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The ALERT System is a new sensor for real-time bacterial measurements, manufactured by the company Fluidion. The device is fully autonomous, remotely controllable, installed in-situ and allows rapid quantification of E.coli or enterococci concentrations. Suitable for monitoring water and the environment, it performs seven measurements on a battery charge. Installed in-situ, it allows rapid quantification of bacterial concentration and emits real-time automatic alerts.

Challenges

Ensuring microbial safety is a key objective of bathing water management, and also a critical aspect for water reuse. The European Bathing Water Directive (BWD) (76/160/EEC, 2006) uses fecal bacteria quality assessment of marine and inland waters. A major challenge for urban bathing water management is to ensure the safety of users and comply with regulations. Concentrations of fecal bacteria may show spatial and temporal variability. In urban rivers, discharges from CSO and stormwater may contain high amounts of fecal bacteria and contaminate the bathing water.

Limitations of current practices

Bathing water surveillance in Europe is usually based on monthly grab samples analysed in approved labs, and event-scale variability is detected only by chance, as pollution events may occur between sampling intervals. Even for major monitoring campaigns, grab sampling does not enable tracking of pollution variability since events might happen at night or during weekends. Another drawback of grab sampling and lab analysis is the potential sample degradation and long time-to-result with existing lab technologies. A sample is collected and then transported in refrigerated conditions prior to analysis in the laboratory, during which time degradation can occur. Besides the logistic complexity and risks associated with manual sampling, the results of water quality cannot be obtained instantaneously and are generally only available after a minimum of two days due to the time required for the process from sampling to transport, analysis and reporting.

While online monitoring solutions do already exist, they are not accepted by health authorities. Competing technologies do not have the capability to monitor in an automated manner directly in situ, without any infrastructure needs. The competing fast measurement techniques are unable to quantify cultivable bacteria, but count all bacteria (or their enzymes) including those that have been deactivated by UV or other disinfection treatments – therefore the application of competing solutions for wastewater effluent or reuse water monitoring is severely limited. Most competing solutions do not have the specificity required and have significantly higher CAPEX and OPEX costs.

Innovation

The ALERT System offers the following major competitive advantages:

ALERT System is the only product that makes fully automated active monitoring possible, by analysing sequences of samples in situ, accurately, affordably and without the need for human intervention.

City tests

The ALERT System is currently being tested in Berlin and Paris using side-by-side laboratory comparison to understand temporal variability and spatial bacterial distribution in the local rivers (Seine, Marne and Spree). In Milan, the system is being deployed to provide early warning of bacterial and toxic contamination linked to water reuse at a major wastewater treatment plant.

Contact solution

FLUIDION, Dan Angelescu : d.angelescu@fluidion.com
FLUIDION, Vaizanne Huynh : v.huynh@fluidion.com
FLUIDION, Andreas Hausot : a.hausot@fluidion.com

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