South East Water wins the Institute of Water National Innovation Award 2016

Posted: Friday 1st July 2016

South East Water won this year's Institute of Water National Innovation Award 2016 for their innovation on the use of eDNA - Managing Risk with Forensic Science. The award was presented at the Institute of Water's Annual President's Dinner and Awards, held at The Council House in Birmingham in May 2016. The evening recognised talent from across the water industry in a number of different areas and successfully demonstrated the variety of innovation that these companies and individuals have to offer.

South East Water's innovation looks at the use of DNA analysis to detect the presence of protected Great Crested Newts in ponds near to our projects. This cost effective, rapid and reliable method of sampling pond water for the DNA of newts brings many benefits over the traditional method of physically searching ponds at night to identify their presence.

This technique brings project level and strategic efficiencies, and for the future SEW and its framework partner, Jacobs are looking to extend the technique to identify other protected species meaning a win for SEW and a win for protected wildlife.

South East Water's Lead Environmental Engineer Steve Newman, said: "We are absolutely delighted this innovative use of science has been recognised at national level by the Institute of Water.

"The results from using DNA to detect newts are helping to manage project risks more efficiently, saving us time and money and minimising intervention with the local environment."

Cathryn Ross, Chief Executive of Ofwat and head of the judging panel, said: "Not everyone realises that water and sewerage companies have a duty to protect the environment and encourage biodiversity.

"The potential of DNA testing to be used to detect other protected species is great and could benefit all companies within construction and infrastructure, not just water."

The Institute of Water would like to congratulate all companies & individuals who entered the 2015 National Innovation Awards and thank sponsors MWH for their support.


South East Water - Use of eDNA - Managing Risk with Forensic Science

2nd Place
Catchment Team, Dŵr Cymru Welsh Water - WaterSource: Weed Wiper Partnership - Brush the Rush

3rd Place
Northumbrian Water and South Tyneside Council - Partnership Working on Flood Risk Alleviation Scheme in Fellgate, Jarrow

Other finalists include:
Typhon Treatment Systems Ltd. - Utility Scale UV LED Water Treatment
Severn Trent Water and Malvern Instruments - The Online Zetasizer - A ten year mission
Veolia Water Operational Services - Automated Biological Desulphurisation
South West Water - Method for weed and moss control upon waste water percolating filtration systems

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