Inside Northumbrian Water's SWAT unit.
Inside Northumbrian Water's SWAT unit.

A Site Wastewater Analysis Trailer (SWAT), designed by Northumbrian Water workers, will help protect the quality of rivers and watercourses across the UK’s North East region.

The SWAT is a bespoke mobile unit which will be plugged into wastewater treatment works to give detailed information about the quality of wastewater going into the sites from customers' homes, and back out again into the environment.

The unit is 2.5 m tall and 4.2 m wide and contains the pipework which pumps up wastewater from the works and runs it through water analysis software mounted inside. This gives operators immediate information about the incoming wastewater and how it should be treated. A second SWAT unit will measure the quality of the water coming out at the end of the treatment process, to ensure its safe return to the environment.

Normally samples are analysed on site or sent to a lab for testing, which can be time-consuming. Northumbrian Water's technical adviser, Laura Evans, said that the SWAT unit will increase efficiency, both in terms of treating the water, and identifying any potential issues.