Most customers don’t realise that as well as supplying their clean water and taking their wastewater away, we’re constantly analysing the quality of our product.
It all happens back at our accredited laboratory at our Warrington HQ, where more than 100 trained scientists test over 650,000 samples per year – that's on average 1,700 every day.
Clean water samples are taken from customers’ taps, treatment works, reservoirs, rivers and boreholes by a dedicated and accredited sampling team before being handed over to chemists and microbiologists at the lab. Over 60 different methods are used to test the samples, to ensure that they meet our exacting legal standards. We use the information to report back to the Drinking Water Inspectorate and to ensure our treatment process and networks are performing as they should.
If the testing shows things we don’t want to see, such as elevated levels of iron, our Operational Scientists work to identify the root causes of the failure and make recommendations to improve performance in the future.
But it’s not just clean water that gets the white coat and microscope treatment. We also test wastewater, at all stages of the treatment process, and sludge – the product left over after wastewater has been treated. We analyse these products using over 75 tests to ensure that the final effluent is safe to be released into the environment and that the fully treated sludge has the right composition to be used on agricultural land as fertiliser.
Through this constant process of sampling and testing, we make sure we conform to exacting regulatory standards, protect the environment, and keep our customers safe.
It’s all part of our mission to keep life flowing smoothly in the North West.
If you would like to send us a comment about this report, please email our Head of Sustainability, Chris Matthews