Large Water Systems


The provision of microbiologically safe drinking water depends on assessing the risks and putting in place effective control measures. Most large water companies use Drinking Water Plans[1] and risk assessment for this. The European Commission funded project Aquavalens aims to support this approach by delivering techniques for pathogen detection and the capability for on-line monitoring of indicator bacteria.

Currently, the research from Aquavalens has developed a number of rapid molecular biology based techniques. Such methods include; molecular biology techniques that can detect particular pathogens to a higher taxonomic resolution, the ability to track the source of faecal contamination, an on-line early warning system to detect indicator bacteria and an improved pathogen recovery technique that allows for the combined concentration but separate recovery of bacteria, viruses and protozoa from the sample.  
[1] WHO, Water Safety Plan Manual [2009]


The purpose of this short questionnaire is to help us understand how the new technologies developed by Aquavalens could help you to investigate possible pathogens in your system and also which tests will support risk assessments.  Please answer all the questions you can and offer any opinions on the tests developed in Q14 onwards and where you would see them fit to apply. 
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* 1. From which European country are you answering this survey?

* 2. Approximate number of people served by your potable water system?

* 3. Main type of raw water source used by your water system? (Choose 2 or more if relevant)

Risk assessment and identifying microbiological hazards

* 4. Does you organisation apply a risk assessment strategy to manage water and ensure it is microbiologically safe?

* 5. To create a water safety plan the microbiological hazards causing contamination must be identified. Can you please order the following list in order of priority of the hazard for your water system? (1 = most important)

* 6. List any precautions or control measures you have implemented to reduce the risks mentioned.

Your Current testing methods

* 7. Where and when do you test for pathogens?

* 8. Which of the following do you test for? Please list each item you test for.

* 9. Where in the water supply network do you collect your samples?

* 10. What volumes of water do you collect? (Please state sample volume for source water and treated water.)

* 11. What methods do you currently use to identify these pathogens?

* 12. What is your main source of guidance in terms of drinking water safety and pathogens which may be present in water? 

* 13. What aspects of your current water testing programme are the most problematic or frustrating in terms of waste of time or resources?  Please order these activities from most problematic (1) to least problematic (4).

Aquavalens water testing offers
What value to your investigation would be the ability to identify particular pathogen types beyond species level (e.g. genotypes).

* 14. Would this be of benefit to you?

* 15. Where would you apply such a method?

The ability to detect the origin of a microbiological contamination, be it cattle, pig, or sheep faeces is possible due to the development of a new Microbial Source Tracking (MST) method by Aquavalens. Using 9 indicator parameters, it is possible to predict and identify the source of faecal pollution.

* 16. Would this method be of benefit to you?

* 17. Where would you apply such a method as MST?

An on-line system which can rapidly detect an increased burden of microbiological contamination has been developed

* 18. Would this be of benefit to you?

* 19. Where would you apply such a method?

Aquavalens has improved the method used to concentrate and recover pathogens from the water. Separate methods can be used to isolate a particular group of pathogens, be it bacteria, viruses or protozoa.

* 20. Would this be of benefit to you?

* 21. Where would you apply such a method?

* 22. Would your water company be interested in using the new recovery method to concentrate large volumes of water to analyse for different pathogens from the same eluted filter?

Aquavalens have developed molecular biology based techniques to detect protozoa not included in the EU Drinking Water Directive parameters such as Cryptosporidium and Giardia. These species can go undetected in the water but can still cause serious health problems if consumed.

* 23. Have you implemented molecular methods in your laboratory?

* 24. If yes, would a dead / alive method be useful for you?

* 25. Would this testing method to identify giardia or cryptosporidium be of benefit to you?

* 26. Where would apply such a method?

* 27. What are your main challenges in microbial testing at the present time and how would you like to overcome them?

* 28. What improvements would you most like to see made to pathogen testing in the near future to help large water suppliers like yours? [Choose the most important three items for you.]

* 29. Would you like to be informed about the Aquavalans dissemination events in 2016-2017. If yes, please leave your email address in the box below.

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