Project Focus: CIP2 sampling at Severn Trent
The second part of the Chemical Investigation Programme will see 11,000 samples taken in the Severn Trent area in five years
by Dan Higgins, Senior Account Manager, enitial
In 2010 enitial was contracted by Severn Trent Water to monitor 37 of the water company’s sewage treatment works for the presence of 33 chemicals over a period of 18 months with 3,000 samples taken and analysed. This work was carried out as part of the UK Water Industry Research and Environment Agency led Chemical Investigations Programme (CIP1), in order to uphold both the Water Framework Directive and the new European Priority Substances Directive.
Our sampling work in CIP1, and involvement in developing the larger scale CIP2 scope of works and technical specifications, meant that we were well placed to deliver the Severn Trent CIP2 project which will identify the occurrence, sources and removal of the substances, and delineate the scale of any improvements in effluent quality required in order to meet the objectives under the forthcoming stages of the Water Framework Directive.
As the findings from CIP1, and revisions to the Priority Substances Directive determined that the detection limits should be set much lower in CIP2 and the list of compounds to be monitored has also been expanded, the sampling and monitoring has become more complex. Under CIP2, our technicians will collect almost 11,000 samples from 130 Severn Trent Water sites.
Meeting all the challenges set by CIP2 in terms of logistics is certainly no small feat. Working on numerous Severn Trent Water WwTW and catchment wide sites requires thorough Health and Safety (H&S) operating procedures. To enable the effective management of these requirements, we provided ISO 17025 accreditation, Health and Safety certification and procedures and lone worker systems whereby the field technicians have been issued their own access fobs to each of the WwTWs, enabling time efficient sample collection.
In addition, we developed eniCIP, a bespoke piece of software specifically developed to aid sample management from sample collection through to analysis of results. The database stores, records and analyses all of the information pertaining to each and every sample including; GPS, photographs, sampling and analysis requirements, H&S, chain of custody, results and KPI reporting. eniCIP simplifies the process of monitoring for Severn Trent Water, as well as the labs at i2 Analytical and the NLS. The traceability of the samples we take and the efficient analysis and reporting that eniCIP enables has made it easier to meet CIP2’s stringent requirements for all parties involved.
During sample collection, the technicians use hand held tablets in the field which operate using eniCIP. Each sample has a barcode which is scanned and together with photographs of the sample and the site, is uploaded to the eniCIP database along with the GPS coordinates. Once the labs have analysed the samples, they send back the results which enitial then uploads to eniCIP. This allows for a well monitored and auditable Chain of Custody from sample collection to results reporting.
The functionality of the database allows for quick and easy data analysis in a user friendly format. All project partners are able to access the database through the web portal, allowing an efficient and transparent data management process which allows a project of this size to be carried out effectively.
In addition to the stringent sampling protocols in place, enitial has ensured that sample integrity is maintained throughout the process. We invested in refrigerated vehicles and storage facilities to our operations to ensure sample fidelity during transportation. Samples are taken to our Wolverhampton HQ where they are stored and refrigerated until collection the same night. This enables i2 Analytical and the NLS to receive the samples by 6am the following morning, ensuring sample integrity is maintained at its highest level and the laboratory can start analysis promptly the following morning.
At enitial we manage both our own internal QAQC procedures as well as those of the contracted labs which include a thorough data check prior to the release of the data to the wider CIP group.
Upon completion, the results of CIP2 will confirm and characterise the perceived environmental quality standards (EQS) compliance risk at each of the works. This will form the basis of future improvement programmes and provide background information with which the UK can respond to future EQS proposals.
The planning and preparation carried out by all parties involved has meant that Severn Trent Water’s CIP2 programme of sampling and monitoring is to date, progressing as planned. It will be some while before we know the outcomes but our involvement with CIP2 has provided us with a broad depth of expertise which will enable enitial to effectively provide both sampling and data management services for the monitoring of substance levels in various environments thanks to its experience, technician coverage, accreditations and bespoke software.
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