The Environment Agency launches new water quality testing service

The Environment Agency (EA) has developed a new water quality testing service in a bid to improve the standard and efficiency of water monitoring in England and Wales.

The National Water Quality Instrumentation Service (NWQIS) is expected to help the EA meet its water quality monitoring requirements for groundwater and surface waters under the European Water Framework Directive (WFD).

A wide range of instrumentation is currently used by EA officers, however the upgraded system will allow it to centralise its equipment and reduce the variety of instruments used, providing greater uniformity of monitors and measurement units.

It will also be made available to other public and private sector organisations.

Chris Hunter, who has been appointed to manage the NWQIS, developed as part of the national laboratory service, said that as well as better data accuracy the service will provide cost savings.

He said: “The new service will centralise the agency’s water quality instrumentation activities to deliver several important benefits.

“For example, there will be greater commonality amongst both the instruments that we use and the procedures that we use for set up, calibration, operation and service. This will lower costs and improve data accuracy and repeatability.”

Meanwhile, the EA’s Frances Houston said that it will help the agency build a closer partnership with suppliers and allow the influence of future product development.

She said: “This reduces the variety of instruments that we use, which helps in a number of ways as it simplifies the stocking of spares and accessories. Secondly, it provides greater availability of spare or replacement monitors, so that we can quickly replace units that are damaged or lost.

“It will also help us to build a closer partnership with suppliers, which means that we are able to influence future product development, and finally, central control enables us to ensure that all staff utilise the most accurate and reliable instruments.”

Carys Matthews

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