Recently KWR presented an article about an innovative project: the rapid online detection of enterococci and of the total microbial activity in water. MicroLAN is partner of this project with Brabant Water, Evides, Grundfos, Het WaterLaboratorium, Hoogheemraadschap van Delfland, KWR, Pidpa, Uniper Benelux BV and Vitens. The Dutch project started january ’17 and ends in december ’19.

Current microbial analyses for the purpose of monitoring water quality are very time consuming. A technician is always required to conduct the sampling and, in most cases, the water analysis. The continuous monitoring of the microbial quality of different types of water is therefore impossible, in contrast to a large number of chemical and physical parameters which can be analysed online, rapidly and continuously.

A rapid method for enterococci detection in surface water has been developed which could contribute to more efficient monitoring of microbial water quality. Researchers from KWR, microLAN, Vitens and Het Waterlaboratorium, working within the TKI Water Technology programme, have adapted an existing E. coli detection method, BACTcontrol, which works on the basis of fluorescence. Because the method is still subject to interference from the water matrix, particularly at low (<10 kve) concentrations of enterococci, the results are not solid enough for its immediate, reliable application in practice. This will require further research into the effects of the water matrix and how they might be dealt with. Only subsequently will it be possible to validate the method for online use for drinking water and surface water.

KWR generates knowledge to enable the water sector to operate water-wisely in our urbanised society. At KWR, we have a sense of professional and social responsibility for the quality of water. Our scientific findings and the resulting practical innovations contribute, worldwide, to a sustainable water provision in the urban watercycle.