December 21, 2015

The Chemical Investigation Programme 2 (CIP2) is the second phase of a nationwide collaborative project between the Water Industries of the UK and the regulators, to investigate the occurrence, source and removal of trace substances in wastewater treatment works (WwTWs) effluents.

Severn Trent Water CIP2 is the largest of all the water companies’ sampling programmes and will involve the collection of almost 11,000 samples from 130 WwTW’s, and associated catchment and river sampling locations. enitial has been contracted to undertake the project management of all of the sampling and analysis throughout the course of the five year sampling period from April 2015 to March 2020. enitial has worked with Severn Trent to develop fit-for-purpose operational procedures and bespoke software to meet the challenges set by this project.


Depending on the sample type, CIP2 requires the sampling and analysis of up to 75 substances in each of the samples. CIP2 has been divided into three main study areas:

  • Investigations into the occurrence of a wide range of substances at 128 WwTWs final effluent discharges, to confirm any possible risks or failures to compliance, and overall contributions of the discharge into the environment. Monitoring will take place over an 18 month monitoring period at the final effluent discharge points, and associated upstream and downstream river locations; a total of nearly 10,000 samples.
  • Feasibility studies into the removal of substances from both full scale and pilot plant trials of promising and innovative technology, incorporating specific investigations into phosphorous removal. This will involve the collection of 150 samples over a year-long study period.
  • A further 400 samples are to be collected as part of a Catchment Study programme looking at the occurrence and source of the chemicals on a catchment wide scale.
    The nature and complexity of the programme has required bespoke operating procedures and logistics to be put in place and managed by enitial.
  • The CIP2 field technicians are trained on the strict sampling procedures to avoid sample contamination, such as the avoidance of fragrances and perfumes.
  • Sample integrity is maintained throughout the sampling and analysis process through the logistics employed by enitial. Samples are constantly refrigerated from collection, through storage at their Wolverhampton HQ, until the i2 Analytical and National Laboratory Service (NLS) receive the samples by 6am the following morning.
  • The range of testing involved in CIP2 requires a wide variety of extraction and analysis techniques such as liquid chromatography tandem mass spectrometry (LC-MS/MS)
  • Enicip is a dynamic piece of bespoke software which was developed by enitial over a period of six months, specifically for CIP2. The database stores, records and analyses all of the information pertaining to each and every sample including; GPS, photographs, sampling and analysis requirements, H&S, chain of custody, results and KPI reporting.

Moans & Groans:

  • The first phase of the CIP programme which took place in 2010-2013 made it possible to identify substances which required further attention or investigation. The determinands in CIP2, although similar to those in CIP1, are more challenging in terms of their required reporting limits and cover a broader range of substances.
  • The required reporting limits of CIP2 demanded that new analytical techniques were developed.

The Verdict

Using Enicip software, Severn Trent Water can monitor and audit the Chain of Custody from sample collection to results reporting. The functionality of the database also allows for quick and easy data analysis in a user friendly format. All project partners are able to access the database through the web portal, allowing an efficient and transparent data management process which allows a project of this size to be carried out effectively.

Background and programme requirements

In 2010 the UK Water Industry Research organisation (UKWIR) and Environment Agency set up the Chemical Investigations Programme (CIP1) in order to uphold European regulations – namely the Water Framework Directive and the new Priority Substances Directive, which regulates environmental quality standards. As part of CIP1, water companies in England and Scotland were required to monitor their waste water treatment facilities for chemicals with the aim of identifying the effect of waste water treatment processes on the management of the 33 chemicals deemed to be potentially harmful to the environment according to the European Priority Substances Directive.

Throughout the course of CIP1, environmental monitoring specialist enitial was contracted by Severn Trent Water to monitor 37 of the water company’s sewage treatment works for the presence of the chemicals over a period of 18 months with 3,000 samples taken and analysed. enitial’s sampling work in CIP1, and their involvement in developing the CIP2 scope of works and technical specifications, meant they were well placed to deliver the Severn Trent CIP2 project.

On a much larger scale than CIP1, CIP2 will identify the occurrence, sources and removal of the substances, and delineate the scale of any improvements in effluent quality required in order to meet the objectives under the forthcoming stages of the Water Framework Directive. Running from April 2015 until March 2020, CIP2 will see enitial collect almost 11,000 samples from 130 Severn Trent Water sites. The findings from CIP1, and revisions to the Priority Substances Directive, determined that the detection limits should be set much lower in CIP2 and the list of compounds to be monitored has also been expanded meaning that sampling and monitoring has become more complex.

In the field

Working on numerous Severn Trent Water WwTW and catchment wide sites requires thorough Health and Safety (H&S) operating procedures. To enable the effective management of these requirements, enitial has provided the following:

  • ISO 17025 accreditation (competence to carry out tests and/or calibrations and sampling)
  • Health and Safety certification and procedures, which have included all site specific H&S assessments at all WwTWs and other sampling locations, adhering to both enitial and Severn Trent Water requirements
  • Lone worker systems whereby the field technicians have been issued their own access fobs to each of the WwTWs, enabling time efficient sample collection.
  • Enicip software specifically developed to aid sample management from sample collection through to analysis of results. All H&S assessments are stored on Encip, allowing the transferability of the information between field technicians.

Due to the low limits of detection and high risks of sample contamination in the field, enitial has adhered to the stringent requirements of sampling protocol which are presented in the technical specifications of the programme. Examples of some of the sampling protocol in the field are as follows:

  • Different sampling equipment must be used depending on whether the sample is to be tested for organic or inorganic substances. Metal equipment cannot be used for those samples undergoing inorganic analysis (which includes metals).
  • Field technicians cannot wear aftershave or perfume to ensure there is no risk of contamination from fragrances.

During sample collection, the technicians use hand held tablets in the field which operate using Enicip, enitial’s bespoke database. Each sample has a barcode which is scanned and together with photographs of the sample and the site, is uploaded to the Enicip database along with the GPS coordinates. Once the labs have analysed the samples, they send back the results which enitial then uploads to Enicip. This allows for a well monitored and auditable Chain of Custody from sample collection to results reporting. As Enicip is a dynamic piece of software, any site specific H&S or sampling information is recorded and the most up to date information is easily transferred to any other technicians or personnel.

All staff involved in Severn Trent Water CIP2 have full access to Enicip which allows for full traceability, transparency and analysis of the data.

Sample integrity

In addition to the stringent sampling protocols in place, enitial has ensured that sample integrity is maintained throughout the process. enitial has added refrigerated vehicles to its operations to ensure sample fidelity during transportation. Samples are taken by enitial to its Wolverhampton HQ where they are stored and refrigerated until collection the same night. This enables i2 Analytical and the NLS to receive the samples by 6am the following morning, ensuring sample integrity is maintained at its highest level and the laboratory can start analysis promptly the following morning.
enitial manage both their own internal QAQC procedures as well as those of the contracted labs which include a thorough data check prior to the release of the data to the wider CIP group.

Post CIP2

Upon completion, the results of CIP2 will confirm and characterise the perceived environmental quality standards (EQS) compliance risk at each of the works. This will form the basis of future improvement programmes and provide background information with which the UK can respond to future EQS proposals. enitial’s involvement with CIP2 has provided it with a broad depth of expertise which will enable it to effectively provide both sampling and data management services for the monitoring of substance levels in various environments thanks to its experience, technician coverage, accreditations and bespoke software.
Ivor Parry, business development director at enitial says: “Meeting all the challenges set by CIP2 in terms of logistics is certainly no small feat. We worked hard to develop a piece of software in Enicip that would simplify the process of monitoring for Severn Trent Water, as well as the labs at i2 Analytical and the NLS. The traceability of the samples we take and the efficient analysis and reporting that Enicip enables has made it easier to meet CIP2’s stringent requirements for all parties involved.”