre-Commission Cleaning of Pipework Systems Pre-Handover

It’s often easy to take the performance of engineered-water systems for granted. Ensuring that they perform as they should can be helped significantly by following the correct pre-commission cleaning and flushing procedures of the pipework systems at the pre-handover stage. There is a lot to think about when you’re carrying out a pre-commission clean or on-line flush of a water system, and irrespective of whether the responsibility for doing this is with the client, main contractor or engineering sub-contractor, there are a few key steps that you need to follow to ensure success.

Read more

Role of the responsible person for legionella control

Taking on the Role of the Responsible Person for Legionella Control

If you work in an organisation which has any type of water system, including hot and cold water systems, showers, spa pools, air conditioning units or cooling towers, then there should be someone in your company who is designated as the responsible person for legionella control. This role can be an onerous one depending on the size and complexity of the buildings and water systems at your place of work. The role typically involves assessing the risks and putting in to place procedures and systems for the control of Legionella bacteria, the microorganism which can cause Legionnaires’ disease, a potentially fatal lung infection.

Read more

Biocides for closed systems

Choosing Biocides for Closed Systems – Closed Circuit Heating & Cooling Systems

Most organisations are keen to take steps to control the growth of micro-organisms which can flourish inside closed circuit water systems, including closed heating and cooling systems. Controlling the growth of bacteria in such closed circuit systems can also help to prevent the build-up of biofilm on the inside of pipe surfaces. It will also help limit the bacterial breakdown of any corrosion inhibitor chemicals that have been added to the water in the system.

Read more

Drinking water testing

Drinking Water Testing

Drinking Water Testing & Analysis

Drinking water testing

Specialist drinking water testing and analysis

WTS is a leading water, air and environmental company offering a range of specialist solutions to organisations throughout the UK and Ireland. Our expert laboratory services include drinking water testing and analysis of both mains fed (tap water) and private water supplies. Our potable water analysis procedures incorporate testing for metals and heavy metals, chemical analysis, microbiological water testing and in-field sampling services.

Why test drinking water?

When was the last time that you had the quality of your tap water tested? Here in the UK, our water utility companies have to conform to strict water quality standards set by the Government, and enforced by the regulator, the Drinking Water Inspectorate (DWI). These standards ensure that the water flowing through the mains distribution system is up to scratch at all times. However, once the water leaves the mains supply and enters a private residence or commercial building, the pipes, storage tanks, local distribution systems and other factors can start to affect the quality of the water. There are also properties, mostly in remote locations, which depend on other types of private water supplies such as springs, boreholes, rivers, lakes or wells and people using these types of supplies may need to carry out their own drinking water testing too.

Specialist tap water testing & in-field sampling

Our specialist laboratory drinking water analysis and sampling solutions include:

  • Laboratory Water Testing & Analysis

    Specialist laboratory analysis of drinking water for metals, chemicals and microbiological parameters.

  • Mains Fed Tap Water Analysis

    Specialist suite of tests covering metal and chemical parameters specifically for mains fed water systems.

  • Private Water Supply Testing

    Specialist suite of tests covering metal and chemical parameters specifically for private water supplies, wells and borehole fed water systems.

  • Microbiological Water Analysis

    Specialist analysis for a range of microbial parameters including coliforms, E. coli, total viable count (TVC), enterococci, sulphate reducing bacteria (SRB), legionella and pseudomonas.

  • Monitoring & Validation

    Latest laboratory and in-field water analysis equipment to monitor and validate water treatment programme performance against regulatory standards.

  • In-field Sampling.

    Expert in-field water sampling.

Full national UK coverage

With offices in London serving the South and South East England, Manchester (North West), Birmingham (Midlands), Bristol (South East England and Wales), Leeds (North and North East) and Glasgow (Scotland), supported by regional teams of specially trained engineers, water treatment specialists and technicians we can offer professional, cost effective drinking water testing, in-field water sampling and laboratory analysis services across the UK and Ireland.

Contact WTS today to learn how our water quality analysis solutions can help identify contamination issues. To speak with one of our water testing experts call us on 0330 223 31 31 or simply use the button below to get our full contact details or submit our contact form.

What could contaminate mains fed tap water?

If you are supplied by a water utility company and are concerned about what might be getting into your water between it leaving the public mains and coming out of the taps in your property, then a good place to start is by looking at how you treat your water, the type of water distribution systems you have in your building, the materials that have been used (lead, copper, plastic etc.) to construct the system, especially the pipes carrying the water and any water storage tanks.

Older domestic and commercial properties which have not been renovated since 1970 might have lead pipes either in the kitchen, bathrooms, or elsewhere in the property on the route the water takes to the tap.

Lead was a common material used for pipes and plumbing installations pre-1970 and can cause serious health issues, especially in children and pregnant women. If water testing identifies that lead is contaminating your water and is present at higher than the prescribed limits, you should take prompt action to replace the pipes. Other common drinking water contaminants are corrosion by-products, most often caused by copper corrosion or cast iron pipes rusting and leaching iron particles into the water supply. If this is happening, the water way contain increased levels of iron, copper or even manganese which can all lead to discolouration of the water and unsightly surface staining of baths, sinks, WC’s, pools and spas.

There are several microbiological contaminants that can also affect water quality including Legionella bacteria and Pseudomonas aeruginosa. These bacterium will typically colonise a buildings local water distribution system and, under the right circumstances can cause serious health issues.

Testing private water supplies

If your water comes from a private water supply such as a well, spring, borehole or river, it is unlikely to have been through the intensive water treatment processing stages used by the water utility companies to filter and disinfect our mains drinking water. In the worse case scenario, this could mean that there are bacteria, viruses and a range of other chemical or metal contaminants in your water.

One of the main concerns when extracting from a private water supply is contamination with faecal matter, especially in rural and agricultural areas where the presence of animals and cattle may pollute local water courses. This can lead to dangerous contamination of the water by organisms such as E. coli and Salmonella. Other issues in such areas include contamination from elevated levels of nitrates, nitrites, sulphates and sulphides which can be caused by the intensive use of commercial fertilisers or sewage contamination.

Regular drinking water testing will help to make sure that the steps you are taking to treat your water are having the desired effect and that any unwanted contaminants are maintained within the safe limits set out by the government. If you are living or working in a property with a private water supply, testing the supply might be something you do on a regular basis.

Testing drinking water

If you are testing drinking water for just one contaminant, such as lead or bacteria, then you might choose to use simple test strips or dip slides which you can dip in to the water to get your result. These are a quick and cost-effective way of testing your water but with one obvious drawback – you might get an answer about one type of contaminant but be completely unaware of other serious issues with your water. We recommend it’s better and safer to have your tap water tested by the experts at WTS, who can run a series of specialist drinking water tests in the laboratory to identify a range of specific microbiological, metal and chemical contaminants in your water, and determine at which levels they are present. These results would then be compared to the standards set out in the governments Water Supply Regulations, and a report produced. The report will flag up those contaminants which are of particular concern, allowing you to target your efforts to reduce risk.

Standard compliance suite of tests for potable (drinking) water

Our standard compliance suite of tests for potable (drinking) water is highly recommended and provides an excellent indication of overall water quality for general potable applications. This compliance suite includes for the following tests:

  • General colony microbial counts after 2 and 3 days
  • Clostridium perfringens (confirmed)
  • Total coliforms
  • E.coli
  • Conductivity
  • pH
  • Turbidity
  • Ammonium
  • Nitrite
  • Nitrate
  • Odour
  • Taste
  • Aluminium
  • Iron
  • Manganese
  • Colour

Mains fed water testing & analysis (chemical & metal)

Our standard suite of chemical and metal parameter tests for mains fed water supplies would typically include:

  • Chloride
  • Conductivity
  • Copper
  • Hardness
  • Iron
  • Lead
  • Alkalinity
  • Manganese
  • pH
  • Phosphate
  • TDS

Testing private water supplies & borehole water analysis (chemical & metal)

Our standard suite of chemical and metal parameter tests for private water supplies, wells, boreholes, lakes and rivers would typically include:

  • Chloride
  • Conductivity
  • Copper
  • Hardness
  • Iron
  • Lead
  • Alkalinity
  • Manganese
  • Nitrate
  • Nitrite
  • pH
  • Phosphate
  • Sulphate
  • Sulphide
  • TDS

Drinking water treatment techniques

Once you have your detailed drinking water analysis report giving information about the quality of your drinking water and any issues which have been found, you can then make plans for improving the quality of your water… or where this is not possible, to look for an alternative supply.

The approach and water treatment techniques selected will depend very much on the types of contaminants which have been identified. For example, if high levels of bacteria have been found in the water, the advice might be to use UV light to kill off the bugs, or add a suitable, DWI approved disinfectant to the water supply to kill them that way.

If the issue is corrosion in the pipes causing the water to become discoloured, then replacing the pipes might be the only option. If other types of contaminants are found, you might be able to filter them out by adding a filtration system either at the point where the water supply enters the property, or directly adjacent to the taps used for drinking water.

However, it’s important to remember that there is no point making any of these changes before you know whether or not you have a problem with water quality, and that can only be determined by specialist drinking water testing.

On-going water quality testing & analysis

Once you have invested in the correct improvements to your water supply, it’s then essential to have the water retested in exactly the same way so that you get an accurate comparison of the water quality before and after. It may also be well worthwhile implementing a regular programme of water testing to ensure water quality is maintained consistently.

Specialist drinking water testing for metals, chemicals & microbial contaminants

Contact WTS today to find out more about our laboratory water analysis services including drinking water testing for mains fed and private water supplies, and in-field sampling services.

With offices in London serving the South and South East England, Manchester (North West), Birmingham (Midlands), Bristol (South East England and Wales), Leeds (North and North East) and Glasgow (Scotland), supported by regional teams of specially trained technicians, in-field specialists and consultants we can offer cost effective environmental support solutions across the whole of the UK and Ireland.

Contact us today for more information or for your FREE, no obligation quote.

You may also be interested in…

Being a Duty Holder for Legionella – What Does it Mean?
E.coli water testing for hot tubs and swimming pools
Scale, corrosion & microbiological control in cooling water systems
Controlling legionella in hot and cold water systems
Guide to flushing & pre-commission cleaning
Dust monitoring in the workplace
Role of the responsible person for legionella control
Biocides for closed systems
Testing indoor air quality & Sick Building Syndrome
Drinking water testing

Further reading…

More information about drinking water quality … here →

Guide to flushing & pre-commission cleaning

Guide to Flushing & Pre-Commission Cleaning of Pipework Systems Pre-Handover

It’s often easy to take the performance of engineered-water systems for granted. Ensuring that they perform as they should can be helped significantly by following the correct pre-commission cleaning and flushing procedures of the pipework systems at the pre-handover stage. There is a lot to think about when you’re carrying out a pre-commission clean or on-line flush of a water system, and irrespective of whether the responsibility for doing this is with the client, main contractor or engineering sub-contractor, there are a few key steps that you need to follow to ensure success.

Read more

Role of the responsible person for legionella control

Taking on the Role of the Responsible Person for Legionella Control

If you work in an organisation which has any type of water system, including hot and cold water systems, showers, spa pools, air conditioning units or cooling towers, then there should be someone in your company who is designated as the responsible person for legionella control. This role can be an onerous one depending on the size and complexity of the buildings and water systems at your place of work. The role typically involves assessing the risks and putting in to place procedures and systems for the control of Legionella bacteria, the microorganism which can cause Legionnaires’ disease, a potentially fatal lung infection.

Read more

Biocides for closed systems

Choosing Biocides for Closed Systems – Closed Circuit Heating & Cooling Systems

Most organisations are keen to take steps to control the growth of micro-organisms which can flourish inside closed circuit water systems, including closed heating and cooling systems. Controlling the growth of bacteria in such closed circuit systems can also help to prevent the build-up of biofilm on the inside of pipe surfaces. It will also help limit the bacterial breakdown of any corrosion inhibitor chemicals that have been added to the water in the system.

Read more

Drinking water testing

Drinking Water Testing

Drinking Water Testing & Analysis

Drinking water testing

Specialist drinking water testing and analysis

WTS is a leading water, air and environmental company offering a range of specialist solutions to organisations throughout the UK and Ireland. Our expert laboratory services include drinking water testing and analysis of both mains fed (tap water) and private water supplies. Our potable water analysis procedures incorporate testing for metals and heavy metals, chemical analysis, microbiological water testing and in-field sampling services.

Why test drinking water?

When was the last time that you had the quality of your tap water tested? Here in the UK, our water utility companies have to conform to strict water quality standards set by the Government, and enforced by the regulator, the Drinking Water Inspectorate (DWI). These standards ensure that the water flowing through the mains distribution system is up to scratch at all times. However, once the water leaves the mains supply and enters a private residence or commercial building, the pipes, storage tanks, local distribution systems and other factors can start to affect the quality of the water. There are also properties, mostly in remote locations, which depend on other types of private water supplies such as springs, boreholes, rivers, lakes or wells and people using these types of supplies may need to carry out their own drinking water testing too.

Specialist tap water testing & in-field sampling

Our specialist laboratory drinking water analysis and sampling solutions include:

  • Laboratory Water Testing & Analysis

    Specialist laboratory analysis of drinking water for metals, chemicals and microbiological parameters.

  • Mains Fed Tap Water Analysis

    Specialist suite of tests covering metal and chemical parameters specifically for mains fed water systems.

  • Private Water Supply Testing

    Specialist suite of tests covering metal and chemical parameters specifically for private water supplies, wells and borehole fed water systems.

  • Microbiological Water Analysis

    Specialist analysis for a range of microbial parameters including coliforms, E. coli, total viable count (TVC), enterococci, sulphate reducing bacteria (SRB), legionella and pseudomonas.

  • Monitoring & Validation

    Latest laboratory and in-field water analysis equipment to monitor and validate water treatment programme performance against regulatory standards.

  • In-field Sampling.

    Expert in-field water sampling.

Full national UK coverage

With offices in London serving the South and South East England, Manchester (North West), Birmingham (Midlands), Bristol (South East England and Wales), Leeds (North and North East) and Glasgow (Scotland), supported by regional teams of specially trained engineers, water treatment specialists and technicians we can offer professional, cost effective drinking water testing, in-field water sampling and laboratory analysis services across the UK and Ireland.

Contact WTS today to learn how our water quality analysis solutions can help identify contamination issues. To speak with one of our water testing experts call us on 0330 223 31 31 or simply use the button below to get our full contact details or submit our contact form.

What could contaminate mains fed tap water?

If you are supplied by a water utility company and are concerned about what might be getting into your water between it leaving the public mains and coming out of the taps in your property, then a good place to start is by looking at how you treat your water, the type of water distribution systems you have in your building, the materials that have been used (lead, copper, plastic etc.) to construct the system, especially the pipes carrying the water and any water storage tanks.

Older domestic and commercial properties which have not been renovated since 1970 might have lead pipes either in the kitchen, bathrooms, or elsewhere in the property on the route the water takes to the tap.

Lead was a common material used for pipes and plumbing installations pre-1970 and can cause serious health issues, especially in children and pregnant women. If water testing identifies that lead is contaminating your water and is present at higher than the prescribed limits, you should take prompt action to replace the pipes. Other common drinking water contaminants are corrosion by-products, most often caused by copper corrosion or cast iron pipes rusting and leaching iron particles into the water supply. If this is happening, the water way contain increased levels of iron, copper or even manganese which can all lead to discolouration of the water and unsightly surface staining of baths, sinks, WC’s, pools and spas.

There are several microbiological contaminants that can also affect water quality including Legionella bacteria and Pseudomonas aeruginosa. These bacterium will typically colonise a buildings local water distribution system and, under the right circumstances can cause serious health issues.

Testing private water supplies

If your water comes from a private water supply such as a well, spring, borehole or river, it is unlikely to have been through the intensive water treatment processing stages used by the water utility companies to filter and disinfect our mains drinking water. In the worse case scenario, this could mean that there are bacteria, viruses and a range of other chemical or metal contaminants in your water.

One of the main concerns when extracting from a private water supply is contamination with faecal matter, especially in rural and agricultural areas where the presence of animals and cattle may pollute local water courses. This can lead to dangerous contamination of the water by organisms such as E. coli and Salmonella. Other issues in such areas include contamination from elevated levels of nitrates, nitrites, sulphates and sulphides which can be caused by the intensive use of commercial fertilisers or sewage contamination.

Regular drinking water testing will help to make sure that the steps you are taking to treat your water are having the desired effect and that any unwanted contaminants are maintained within the safe limits set out by the government. If you are living or working in a property with a private water supply, testing the supply might be something you do on a regular basis.

Testing drinking water

If you are testing drinking water for just one contaminant, such as lead or bacteria, then you might choose to use simple test strips or dip slides which you can dip in to the water to get your result. These are a quick and cost-effective way of testing your water but with one obvious drawback – you might get an answer about one type of contaminant but be completely unaware of other serious issues with your water. We recommend it’s better and safer to have your tap water tested by the experts at WTS, who can run a series of specialist drinking water tests in the laboratory to identify a range of specific microbiological, metal and chemical contaminants in your water, and determine at which levels they are present. These results would then be compared to the standards set out in the governments Water Supply Regulations, and a report produced. The report will flag up those contaminants which are of particular concern, allowing you to target your efforts to reduce risk.

Standard compliance suite of tests for potable (drinking) water

Our standard compliance suite of tests for potable (drinking) water is highly recommended and provides an excellent indication of overall water quality for general potable applications. This compliance suite includes for the following tests:

  • General colony microbial counts after 2 and 3 days
  • Clostridium perfringens (confirmed)
  • Total coliforms
  • E.coli
  • Conductivity
  • pH
  • Turbidity
  • Ammonium
  • Nitrite
  • Nitrate
  • Odour
  • Taste
  • Aluminium
  • Iron
  • Manganese
  • Colour

Mains fed water testing & analysis (chemical & metal)

Our standard suite of chemical and metal parameter tests for mains fed water supplies would typically include:

  • Chloride
  • Conductivity
  • Copper
  • Hardness
  • Iron
  • Lead
  • Alkalinity
  • Manganese
  • pH
  • Phosphate
  • TDS

Testing private water supplies & borehole water analysis (chemical & metal)

Our standard suite of chemical and metal parameter tests for private water supplies, wells, boreholes, lakes and rivers would typically include:

  • Chloride
  • Conductivity
  • Copper
  • Hardness
  • Iron
  • Lead
  • Alkalinity
  • Manganese
  • Nitrate
  • Nitrite
  • pH
  • Phosphate
  • Sulphate
  • Sulphide
  • TDS

Drinking water treatment techniques

Once you have your detailed drinking water analysis report giving information about the quality of your drinking water and any issues which have been found, you can then make plans for improving the quality of your water… or where this is not possible, to look for an alternative supply.

The approach and water treatment techniques selected will depend very much on the types of contaminants which have been identified. For example, if high levels of bacteria have been found in the water, the advice might be to use UV light to kill off the bugs, or add a suitable, DWI approved disinfectant to the water supply to kill them that way.

If the issue is corrosion in the pipes causing the water to become discoloured, then replacing the pipes might be the only option. If other types of contaminants are found, you might be able to filter them out by adding a filtration system either at the point where the water supply enters the property, or directly adjacent to the taps used for drinking water.

However, it’s important to remember that there is no point making any of these changes before you know whether or not you have a problem with water quality, and that can only be determined by specialist drinking water testing.

On-going water quality testing & analysis

Once you have invested in the correct improvements to your water supply, it’s then essential to have the water retested in exactly the same way so that you get an accurate comparison of the water quality before and after. It may also be well worthwhile implementing a regular programme of water testing to ensure water quality is maintained consistently.

Specialist drinking water testing for metals, chemicals & microbial contaminants

Contact WTS today to find out more about our laboratory water analysis services including drinking water testing for mains fed and private water supplies, and in-field sampling services.

With offices in London serving the South and South East England, Manchester (North West), Birmingham (Midlands), Bristol (South East England and Wales), Leeds (North and North East) and Glasgow (Scotland), supported by regional teams of specially trained technicians, in-field specialists and consultants we can offer cost effective environmental support solutions across the whole of the UK and Ireland.

Contact us today for more information or for your FREE, no obligation quote.

You may also be interested in…

Being a Duty Holder for Legionella – What Does it Mean?
E.coli water testing for hot tubs and swimming pools
Scale, corrosion & microbiological control in cooling water systems
Controlling legionella in hot and cold water systems
Guide to flushing & pre-commission cleaning
Dust monitoring in the workplace
Role of the responsible person for legionella control
Biocides for closed systems
Testing indoor air quality & Sick Building Syndrome
Drinking water testing

Further reading…

More information about drinking water quality … here →

Testing water for lead

Testing Water for Lead – The Dangers of Lead Pipes & Plumbing

Is testing water for lead a good idea? Well… whilst in the UK we are lucky enough to have a safe supply of drinking water people still worry about all sorts of contaminants getting into their water supply. One of those contaminants is lead, and it can cause very real health issues in humans if it’s not detected and dealt with properly.

Read more

Testing water for metals

Metals Testing

Testing Water for Metals & Heavy Metals

Testing water for metals

Specialist metal and heavy metals analysis

WTS is a leading UK water, air and environmental services company offering a full range of environmental solutions to organisations throughout the UK and Ireland. Our expert laboratory analysis services include testing water for metals (and heavy metals), wastewater and trade effluent testing, chemical and microbiological analysis and in-field sampling services.

Why test water for metals?

There are a number of reasons why you may want to test water for metals, including some of the more common heavy metals such as lead, mercury and arsenic. You may extract your water from a private supply and be concerned about contamination of your drinking water, or you may be a business looking to satisfy trade effluent discharge standards for your wastewater. Whatever your reasons WTS has the expertise to help you.

Specialist water analysis & in-field sampling

Our specialist laboratory based water analysis and in-field sampling solutions include:

  • Laboratory Water Testing & Analysis

    Expert analysis of water, waste water and industrial effluents for metals, chemicals and microbiological parameters.

  • Physical Parameters

    Testing for specified physical parameters in water.

  • Monitoring & Validation

    Latest laboratory and in-field water analysis equipment to monitor and validate water treatment programme performance and satisfy discharge consent standards.

  • In-field Sampling.

    Expert in-field water sampling.

Full national UK coverage

With offices in London serving the South and South East England, Manchester (North West), Birmingham (Midlands), Bristol (South East England and Wales), Leeds (North and North East) and Glasgow (Scotland), supported by regional teams of specially trained engineers, water treatment service specialists and technical experts we can offer professional, cost effective water testing, in-field water sampling and laboratory analysis services across the UK and Ireland.

Contact WTS today to learn how our professional water quality analysis, in-field testing and sampling solutions can help improve your water quality, water treatment validation and regulatory compliance processes. To speak with one of our water testing experts call us on 0330 223 31 31 or simply use the button below to get our full contact details or submit our contact form.

Understanding water quality

Here in the UK we’re lucky to have a safe and reliable supply of clean drinking water, literally on-tap. Most homes and commercial buildings in the UK get their mains water supplied directly by one of the big water companies, who have a responsibility to check the quality of the water being supplied, and testing it to ensure it falls within strict legal limits set by the regulators.

Water supplied for drinking (often called potable water) in the UK has to be constantly monitored, and there is an independent regulatory body called the Drinking Water Inspectorate (DWI) which monitors this. DWI inspectors regularly enter consumer properties to take water samples for independent analysis.

The quality of our drinking water is not something most of us need to worry about unless something goes wrong. However, if you’re buying or leasing a property for residential or commercial purposes which takes its water from a private water supply such as a well, borehole, spring or other water source, then it’s up to you to ensure your water meets the standards set in the Water Supply Regulations 2016. Confirming this may involve testing water for metals, chemicals, microbiological parameters and other common contaminants.

What metals could be in our water?

In general, heavy metals contaminating our water supplies are less of a problem than they were in the past. With improved environmental awareness we’ve cleaned up our collective act when it comes to waste and wastewater disposal. Changing patterns of work have also meant that we just don’t have the heavy industrial processes that previously used iron, steel, lead, mercury, arsenic and other metals. However, that doesn’t mean there is now no longer any metal contamination of our water supplies. It’s therefore important that where you suspect there may be a metal contamination issue that you test your water to make sure concentrations’ do not exceed the safe limits set by the Government.

Some of the main metals and other elements you might find in water, and which could potentially cause health problems if present at high enough concentrations include:

  • Lead

    Although lead has been banned for use in water pipes and water storage tanks since the 1970s, many older properties which have not been renovated for years might still have lead pipes.

    Too much lead in drinking water can have serious consequences; lead poisoning can cause a range of health problems including headaches, high blood pressure, memory loss, abdominal pain, kidney failure, miscarriage or premature birth.

  • Mercury

    Mercury occurs naturally in the environment and can combine with other elements in the earth to form a variety of compounds.

    Unlike lead poisoning where the effects build up over time, short term exposure to high levels of mercury in drinking water can cause serious health issues including headaches, insomnia, kidney problems, as well as having an effect on hearing, vision and memor

  • Arsenic

    It’s not news that arsenic is poisonous, and this metallic element is found at differing levels throughout the UK. Long-term exposure to arsenic in drinking water is linked to a higher risk of developing several types of cancer as well as heart disease.

  • Aluminium

    Scientific research is still ongoing into the possible negative effects of aluminium in drinking water, with many press reports making a link with increased levels of dementia.

  • Iron

    Most iron contamination in our drinking water comes from old plumbing installations where old iron pipes and water tanks corrode, and leach iron into the water. High levels of iron in water are generally easy to spot as the water becomes discoloured.

  • Calcium

    If you live in a hard water area then there will be higher levels of calcium and magnesium salts dissolved in your water… when compared to soft water areas. There are no reported health issues associated with drinking hard water, but it can cause limescale damage to boilers, kettles, washing machines and other appliances that use untreated hard water.

Drinking water metal analysis

The UK’s 2016 Water Supply Regulations set out maximum allowable limits for metals and heavy metals in drinking water. If your water is supplied from a water utility company then they are obliged to meet these standards. However, if you extract from a private water supply such as a well, borehole, spring or other water source, then it’s up to you to ensure you meet these standards. The following limits on the maximum concentration levels of metals in drinking water are taken from the Water Supply Regulations 2016.

Maximum Concentration of Metals in Drinking Water - Water Supply Regulations
MetalMaximum concentration
in drinking water
Point of compliance
Aluminium (Al)200 µg/lConsumers’ taps
Antimony (Sb)5.0 µg/lConsumers’ taps
Arsenic (As)10 µg/lConsumers’ taps
Boron (B)1.0 mg/lConsumers’ taps
Cadmium (Cd)5.0 µg/lConsumers’ taps
Chromium (Cr)50 µg/lConsumers’ taps
Copper (Cu)2.0 µg/lConsumers’ taps
Iron (Fe)200 µg/lConsumers’ taps
Lead (Pb)10 µg/lConsumers’ taps
Manganese (Mn)50 µg/lConsumers’ taps
Mercury (Hg)1.0 µg/lConsumers’ taps
Nickel (Ni)20 µg/lConsumers’ taps
Selenium (Se)10 µg/lConsumers’ taps
Sodium (Na)200 µg/lConsumers’ taps

Trade effluent & waste water metals analysis

If you intend to discharge trade effluent or industrial waste water in to a public sewer or watercourse such as a stream, river, lake or the sea then you will need to obtain specific consent from your local sewerage undertaker. Your consent to discharge is likely to include strict limits on the quality of the effluent including its metal content. WTS can analyse your waste water and effluent streams for a range of common metals including the following:

  • Antimony
  • Arsenic
  • Barium
  • Cadmium
  • Chromium
  • Copper
  • Lead
  • Mercury
  • Molybdenum
  • Selenium
  • Zinc
  • Other metals

Making sure drinking water is safe

There are a number of steps you can take to make sure that your drinking water is safe, especially when you’re relying on water from a private supply or natural source rather than taking it from one of the big water utilities.

The approach selected in treating your water before drinking will very much depend on what type of contamination problems exist or are suspected. Testing water for metals, chemicals, microbiological and other contaminants is therefore important. The main methods used to treat water to make it suitable for drinking are:

  • Filtration

    Filtration is a very common technique and involves water flowing through a series of filters which are designed to remove particles of various sizes that contaminate the water. This process could be as simple as a jug filter with removable cartridge for use in a home kitchen, or a complex series of filters used to treat wastewater or industrial effluent that uses several different elements at various stages of the filtration process.

  • UV Treatment

    Ultra-violet or UV treatment is a commonly used technique to deal with microbiological contamination. Although this process won’t do anything to remove metals in your water, it’s a common way of dealing with bacteria that can contaminate drinking water supplies. The advantage of this technique is that it offers a chemical-free way of treating drinking water.

  • Chlorination

    Chlorination is a very common water treatment technique and has been used successfully for many years. Chlorine is the primary chemical added to municipal water supplies to kill off bugs and bacteria in drinking water to make it safer to drink. While treatment with chlorine is a cheap and simple way of dealing with microbiological contamination, it won’t deal with any metals in water.

Experts at testing water for metals & other contaminants

Contact WTS today to find out more about our laboratory water analysis services including testing water for metals, waste water and trade effluent analysis, chemical and microbiological testing and in-field sampling services.

With offices in London serving the South and South East England, Manchester (North West), Birmingham (Midlands), Bristol (South East England and Wales), Leeds (North and North East) and Glasgow (Scotland), supported by regional teams of specially trained technicians, in-field specialists and consultants we can offer professional, cost effective environmental support solutions across the whole of the UK and Ireland.

Contact us today for more information or for your FREE, no obligation quote.

You may also be interested in…

Being a Duty Holder for Legionella – What Does it Mean?
E.coli water testing for hot tubs and swimming pools
Scale, corrosion & microbiological control in cooling water systems
Controlling legionella in hot and cold water systems
Guide to flushing & pre-commission cleaning
Dust monitoring in the workplace
Role of the responsible person for legionella control
Biocides for closed systems
Testing indoor air quality & Sick Building Syndrome
Drinking water testing

Further reading…

More information about water quality, metals and heavy metal contamination … here →

SDI testing

SDI Testing & Analysis

Silt Density Index (SDI) Testing & Analysis

SDI testing

Expert in-field SDI testing and analysis.

WTS is a specialist water and environmental services company offering expert in-field Silt Density Index analysis and SDI testing services for operators of reverse osmosis (RO) and other membrane filtration systems.

Our in-field and laboratory based water analysis services help organisations using reverse osmosis and other membrane filtration processes to optimise the effectiveness of their systems by reducing costs, enhancing efficiencies, and maintaining water quality and system performance.

If you use a reverse osmosis (RO) membrane system for purifying water in your business, as part of an industrial process or even at home, then you’ll already be aware of the importance of the Silt Density Index (SDI) and the need for regular SDI testing and analysis of the water entering your RO membranes. Such analysis procedures will allow you to understand and monitor the membrane fouling potential of the source water and help determine what steps are needed to keep your systems operating at optimum efficiency.

Expert silt density index testing & in-field analysis

Our specialist water analysis and in-field water testing solutions include:

  • silt density index testing

    Specialist in-field SDI testing and analysis to determine the fouling potential of source waters.

  • Laboratory Water Testing & Analysis

    Expert laboratory based analysis of water for an extensive range of parameters.

  • Monitoring & Validation

    Latest in-field water analysis equipment to monitor and validate programme performance.

  • Treatment programme Development

    Development and specification of specialist water treatment and membrane cleaning programmes to optimise system performance.

  • membrane autopsy

    Specialist membrane evaluation and autopsy.

Full national UK coverage

With offices in London serving the South and South East England, Manchester (North West), Birmingham (Midlands), Bristol (South East England and Wales), Leeds (North and North East) and Glasgow (Scotland), supported by regional teams of specially trained engineers, water treatment service specialists and technicians we can offer professional, cost effective in-field SDI testing and analysis, water sampling, membrane autopsy and specialist laboratory services across the UK and Ireland.

Contact WTS today to learn how our professional Silt Density Index testing and analysis solutions can help improve  the performance of your reverse osmosis and membrane filtration processes. To speak with one of our water testing experts call us on 0330 223 31 31 or simply use the button below to get our full contact details or submit our contact form.

What is reverse osmosis & how is it used?

Reverse osmosis, often abbreviated to RO is simply a scientific term that is used to describe a technique used to filter water, wastewater and other liquids. In this type of filtration system, water flows through a specially constructed membrane which can filter out very fine materials including bacteria, salts and other particles that may have contaminated the water. It’s a process which is most commonly used for desalinating seawater and making it safe to drink, filtering wastewater or effluent to make it suitable for reuse, but is also used in other specialist industries which require very pure water as part of their processes.

The membranes that are typically used in RO, desalination and Ultra-Pure processes allow water to flow through several different layers, all designed to filter out particles of differing sizes. These membranes are designed to only allow water to flow in one direction, and are usually made from a high performance plastic material. In a lot of ways the materials used in the membrane are similar to human skin, which allows sweat to flow out of our body, but does not let water pass through in the other direction.

The downside to the reverse osmosis process is that as well as removing potentially harmful bacteria, salts and other contaminants from the water, other more beneficial minerals can also be removed too.

Reverse osmosis and desalination can be an expensive, energy intensive processes. Desalination is typically only used on a large scale for drinking water where there is no other alternative. In the countries of Northern Europe where rainfall is rarely an issue, reverse osmosis water treatment is mainly used in specialist industrial processes, and for ultra-pure and medical water production.

Membranes, silt & analysis of fouling potential

Silt Density Index testing is a way of measuring the quantities of particles, bacteria and other contaminants (effluent) that can become trapped in a membrane. This is often referred to as the “fouling potential” or “fouling capacity” of the suspended solids, or in other words, how quickly a membrane is going to become plugged given the level of contaminants in the water.

Source water which is found to have a high Silt Density Index, and so more likely to cause more rapid fouling might have to go through some form of pre-treatment process before entering a reverse osmosis membrane system. Alternatively, if an operator is aware of the increased membrane fouling potential of their water, they may implement alternative solutions to the issue which could include changing the membranes more regularly, more frequent cleaning or switching to a different type of material for the membrane itself.

Silt density index testing calculations

There is a standard way of measuring the Silt Density Index of source water which is summarised here:

Using a 0.45 micrometre filter, source or feed water is forced through a membrane at a constant pressure of 30 psi (2.07 bar).

First, measure the time taken to collect a 500ml sample of water (ti ). Continue timing.

Maintain this pressure and take additional timings required to collect three further 500ml samples, typically after 5 (t5), 10 (t10) and 15 (t15) minutes have elapsed, this is to allow silt to build up.

How to calculate SDI

The plugging factor (PF) can be calculated at the 5, 10 and 15 minute intervals as follows:

PF5 = (1- ti / t5)100

PF10 = (1- ti / t10)100

PF15 = (1- ti / t15)100

The SDI test value is then determined as:

 SDI = PF/ t

The lowest SDI value, usually at 15 minutes, is the value that is reported.

Example calculation

Your timings indicate a ti of 1 minute and t15 of 4 minutes.

The plugging factor is calculated as follows:

PF= (1-1/4)100 = 75

SDI = 75/15 = 5

This indicates a fourfold reduction in flow or a 75 % plugged test filter.

SDI measurements at 5 and 10 minutes are often useful for source waters with higher SDI values where they can give a better indication of the rate at which the RO membrane is fouling.

Interpreting SDI test results

Our specialist SDI testing equipment measures the decrease in water flowing through the membrane over a specific test period.

Decreased flow is caused by particles (suspended solids) clogging or plugging the membrane and preventing the water to pass through.

SDI test results are expressed as a number.

The Silt Density Index isn’t about identifying what particles are present in the water and what sizes the particles are, it’s a way of measuring the total quantity of colloidal and particulate matter in a water source and so its fouling potential.

Interpreting silt density index values

If the testing results show a Silt Density Index value of less than one, this is extremely pure water which can flow through a reverse osmosis system for several years before membranes start to become fouled with silt.

Typically, water with a Silt Density Index of 3 or less indicates a very high level of purity, and that membranes will be able to perform for several months without needing to be cleaned or changed.

An index value of between 3 and 5 means that the water source, although not free from particles and silt, is suitable for use in a reverse osmosis system where the membranes are cleaned or changed regularly.

If the SDI result is 6 or higher, then the source water will require some form of pre-treatment to remove some of the colloidal and particulate matter before being passed through a reverse osmosis system. This could involve an additional filtration stage, UV treatment to remove bacteria or using higher quality water taken from a less contaminated source.

Sampling source water over time

It is important to remember that the SDI of a water source may change over time, especially with sea water desalination, but also with water taken from other sources. Depending on the specific application and the requirement for water purity in high volumes, testing to establish the silt density index might be performed weekly.

Specialist SDI test equipment is needed to force the source water at high pressure through the membrane and measure the results. Take advice from the experts at WTS about how best to test your water according your specific needs, and how often the testing process should be repeated.

Expert SDI testing & water analysis services

Contact WTS today to find out more about our professional SDI testing, laboratory and in-field sampling solutions and how they can help improve your reverse osmosis and membrane filtration processes.

As a leading provider of water tests, sampling and laboratory analysis procedures we can ensure you get the best possible services whenever you need them.

With offices in London serving the South and South East England, Manchester (North West), Birmingham (Midlands), Bristol (South East England and Wales), Leeds (North and North East) and Glasgow (Scotland), supported by teams of specially trained engineers, in-field site service specialists and technicians we can offer professional, cost effective SDI testing and support solutions across the UK and Ireland.

Contact us now for more information or for your FREE, no obligation quote.

You may also be interested in…

Being a Duty Holder for Legionella – What Does it Mean?
E.coli water testing for hot tubs and swimming pools
Scale, corrosion & microbiological control in cooling water systems
Controlling legionella in hot and cold water systems
Guide to flushing & pre-commission cleaning
Dust monitoring in the workplace
Role of the responsible person for legionella control
Biocides for closed systems
Testing indoor air quality & Sick Building Syndrome
Drinking water testing

Further reading…

More information on the Silt Density Index… here →

Water treatment training

Water Treatment Training Dates 2018

Water Treatment Training Dates for 2018

Water treatment training dates for 2018

World-class industrial and process water treatment courses

Water Treatment Services is a leading industrial water treatment, engineering and environmental services company offering a comprehensive range of specialist training courses. We deliver a full programme of public training courses, week-long Master Class sessions, together with courses delivered exclusively for clients at their premises. Details of our public and Master Class sessions for 2018 are provided here.

Our professional training courses cater for facilities managers, water and wastewater treatment engineers, plant operators, environmental and process engineers, engineering and maintenance contractors, and those with responsibility for the operation and management of commercial, industrial and process water treatment systems.

Our courses are delivered by experienced industry experts to ensure candidates develop the skills and practical knowledge required to fulfil their responsibilities with confidence.

Industrial Water Treatment Master Class Sessions

Next Dates – Week of 24-28 September 2018, Week of 4-7 December 2018

Location – Manchester, United Kingdom (On-site courses can also be arranged – please contact us )

Availability – Places are limited, please book early to avoid disappointment … contact us

2018 Master Class Schedule

  • Day 1

    Basic Chemistry of Water & Analysis Techniques – WTS 0010 forms a foundation to our range of courses and provides a useful introduction to the basic chemistry of water, its use in industrial and commercial applications, and why and how it is typically treated … basic chemistry of water →

  • Day 2

    Pre-Treatment Techniques for Industrial and Process Waters – WTS 0030 provides a detailed review of popular pre-treatment processes used for waters in commercial, industrial and process environments. It deals with base exchange water softening, de-alkalisation, de-mineralisation, reverse osmosis … industrial pre-treatment →

  • Day 3

    Water Treatment for Industrial Boilers and Steam Generating Systems – WTS 0040 provides a detailed review of the water treatment processes involved in the operation and management of steam raising systems including industrial boilers and steam generating plant in commercial, industrial and process environments. … boiler water treatment →

  • Day 4

    Water Treatment for Cooling Towers and Other Cooling Systems – WTS 0050 provides a detailed review of the water treatment processes involved in cooling water systems and cooling towers, open recirculating and evaporative cooling systems in commercial, industrial and process environments … cooling water treatment →

  • Day 5

    Water Treatment for Closed Heating and Cooling Water Systems – WTS 0060 provides a detailed review of the water treatment processes, procedures and techniques used to protect closed systems including closed-circuit heating and cooling systems in commercial, industrial and process environments … closed system heating and cooling →

Book Your Place Now

For more information about course prices, availability or to book a place on our Industrial Water Treatment Master Class sessions for September and December 2018 contact us today. Please note places are limited and allocated on a first-come basis. To avoid disappointment please call us on 0330 223 31 31 or simply use the button below to get our full contact details or submit our contact form.

World Leading Water & Wastewater Treatment Expertise

All our professional water treatment training courses are delivered by highly experienced, water industry specialists who are leading experts in matters concerning the implementation, management and control of industrial and commercial water and wastewater treatment installations.

You may also be interested in…

Being a Duty Holder for Legionella – What Does it Mean?
E.coli water testing for hot tubs and swimming pools
Scale, corrosion & microbiological control in cooling water systems
Controlling legionella in hot and cold water systems
Role of the responsible person for legionella control
Drinking water testing
Testing water for metals
Water treatment training
Water treatment training
Water treatment training

Further reading…

More information about industrial water treatment … here →