Using a rapid assessment tool to improve water quality testing results

Using a rapid assessment tool to improve water quality testing results

Altogether Group have developed a Rapid Assessment Tool (RAT) to assess risk and provide guidance in monitoring water quality.

The role of monitoring is fundamental to the successful implementation of the risk framework in the contemporary water utility. Meaningful data interpretation from that monitoring can identify and implement timely risk management to protect public health.

Altogether Group, an Australian multi-utility operating along the east coast, identified a need to improve the timely understanding of the materiality and reliability of exceedances reported by its laboratory provider, to guide an appropriate incident management response.

Development of the Rapid Assessment Tool (the RAT) fits into the existing incident management framework and is activated upon receipt of out-of-specification water quality results from the laboratory. The RAT involves a risk-based investigation component (location of sample, significance of parameter, critical control point performance), overall risk category assignment (low, medium or high risk), and direction for further actions (to fit within the incident management framework).

Validation via team review and past results demonstrated that the tool is reproducible, reliable, easy to use and met design objectives. Benefits include access to a systematic tool for consistency and increased confidence in decision making, leading to a reduction in public health risk by ensuring incidents are managed promptly and appropriately and corrective actions fit the risk profile.

The RAT has been successfully used following out-of-specification water quality results.

Altogether will continue to use and refine the RAT during incident management.

Read full paper here in the AWA Water e-Journal