Article | November 22, 2013

The Shifting Challenges Of Wastewater Testing

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By Jeanne A. Mensingh, president and founder, Labtopia Solutions and Colin Thurston, director of products strategy, Thermo Fisher Scientific Informatics

Wastewater constituents are getting more plentiful and complex, requiring more advanced tools to maintain regulatory compliance.

Wastewater treatment, like other industries that rely heavily on dynamic sampling programs, has had to implement far more rigorous testing in recent years. But, unlike food safety, oil and gas, or even drinking-water monitoring, the biggest challenge hasn’t come from stricter regulations or standards. The most significant hurdle has been a fundamental change in the wastewater stream itself.

The wastewater stream is more contaminated than ever, with more diverse and exotic compounds — overprescribed pharmaceuticals, for example — and this places a heavier burden on treatment facilities to ensure their output is safe. Providers must dramatically increase their sample load, and the overall number and complexity of tests, simply to remain in compliance with pre-existing regulations.

Image credit: "water refractions," © 2011 Possan, used under an Attribution 2.0 Generic license: http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0/

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