An innovative idea from Northumbrian Water workers is set to help protect the quality of rivers and watercourses across the North East.

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The SWAT (Site Wastewater Analysis Trailer) is a bespoke mobile unit which will be plugged into wastewater treatment works to help give detailed information on the quality of wastewater going into the sites from customers' homes, and back out again into the environment.


The 2.5 metre tall and 4.2 metre wide mobile unit conceals a myriad of pipework, which pumps up wastewater from the works and runs it through water analysis software mounted inside.


This then gives operators instantaneous results on the incoming wastewater, allowing them to know straight away exactly what's in the sewage and any changes that might need to be made to how it gets treated.


A second SWAT unit will measure the quality of the water coming out at the end of the treatment process, meaning Northumbrian Water can continue to make sure that it is of the highest standard before it gets safely returned to the environment.


The mobile trailers, which will be deployed on treatment sites across the region wherever and whenever necessary, will be named after past employees as part of the company's legacy project.


It was Northumbrian Water's Technical Advisor, Laura Evans and her team who first had the idea for the SWAT unit over a year ago.


She said: "Ordinarily, an employee would take samples of the wastewater and either analyse the wastewater on site themselves or send it to the labs for testing. This can be time consuming and limited in the information it gives us about what's going on inside our sewage treatment works.


"We’ve spent the last year working collaboratively with supplier Pollution & Process Monitoring Ltd to design and develop the SWAT trailer to help us improve that process and I’m so proud that we’ve now got a real-life, working product.


"The trailers will provide a vast amount of information that we've never had before, sending information about the wastewater quality 24/7 and removing the need to take samples that only tell you about the wastewater at that moment in time.


"This will give us much better insight into the wastewater flows entering and leaving our works and will help to make us more efficient, both in terms of making sure we're using the right amount of chemicals to treat the water, as well as proactively identifying any potential issues.


"We're passionate about protecting the environment and more importantly, using the SWAT trailer means we're able to better monitor and improve the quality of the final treated product from our works, before it's returned to the environment.