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20 minutes to ensure safe water in a temporary water installation

Updated: Dec 5, 2023

During Mova 2022, the Swiss Federal Scout Camp, a tent city, was built from scratch, including a temporary water installation that served over 35,000 people. bNovate’s online flow cytometer, BactoSense, monitored the microbiological quality of the water from the provisional setup 24/7 and provided accurate on-site results.

The Swiss Federal Scout Camp

The largest scout camp in Switzerland, Mova 2022, was an organizational masterwork. Everything had to be put in place, from assembling the military tents to ensuring the safety and health of all the scouts.

Rahel Oechslin was responsible for the water quality of the temporary water installation. A former scout herself and also known as Nicki, she experienced getting ill as a child from contaminated water. During Mova 2022, all the children and adults could stay safe thanks to the seamless quality control process using 24/7 water quality monitoring.

What are the risks of a temporary water infrastructure?

The organizers of Mova wanted to ensure that all the participants had access to natural, high-quality, untreated water. However, while standard water infrastructures have been built and tested to be reliable, we have less data and experience with temporary installations.

With 9 km of drinking water pipes running beneath the camp, the contamination risks had to be assessed. It was also advisable to have access to modern technologies to monitor the water quality onsite and define alarms to intervene quickly if necessary. At first, Rahel conducted a hazard analysis to identify all potential risks.

Some of the potential hazards include:

  • Stagnant water

  • Contamination due to bad weather – read the story of a Swiss community that experienced water contamination because of heavy rainfall

  • Pollution

  • Leaking pipes

A woman next to a BactoSense

BactoSense, the ideal solution for online water quality monitoring

After she assessed all the risks associated with this temporary water infrastructure, Rahel chose at which control points she should control which parameters (i.e. temperature, conductivity, microbiology). Some samples were directly measured onsite, while others were sent to the lab for further analysis.

Using BactoSense allowed her to measure the microbiology in manual (offline) but also automatic (online) mode:

  1. Water was continuously monitored online with BactoSense

  2. Water samples were manually collected regularly to be tested in a laboratory and with BactoSense

Although the laboratory worked very efficiently and could communicate the E.coli and Enterococci results after 20 hours, immediate decisions were taken using the results provided by BactoSense. The time to result is 20 minutes, which helped the team get a quick overview of the water quality and decide whether additional steps were required (for example, more flushing or immediately treating the water).

During the two weeks of Mova, bNovate’s industrial flow cytometer provided in-process control, while the laboratory offered post-process confirmation, giving Rahel the peace of mind that no one would get sick by drinking the water.

BactoSense in a tent

This project was particularly interesting for bNovate as it was the first time we could test our solution in a temporary infrastructure. The results were very satisfying, and we are already looking forward to extending this application to other events requiring safe water.

Don’t hesitate to contact us if you are interested!

Thank you, Rahel, for the excellent collaboration during this project and congratulations on your achievement. We can’t wait to discover your article, which will be published in Aqua & Gas in December 2022. We are sure to read many exciting details about how you managed to ensure good water quality during moves.


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