Industry Flocks to Water/Wastewater Monitoring Event


Source: WWEM

WWEM 2006 took place in early November and was almost unrecognisable in comparison to the inaugural 2005 event.

WWEM was initially created to provide a vehicle for discussing and dispersing information on the Environment Agency’s monitoring certification scheme, MCERTS. However, on the evidence of WWEM 2006, it has become a red letter diary entry for anyone involved with testing or monitoring water. With a choice of conferences, twice as many exhibition stands and four times as many visitors, WWEM has become a meeting place for the whole sector.

In addition to an update on MCERTS, one of the key issues to emerge at WWEM was the Environment Agency’s plans for modernisation of regulation. This was explained by Policy Manager Andy Rogers, who said “Whilst river and bathing water quality has been improving and the number of pollution incidents has fallen in recent years, there is still a great deal more to do. As a result of the Hampton Report the Agency is looking to simplify regulation and move to a more risk-based approach, so that resources can be applied where the environmental threat is the greatest. This will be facilitated by the ‘OPRA’ (Operator and Pollution Risk Appraisal) risk screening tool. Outputs from this methodology are already built into the charging scheme for the PPC regulatory regime and it is now being developed for discharge consents to water.

The OPRA scheme has five attributes. Three reflect the environmental hazard of the operation (including its location), the fourth measures Operator performance. Each attribute has been divided into five bands A to E, where A equates to the need for lower regulatory oversight required and E the need for more regulatory oversight required. These bands are then carried forward to generate the OPRA Banded Profile for the discharge consent.

The fifth attribute only comes into effect when the consent is issued and measures the compliance of the operator with the consent conditions. This score is combined with the OPRA Banded Profile to increase the overall score for poor performers and decrease it for good performers.

Operators will be able to reduce charges if they can lower their OPRA score. The Environment Agency will use OPRA scores to target compliance assessment effort. In addition it plans to revise the approach to compliance assessment with an increased reliance on process control and self-monitoring. The Environment agency will be consulting on its proposals for OPRA and compliance assessment at the end of November, this year. OPRA will apply to all regulatory regimes by 2008”

Paul Wiggins from the Environment Agency has been responsible for the implementation of MCERTS in the aquatic sector. His presentation outlined the list of instrument manufacturers that now have MCERTS certificates for their products explaining “MCERTS is implicit within process authorisations so these companies can hope to benefit as a result of their certification.”

In addition, since the introduction of the MCERTS Self monitoring of effluent flow scheme over 2000 site conformity certificates have been awarded , mainly in the water industry, but the scheme is now being rolled out to the rest of industry. Paul also talked about the Agency’s audit scheme for self monitoring Operator Monitoring Assessment ‘OMA’ which has revealed considerable numbers of areas for improvement and some organisations have even included the results of the OMA in their performance related pay.

WWEM also featured an Analytical conference that discussed laboratory analysis techniques in Water and Environmental monitoring. Presentations from both practising scientists and instrument company representatives gave rise to stimulating discussions relating to applications of the techniques presented in the real world. Technologies from sample preparation techniques through to actual methods of separation and detection, involving advanced GCxGC-TOF/MS and LC with various MS options were presented along with discussions regarding interpretation of the obtained spectra.

The use of Chemiluminescence to determine Total Bound Nitrogen levels and a 'blue sky' presentation on the potential of Biomolecules in wastewater analysis rounded off a successful conference.

WWEM included a Gala Presentation Dinner at which Catherine Wright, Head of Monitoring for the Environment Agency, thanked the industry for all of its help and cooperation in the development of MCERTS.

Product MCERTS certificates were awarded to HACH LANGE, Partech, Teledyne ISCO, Aquamatic, Pollution and Process Monitoring and GE Sensing.

In addition, three MCERTS certificates were awarded to effluent flow monitoring installation inspectors.

The evening was wrapped up by Jimmy Carr who had the assembled guests in fits of laughter suggesting that nothing has changed in the monitoring of water since “some old bloke, several hundreds of years ago, noticed that water rose in his bath when he got in”. The audience doubtless begged to differ, but wisely kept their opinions to themselves.

Visitors to WWEM 2006 learned a great deal from the conferences and workshops on offer and many commented on the usefulness of the exhibition. James Carlyle, General Manager at Ashtead Technology Rentals said “I have never seen such a comprehensive assembly of everyone involved with water monitoring. I was able to view many new technologies first hand and will be making several additions to our instrument rental fleet as a result” Robin Lennox at South West Water also visited WWEM and commented afterwards “WWEM has now become established as the most useful exhibition and conference of the year for those involved in measurement and instrumentation in the water industry. With industry practitioners and decision makers well represented real progress can be made in the development of ideas for this area of business.”

The advent of the Internet has made product information readily available, but several visitors to WWEM commented that when searching on the Web you have to know what you are looking for whereas WWEM shows you everything on offer within a tightly defined theme and as a consequence visitors were able to view products and services about which they were previously unaware.

WWEM organiser Marcus Pattison said “Whilst magazines and web sites are great at providing information, hands-on experience will always hold greater appeal, particularly when visitors are able to see products and discuss them with the experts”

WWEM 2006 exhibitors responded enthusiastically to the event.
Michael Scott from OptoCEM said that WWEM was “The most enjoyable first day at an Exhibition in many years. Lots of friendly faces, business chat, lobbying and new contacts. The atmosphere was back to the old days of exhibitions.”

Michael’s sentiments were endorsed by Water Active’s Dan Ware who was “thrilled to be a part of the WWEM exhibition and conference. The Telford venue is superb. We can honestly say that despite the many years of exhibiting at trade exhibitions, this show was unique. The atmosphere was one of expectancy, friendliness and camaraderie. Visitors were positive about the products available, and keen to discuss solutions to problems. It was, without question, the nicest show we’ve ever done, and the exhibiting experience was made all the more pleasant by the additional things laid on by the organiser, and the attitude of those involved. We can’t wait until the next one.”

Quantitech’s Managing Director, Keith Golding, said “WWEM provided us with the perfect opportunity to launch a new range of Mercury analysers from Teledyne Leeman Labs. Visitors to our stand were impressed with the simplicity, flexibility and analytical resolution offered by the Hydra Mercury analyser on display. The Hydra has a number of USEPA and European Standards built in, but the great thing about WWEM was that it provided us with the opportunity to discuss Mercury analysis with both end-users and regulators.”

Emerson’s Gary O’Neill was also pleased with the event, adding “Good location and many thanks to those delegates who attended the pH Independent chlorine analysis workshop. It was an excellent forum for this product introduction.”

WRc took full advantage of everything that WWEM had to offer. Looking back, Ian Naismith said “WWEM 2006 fully met our expectations with impressive representation from the industry among the exhibitors and more visitors to our stand than we had at WWEM 2005. The show and the gala dinner provided an excellent networking opportunity with existing and potential clients.”

Robin Instruments received a good number of high quality enquiries and managing director Robin Norman added “I will almost certainly attend the next WWEM. Telford is a great place for it and the layout and professional organisation was top quality.”

Jim Hosford at Rotorflush had a similar experience commenting “This was the first show that we have done in the water and wastewater monitoring sector, however, the response was better than we could have expected in our wildest dreams. Our submersible pump with a self cleaning inlet filter created great interest for wastewater applications.”

Martin Clarke from DKK-TOA described the exhibition as 'an excellent opportunity for our company to introduce and promote our range of water quality instruments to the UK market. Serious interest was received for our Multiparameter Water Quality meters - clients were requesting to purchase while still at our booth. We will definitely be booking a stand at the next WWEM'

Siris Environmental exhibited at the inaugural WWEM. Their Simon Richardson said 'The exhibition was much better than the previous year and was well turned out particularly by the industrial market. A good deal of interest was shown in our new range of wastewater samplers'.

Sarah Blayds, Marketing Manager at HACH LANGE, said that the company received new enquiries both on the stand and following the company’s two presentations on Sludge Management and Industrial Effluent Monitoring, adding “we had a wide range of interest at WWEM, particularly with our MCERTS approved samplers. WWEM is tightly focused on testing and monitoring in the field, laboratory or online and as such almost every visitor is a potential HACH LANGE customer. We are looking forward to WWEM 2008!”

YSI’s Ian Thompson said “We were delighted with WWEM and thoroughly enjoyed the opportunity to demonstrate our latest products to some of the key decision makers in the industry. We were also very pleased that our work in helping to develop the MCERTS Standard was acknowledged. The venue and facilities were excellent and we received a high level of interest in two major new products. The ‘Profiler’ offers the latest technology for reservoir monitoring and the ‘HydroSAM’ represents a new cost-effective, easy to operate system for multiparameter monitoring at intake or discharge points.”

The WWEM workshops were situated within the exhibition making it easy for visitors to drop in and listen to these informal sessions.

Alec Willis, Director of Hydro-Logic Limited presented a highly popular workshop entitled ‘Errors and Uncertainty in Open Channel Flow Measurement .’ Those not fortunate enough to find a seat, listened through the door to Alec's presentation on the difficulties associated with ascribing uncertainty values to estimates of flow in open channels.

OTT Hydrometry launched a new range of two channel dataloggers (Duosens) at WWEM. The company’s managing director, Simon Wills said “The new loggers aroused a great deal of interest because they are designed for environmental applications such as water level, temperature, rainfall etc. We ran a workshop on the second day offering practical advice on how to exploit the latest technology in groundwater logging (Orpheus Mini) and data collection (ITC) and this too generated a number of good enquiries.”

Reagecon exhibited and ran a workshop and their Gail Cooper reflected “We would like to thank all of the customers and exhibitors who visited our stand. The well organised forum gave an ideal opportunity to discuss our product range of NIST traceable calibration solutions and sampling equipment, our technical workshop was well received and we benefited from attending other workshops that were being held by exhibitors.”

Palintest unveiled a remarkable new technology at WWEM – the ‘Chlorosense’. A small portable device capable of fast, accurate free and total chlorine measurement without the need for reagents. Director Joe Ronan ran a workshop in which he demonstrated the new technology, a disposable sensor enables sample analysis in the field within 40 seconds and up to 500 results can be stored in the instrument’s memory. This new technique avoids areas of uncertainty commonly associated with traditional methods and Joe says “Field trials are currently underway and we anticipate being able to deliver the first units in the Spring”

ABB was actively involved in every aspect of WWEM, giving a presentation at the SWIG Conference and running Workshops on both days. The ABB stand featured the AquaMaster electromagnetic flow meter with built-in GSM technology for remote access and SMS messaging, the CalMaster 2 flow meter verification system and a wide range of Analytical and other instrumentation products for the water, waste water and industrial effluent sectors. Looking back at the event Tony Hoyle concluded 'WWEM provided us with an opportunity to make new contacts and to show our latest products to existing customers, industry regulators and consultants. We very much liked the format and venue and we are looking forward to WWEM 2008.

In summary. WWEM has become more than just an opportunity to find out the latest news on MCERTS and water/wastewater regulation, it has become a focal point for the whole testing and monitoring industry. The date for the next WWEM event will be November 2008.

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