Sofiyska Voda showed the most modern potable water treatment plant and WSS laboratory in the country

18 June 2018

The potable water treatment plant (PWTP) Bistritsa is one of the four plants (Pancharevo, Mala Tsarkva, Pasarel), which supplies the main water volume to more than 1,400,000 residents on the territory of the Municipality of Sofia. It also has the most modern WSS laboratory in the country, which is the only one carrying out specific analyses in Bulgaria. Vasil Trenev, the new Executive Director of Sofiyska Voda, operated by the international Group Veolia, provided to media representatives the opportunity to familiarize themselves with the way the water quality is controlled in order the residents of the capital to drink water, which is among the top 10 with the highest quality in Europe. 

 “The management and maintenance of the treatment plant Bistritsa is part of our activity, which remains invisible for the society, but it is extremely important because thus we ensure excellent water quality. In our new business plan for the period 2017-2021 we have provided for investments of more than 9 million in facilities of the treatment plant and the laboratory. The investments we make in the facilities, which we operate along the way of water, allow us to continue to improve the management of the water resource – from the dams through the laboratories to the dwelling of each citizen of the capital. For us, to protect the water, to provide high-quality potable water to Sofia is not only a job, it is both responsibility and vocation”.

The water from Iskar Dam and Beli Iskar Dam passes through treatment plants before it reaches the dwellings of the people. Along its entire way, from the water source to the end user, it is analyzed in the Laboratory Testing Complex (LTC) with Sofiyska Voda. The laboratory is one of the permanent and most important investment projects of the company. Resources are continuously spent for the expansion of the accreditation and the implementation of new and modern technologies and equipment. In the period 2017-2021 the total investments planned by the company for the potable water treatment plants and control on the potable water quality exceed 12 million BGN, as the investments planned for the LTC are almost 1 million BGN.

“The control of the high quality of the potable water in Sofia is one of the activities of Sofiyska Voda, which we are very proud of”, stated Vesela Stefanova, head of the LTC with Sofiyska Voda. At the beginning of this year the experience and knowledge of the specialists from the LTC added to the accredited analyses also the microbiological analyses of sludge, as well as of organic pollutants and elements in the water. The LTC also proved that it is in the position to measure precisely the availability of uranium as a chemical element. The scope of the accreditation has been continuously expanded with new indicators and markers for analyses.

The establishment of a UV disinfection system (with ultraviolet light) for the water at the outlet of PWTP Bistritsa has been envisaged. It builds on the existing technologies to guarantee the water quality and will be in operation in 2020-2021.

“The water is not only of excellent quality, it is suitable also for young children to drink it every day. Its phisical and chemical characteristics favor the development and functioning of the organism and helps to flush toxins out.” Mrs. Stefanova broke the myth that the water just filled from the tap in the glass is white because it is of bad quality. This means that it is aerated, i.e. in case of higher pressure, small bubbles are formed, which shortly after that go up and the water becomes clear.

“Bistritsa” treatment plant is the biggest and the most modern plant for potable water treatment in Bulgaria
It was commissioned in 1999. Until then “Pancharevo” treatment plant treated the water used for potable and domestic needs in the capital.
The treatment plant in Bistritsa is located on an area of 135 decares and can process 8.8 m3/ s. The water supplied from Iskar dam to the treatment plant is treated mechanically. It has modern equipment, which guarantees high efficiency of the technological processes. The PWTP in Bistritsa operates 365 days a year, 24/7. 

The laboratory testing complex (LTC) has been accredited by the Executive Agency “Bulgarian Accreditation Service” in accordance with BDS EN ISO/IEC 17025 since the beginning of 2010.
The processes of sample taking and analyzing, carried out by the LTC, meet recognized international standards.
Each analysis starts with sample taking. The mobile laboratory specialists of the LTC are trained and certified for proper performance of the activity. Field analyses of free chlorine, pH and water temperature are made even at the sample taking. Afterwards the samples, kept refrigerated, are transported to the laboratory where they are analyzed per physico-chemical and microbiological indicators.
The laboratory analyses are made with modern, metrologically pretested equipment. Each analysis runs with quality control, which is done with certified reference materials. The laboratory takes around 2,000 control samples from the water network monitoring points with the customers, on which it performs around 40,000 analyses per year, which is around 54% more versus the ones required by law. The overall monitoring of the water for potable and domestic needs comprises a total of 8,000 samples per 140,000 indicators. 

Proof of the competency of the specialists conducting analyses is the LTC’s accreditation, which has been maintained for eight years already. The laboratory participates in international proficiency tests yearly with over 90% success rate. All that enhances the strict control and high quality of the potable water in Sofia.

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