SAFER Surveillance and control of microbiological stability in drinking water distribution networks

Country: EU Projects
Start Date:   1/11/2002         Duration: 48 months         Project Type: 
Contract Number: EVK1-CT-2002-00108
Organisation Type:  EC Project
Water and sanitation-->Water and sanitation
Water and sanitation-->Water supply
Project objectives:
The project SAFER aims to control drinking water microbial stability and quality changes during its transport throughout distribution systems.   
Drinking water quality in distribution networks varies markedly in Europe, depending on the country and the extent of urbanisation (big towns versus dispersed 
habitations). However in all cases, drinking water is a very vulnerable product whose high quality may deteriorate during transport because of a microbial
contamination from the resource and from the biofilm developed in the distribution system (potable water is not a sterile product, neither is the network itself).
Thanks to the development of new fast detection techniques the SAFER project will permit to implement early warning tools for biofilms and pathogens. Therefore
it will strongly reduce microbial risk for consumers. One other important point is that the project will also provide relevant information for an efficient post disinfection of distributed water avoiding excess
use of chemicals and hereby reducing the production of disinfection by-products.
Project Summary:
The main objective of SAFER is to develop analytical tools for early warning signals and control parameters which govern proliferation of micro-organisms 
in drinking water distribution systems, and by way of consequence to decrease the risk of gastrointestinal illness for consumers throughout the EU. - Biofilm accumulation surveys (to gauge the status and development of biofilms) - Pathogen detection (bacterial and protozoal in aquatic biofilms) - Efficient disinfection (rapid monitoring of disinfection efficiency) will be the main targets of the study as three of the key factors leading to unsafe waters for general and specific (such as immunologically depressed) consumers.
The research will lead to the development of analytical tools for rapid diagnosis and quality control to improve safe drinking water distribution.
Achieved Objectives:
The elaboration of new and rapid decision-making tools by detection   
and/or modification of biofilm composition. This will permit the control   
of water quality changes inside the drinking water distribution system   
by developing early warning-systems for biofilm accumulation.  
The calibration of bench scale reactors to provide selected devices for   
testing in dynamic conditions interactions between materials and   
The sensitive detection of pathogens at low concentration,   
contributing to the risk assessment of the prevalence of pathogens   
associated with European potable drinking water distribution   
The replacement of the existing accurate but too slow method for   
disinfection efficiency control by a rapid (less than 1 hour) method.  
As a whole, SAFER gives means to water industry to improve treatment   
and drinking water distribution. It also provides opportunities for more   
consumers protection by reducing accidents and epidemiological incidents   
and provides important insights to be considered in the context of the   
revision of the European policy in drinking water quality. 
Product Descriptions:
Practical guidance manual for water suppliers including device performances procedures to manage biofilm in drinking water distribution systems  
European Workshop : 'Drinking water quality in distribution systems'Methodological guide for end-user  
Methodological guide for end-user  
Dissemination strategic plan  
Technical data base on performances of device signals (biofilm, pathogens, disinfection) in relation to classical methods  
Field analyses (Biofilm + water)   
Definition of suitable procedures for rapid monitoring of disinfection efficiency of drinking water and biofilm  
Use of nucleic acid fluorochromes for the rapid control of drinking water disinfection efficiency  
New method for assessing rapidly the efficiency of disinfection  
Configuration of each biofilm monitoring device  
Confirmation that the detection methods developed using the spiked laboratory models are suitable for use with real distribution supply samples for routine 
monitoring New detection method for bacterial, andprotozoal pathogens in potable water biofilms Handbook for basic analytical microbiological and chemical methodologies (version 2) Downloadable from: ...
Additional Information:

Project Resources:
Funding Programme(s): 
EC Framework Programme 5
Link to Organisations:
Submitted by: EUGRIS Team Professor Paul Bardos  Who does what?  14/03/2007 16:33:00