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Why Wait Until Tomorrow to Know Today's Water Quality?

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As water management continues to move to the forefront of worldwide resource concerns, better information is required to facilitate effective decision making. Not only does the information have to better, it also has to be obtained faster and from multiple locations. When public health is at stake, the results must come quickly. Heterotrophic Plate Counts and other culture-based tests have traditionally been used to estimate microbiological content but they must be completed in a laboratory, require two or more days for feedback, and are not always accurate. Because of these limitations, water contamination issues often go unnoticed until major problems have already occurred. By the time culture test results are returned on contaminated water, it has probably already been consumed by the public.

In order to provide better results in a much shorter time, LuminUltra Technologies Ltd has developed a portable test kit that provides an accurate, reliable, and interference-free measure of total microbial content in a water sample in less than five minutes. This test kit concept is based on the measurement of ATP (Adenosine Triphosphate), the primary energy transfer molecule for all living cells on Earth. As such, its measurement is a direct indication of the level of total microbial contamination in water and serves as the ideal basis for risk assessment and disinfection program optimization. While a real-time microbiological test is very valuable, the real power comes from the fact that ATP testing is extremely sensitive to changes. As soon as an event occurs that affects water quality, ATP testing will expose it.

Through a series of case studies, this paper draws upon real-life situations where ATP monitoring has provided invaluable insight into water monitoring, risk management, and treatment optimization. These findings help provide the basis for control programs and Hazard Analysis Critical Control Points (HACCP) strategies, thereby showing the value of ATP monitoring as a first line of defense in water management.
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Keywords: ATP; Adenosine Triphosphate; LuminUltra; analysis; biological; biomass; control; disinfection; distribution; drinking; monitoring; organism; quality; treatment; wastewater; water

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: 2009-01-01

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  • Proceedings of the Water Environment Federation is an archive of papers published in the proceedings of the annual Water Environment Federation® Technical Exhibition and Conference (WEFTEC® ) and specialty conferences held since the year 2000. These proceedings are not peer reviewed.

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