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Printer Friendly VersionSelected Information - Completed Research

CP352  Rapid Resolution of Taste and Odour Complaints Water Treatment

Taste and Odour (T&O) problems are responsible for the majority of customer contacts in respect of the supply of drinking water. This is a key concern for utilities that are seeking to engage more positively with their customers and there are statutory obligations to respond in a timely manner to customer complaints. Most companies have systems in place to respond to customers. However, dealing with the underlying problem that gave rise to the complaint needs an understanding of the most likely root causes and access to the most appropriate solution. With T&O issues this is frequently not obvious and considerable resources may be expended in investigations.

This project drew from the latest research on taste and odour and from actual practice to develop a structured guide to dealing with T&O complaints. The guide quantified the most frequent types of complaint and identified the key indicators for a range of causes and the most successful short and long term solutions.

Benefits to Clients

  • Improved response to customer complaints on T&O.
  • Improved resolution of the causes of T&O and identification of appropriate mitigation measures.
  • Capture and transfer of knowledge for future operators.
  • Identification of gaps in knowledge for future investment in research.

Work Programme

  1. Collated current understanding of the nature of T&O phenomena, drawing from recent research, including the use of electronic noses and tongues, consumer surveys and historical records.
  2. Drafted flow charts and decision trees to guide the investigation and resolution of T&O problems. Tested with worked examples (historic and/or topical from clients).
  3. Compared with current practice and clarify gaps and confirm implementation route for final output.
  4. Developed final guide document and support implementation with each client.

Project Output

A comprehensive guide to dealing with and reducing T&O problems in drinking water.

WRc's Portfolio Programme
Summary of the £1.5 million per annum research programme

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