Water Quality - Case Studies

Water Footprint Verification Services

Intertek provides Water Footprint Verification Services for its customers covering the evaluation, calculation and documentation associated with both water consumption and quality at customer and supplier sites. In 2017, we provided this service for an appliance manufacturing site in Turkey amongst others. Working with our local offices, Intertek was able to support a verification of the organisations water footprint, which included six manufacturing facilities, offices and ancillary buildings.

As part of the Water Footprint assessment, companies commit to reduce consumption in measurable metrics to minimise stress on fresh-water sources for industrial processes. Water-stress impacts communities globally, where industrial uses of water can divert resources and affect safe potable drinking water availability. Intertek’s Water Footprint Verification Services ensure that companies are following acceptable standards for evaluating their water sustainability so that substantiated improvements can be made over time.


Intertek provides ecotoxicology services for clients, to assess the toxicity of a variety of different samples that pose a risk to the marine environment, i.e. effluents, crude oils, bulk shipping cargo to name a few. The outcomes of each toxicity assessment are then used by our clients to ensure environmental protection.

In addition to the testing of samples for toxicity, the ecotoxicology division also provides assurance services to assist clients with environmental risk assessments. Specialising in determining the bioavailability of contaminants, our ecotoxicologists provide focused and insightful data analytics to assist our clients in their environmental goals.

During 2017, Intertek’s ecotoxicology team have worked with Jacobs for many of the major Oil and Gas companies in the Australasian region in relation to the produced water testing for the offshore oil and gas platforms.

Pollution Prevention Planning Services

Intertek provides industrial and institutional clients with pollution prevention planning services. Some jurisdictions require the testing for wastewater discharge from industrial and institutional facilities for a range of parameters. The strategy behind pollution prevention planning is to address hazardous chemicals that are found in freshwater resources and landfills. Before wastewater is treated, many solid and larger inorganic materials are removed and deposited, untreated, into landfills where previously absorbed pollutants can later leach into soil and groundwater. To manage unwanted chemicals from reaching freshwater resources and landfills, pollution prevention planning, includes testing wastewater when it is discharged from the facility and relating findings back to chemicals, products and infrastructure used.

In Ontario, Canada Intertek’s pollution prevention planning services led to the removal of a subject pollutant from cleaning products commonly used in healthcare facilities, among major manufacturers. Additionally, Intertek is also working with a global supplier of laboratory equipment, to identify pollution prevention planning requirements in various countries world-wide so their products can meet customer demand and reduce their contribution of pollutants discharged to the environment.

Pollution prevention effectively incorporates strategies for clean and safe drinking water with controllable activities and wastewater discharge. Intertek supports evaluation and planning for management of freshwater ecosystems that are essential to human health, environmental sustainability and economic prosperity.

Understanding Microplastics In the River Rhine

Intertek has completed a study supporting researchers from the University of Basel to evaluate plastic debris in the River Rhine. The study, which was recently published in the journal, Scientific Reports, represents the first scientific study of microplastics over the length of a major river. Tiny plastic particles, smaller than five millimetres, known as microplastics, are found in almost all rivers, lakes and oceans. They can result from fragmentation of plastic waste, textile fibres or occur as intermediate products in plastic production or as small pellets used in personal care products. The University of Basel researchers collected many samples from the Rhine and partnered with Intertek’s Basel laboratory to understand the type and concentration of microplastics found. Intertek’s polymer testing experts developed a process which would enable the handling and grouping of the thousands of particles which make up the samples in a manageable way and then investigated the many plastic particles using a technique called infra-red spectroscopy. This information has given a first insight into the origin and former use of the plastics debris which, in turn, could help to reduce the levels of microplastics and prevent harm to the aquatic biodiversity of the River Rhine. The results revealed that these microplastics have originated from a wide range of applications such as packaging, personal care products, office equipment, vehicle construction and numerous others. We plan to continue our collaboration with the University of Basel and to support further characterisation of microplastics and their origins.

Water Quality Compliance Around the Welsh Coast

Intertek has led the modelling and compliance for Welsh Water’s largest ever scientific coastal investigation, an £8m project across 49 coastal sites around Wales and has also provided numerous innovative techniques and a state-of-the-art assessment methodology. Intertek Energy & Water is working with the Dwr Cymru Welsh Water ('DCWW') Capital Delivery Alliance supporting an extensive field data collection programme designed to ensure that data are suitable for model calibration and compliance investigation. This data will be combined with outputs from sewerage network models to feed into Intertek’s state-of-the-art compliance assessment systems. We have been working continuously with DCWW for 15 years and have built an extensive knowledge of the physical processes of coastal waters, estuaries, river catchments and reservoirs. This work is a valuable step in extending our understanding of water quality issues and building on previous solutions in order to meet the latest regulatory targets.