DEMEAU conclusion: bioassays add great value in determining water quality

European DEMEAU project concluded

The three-year DEMEAU project was concluded in September 2015. KWR led the consortium, comprising 17 members from 5 countries, that carried out the project for the EU. DEMEAU promoted the implementation of the results of previous European research work into addressing emerging contaminants in the watercycle. Bioassays were one of the four promising technologies that DEMEAU focused on.

Hands-on experience with bioassays

Hands-on experience with bioassays

Workshop on bioassays in Paris

Bioassays constitute a valuable complement to the existing arsenal of analytical-chemical techniques. They can be used to determine the presence of chemical substances in (sources of) drinking water. The suitability and cost-effectiveness of these assays have been tested in pilots at water companies in the Netherlands and elsewhere. The main initiators are KWR, BDS, Swiss Ecotoxcentre and Veolia. The knowledge collected was presented on 29 January 2015 to approximately 30 government, water company and laboratory representatives; in the afternoon, the attendees gained some hands-on experience with bioassays, such as the microtox assay (acute toxicity), the ER CALUX (estrogenic compounds) and the algae toxicity assay. Data management is an important component of bioassays, which is why attention was also directed to the elaboration of bioassay data.

Incorporating bioassays into policy and regulations

One of the conclusions reached during the DEMEAU meeting, was that the added value of bioassays in the determination of water quality is being increasingly recognised. That’s why it is now important to stimulate policy-makers to incorporate bioassays into policy and regulations. In 2015, the DEMEAU project also delivered another two important products: an inventory of the most suitable bioassays for the determination of water quality, and an integrated report on the application of bioassays in the three other areas that DEMEAU focuses on: Managed Aquifer Recharge, advanced oxidation and ceramic membranes.