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 which terminates in 2020.

These studies have established a definitive basis for the overall national assessment of the risk posed by chemical in wastewater discharges, in order 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 in order to achieve the objectives laid out by UKWIR and the Environment Agency.

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
  • 2020

    Completion date

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
2020

Completion date

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

Challenge

Many of these substances had never been analysed down to these extremely low levels in such challenging and diverse matrices. To put this into context, the levels at which these substances had to 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 a raw sewage or a trade effluent which is 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 RPS had to manage 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.

Chemicals Investigation Programme - project image (iStock_000006074340Large).jpg

Solution

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

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 with collaboration from UKWIR, the Environment Agency and a German University which assisted with the provision of performance testing samples in order to benchmark the quality of the analysis generated across the entire programme.

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

Project statistics

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

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