Chemicals Investigation Programme (CIP)

The chemicals investigation programme (CIP) is series of investigations into the occurrence, sources and removal of trace substances from the wastewater works. The UK Water Industry Research (UKWIR) in collaboration with the Environment Agency (EA) have set out the basis for these studies which commenced with CIP1 in 2010 and continue with the CIP 2 and CIP 3 terminating in 2025. 

 

These studies have established a definitive basis for the overall national assessment of the risks posed by chemical in wastewater discharges, to meet the objectives of so-called “programmes of measures” required under the Water Framework Directive (WFD).

RPS, working on behalf of United Utilities, Thames Water, Southern Water, and Welsh Water has managed these complex programmes providing tailored solutions to their specific catchment requirements to achieve the objectives laid out by UKWIR and the Environment Agency.

Key details

Project name
Chemicals Investigation Programme (CIP)

Client
United Utilities, Thames Water, Southern Water & Welsh Water

Location
UK (Thames Region, North West and South East England and Wales)

Services provided

  • Clean water and wastewater sampling
  • Logistics and sample transport
  • Method development and scoping works
  • Chemical analysis, data management and reporting of regulatory outputs
  • Project management

Project statistics

27,000
samples
Over 150
priority and emerging substances
4
separate utility networks

Challenge

Many of these substances had never been analysed to these extremely low levels in such challenging and diverse matrices. To put this into context, the levels at which these substances must be detected was much lower than the levels required for potable drinking water.

Drinking water is a clean matrix and is relatively easy to work with compared to raw sewage or trade effluent. These substances are made up of a very complex and variable mixture of substances containing high levels of fats, oils and greases, which pose a real challenge as they have to be removed prior to analysis or they will foul the instrument and mask the substance of interest.

On top of the technical challenges, we also managed the logistics of collecting samples across a vast geographical area, and from very different sources ranging from under roadways to open rivers and treatment works.

Design and delivery

The samples were collected by RPS sampling teams. As the holding times for these substances is temperature and time critical, the samples were filtered/stabilised on site prior to being delivered each day to our laboratories.

Our team of scientists successfully developed robust methods to detect and quantify these substances at levels in the sub parts per trillion range using state of the art instrumentation. 

As RPS was one of a very small group of laboratories capable of carrying out this complex work, a laboratory technical steering group was set up in collaboration with UKWIR, the Environment Agency and a German University which assisted with the provision of performance testing samples to benchmark the quality of the analysis generated across the programme.

The analytical results provided have, and will be, used to influence water quality legislation and future monitoring schemes.

Timeline

  • 2010

    Start date

  • 2013

    Completed CIP 1 for TW, SW and UU

  • 2015

    Started CIP 2 for TW, UU and WW

  • 2018
    • All regulatory outputs achieved to date
    • All work delivered on time and on budget
    • Analysed 18,000 samples
  • 2020

    CIP3 started, working with:

    • Thames Water
    • United Utilities
    • Welsh Water
    • Northumbrian Water
1 /05
2010

Start date

2013

Completed CIP 1 for TW, SW and UU

2015

Started CIP 2 for TW, UU and WW

2018
  • All regulatory outputs achieved to date
  • All work delivered on time and on budget
  • Analysed 18,000 samples
2020

CIP3 started, working with:

  • Thames Water
  • United Utilities
  • Welsh Water
  • Northumbrian Water

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