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Printer Friendly VersionSelected Information - Completed Research

CP332  Managing Microbial Risk for Regulatory Compliance Drinking Water Quality

Recent amendments to the Water Supply (Water Quality) Regulations, has moved safeguarding water quality firmly towards a risk-based approach. Risk assessments, demonstrating appropriate measures are in place to protect against harmful micro-organisms, are required to support Drinking Water Safety Plan (DWSP) development. This approach is also required by OFWAT when taking account of PR09 submissions.

This project will develop an interactive risk-based decision tool, to:

  • Reduce the uncertainties in assessing the risks from microbes in water supplies.
  • Test the validity and robustness of DWSPs for managing microbe removal through water treatment.
  • Predict the performance of a variety of "what if" changes to treatment or catchment protection strategies.
  • Assess compliance monitoring parameters - predicting performance below current detection levels (eg <1 E.coli/100ml).

Benefits to clients

  • Support compliance with the new regulatory framework for safeguarding water quality.
  • Improve decision-making for effective monitoring, including source waters, and control strategies.
  • Identify the most cost-effective short and long-term options to secure and improve microbial water quality and target capital expenditure where it is most needed.
  • Assess the benefits of new technologies for water treatment.
  • Identify optimal conditions for microbial removal efficiency, taking into account variabilities in process performance, and changing environmental conditions.

Work programme

A risk-based decision tool/interactive model will be developed to carry out site-specific assessments, incorporating:

  • Quantitative microbial risk assessment (QMRA) to predict microbe removal through water treatment.
  • Published and available water company data on individual treatment processes.
  • An assessment of the impact of catchment quality on treatment performance.

The resulting tool will allow the performance of specific water supply systems to be quickly assessed and compared and identify monitoring and critical control measures needed to maintain good microbiological quality of treated water. The model will deal with wide variations in data availability and quality through a tiered approach which can be built upon as more data become available. A scoring system will identify comparative risks and cost-effectiveness of alternative systems; enabling actions to be prioritised.

Project Output

  • A decision tool to perform site specific assessments of microbial removal efficiency.
  • Final report in the form of a user guide.
  • Tailored workshop to demonstrate the model to each participating company.

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

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