Water Quality Testing

Quick and Reliable Water Quality Testing is Essential to the Growing Population

As a direct result of population growth and the resulting demands placed upon the industries required to provide the increased needs, the world’s natural resources are, in many cases, becoming scarcer by the day. Of far greater concern, however, is the fact that two of the planet’s most vital resources are becoming progressively less able to sustain the health of its flora and fauna, including its human inhabitants.

Pollution of the atmosphere, the sea and fresh water supplies have made it necessary for both producers and consumers to exercise conservative measures and, in the case of heavy industry and manufacturers, stringent anti-pollution laws apply. Along with the monitoring of industrial effluents, municipal supplies of potable water must undergo continuous quality testing.

Each day, worldwide, millions of such tests must be carried out in compliance with prevailing regulatory requirements, in order to ensure the safety of the environment and the consumer. The material to be sampled and tested may be divided into 4 main categories.

Ambient or surface supplies, which include lakes, rivers and the sea, need to be monitored to ensure that they continue to retain the conditions needed to support aquatic life, while the wastewater or effluent produced by various industrial processes, which is often discharged into surface supplies, must be tested prior to and following any required treatment, so as to ensure compliance with local environmental regulations. Similarly, both the raw sources and the finished output from water purification plants must also be subjected to extensive quality testing.

In the case of effluents, the main concern is their chemical content which may include heavy metals, organics and other potentially hazardous substances. When examining supplies for potability, not just chemical content but also any biological material present must be detected and, following the required purification treatments, it must be confirmed that such contaminants have been removed or are present within acceptable limits.

Early methods employed at purification plants for water quality testing were labour-intensive and slow to provide results. Today, with more than 54 million people in South Africa alone, and given the vast volumes of liquid that must be processed and distributed every day to meet their needs, new methodologies that are both faster and more accurate have become essential. In response, the research and development departments of companies such as Neogen and CDR have answered the call. Neogen uses Colitag™, a test kit to determine the presence or absence of total coliform bacterium and E. coli in surface, source and treated drinking water, as well as its Filter Test System for detection and quantitation of target organisms. CDR offers kits for the detection of minerals, such as sulphates, potassium, magnesium and calcium.

These products, together with a wide range of other reagents and apparatus used for quality testing of water and all manner of food and beverages, are all available in South Africa from IEPSA. We have been supplying quality scientific equipment to factories, purification plants and the processed food industry since we launched in 1980 – a fact that has enabled us to gain an in-depth knowledge of our clients, their needs and how best to meet them with products that are of the highest quality and designed to provide fast and accurate results.

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