5 Things You Didn’t Know About Our Water
PUB has a comprehensive and strict source-to-tap water quality monitoring programme that covers the entire system, from reservoirs to the waterworks and distribution network. This is to ensure our drinking water is of the highest quality that is well within World Health Organization (WHO) guidelines. Stringent monitoring and continuous innovation – that’s how we ensure clean and safe drinking water straight from the tap. Read on to find out more!
1. More than 450,000 water quality tests are conducted annually
Spanning over 300 parameters, more than 450,000 water quality tests are done in PUB’s accredited water quality lab annually. Apart from collecting water samples for tests, we also use online sensors for real-time monitoring of both raw and treated water. Online Monitoring Profiler Systems are strategically placed in reservoirs and waterways to measure various physical, chemical and biological parameters. Within the distribution network, there are also more than 300 water quality sensors to further safeguard our drinking water supply.
2. Fish and “swans” play an important role in monitoring water quality
Don’t be surprised if you spot a swan bobbing around in our reservoirs! These are actually “NUSwan” (New Smart Water Assessment Network) designed to resemble life-sized swans. This smart robot collects real-time water quality data autonomously near the water surface and provides spatial water quality information. In addition, it can also access remote locations to help us better understand the conditions of the entire reservoir.
We also use a Fish Activity Monitoring System to help us monitor the quality of treated water. Stationed at various waterworks and service reservoirs, the fully-automated system constantly provides live monitoring of fish motion activity and counts of fish via video cameras and image analysis software. Alerts are then triggered for any possible abnormality in water quality.
3. Water quality tests can be done on the go
We take no chances when it comes to water quality issues. The PUB mobile laboratory can be deployed to water incident sites within 1 – 2 hours as a quick response to attend to any water quality feedback and cases. Over 16 parameters can be tested on-site in the mobile lab, allowing for greater efficiency.
4. Ultraviolet (UV) technologies are put to good use for NEWater
UV light is an effective water disinfection tool and plays an important part in the NEWater treatment process. There is a stringent 3-step process – microfiltration (MF), reverse osmosis (RO) and UV disinfection - to recycle treated used water. MF and RO remove all microscopic particles and undesirable contaminants. At the last stage of the process, UV disinfection is conducted where the water passes through UV light to ensure that any remaining organisms, including bacteria and viruses, are inactivated. Chemicals are then added to restore pH balance, before we get NEWater – ultra-clean, high-grade reclaimed water.
5. Water filters may do more harm than good
Do you wonder why filter devices (or cloth filters at the taps) turn brown? These brownish deposits are due to the minute amounts of minerals inherent in the water supply that were absorbed and oxidised over time. Filters may become a breeding ground for bacteria if they are not cleaned or replaced regularly.
These minerals are also common causes of water discolouration, when re-suspension occurs due to sudden flow changes in the water pipe. Essential maintenance operations such as the routine cleaning of water tanks, flushing of watermains and service pipes in buildings may cause re-suspension of mineral sediments. However, discoloured water can also be attributed to stagnant water in service pipes and water service installations as a result of infrequent use.