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The source of life: In many countries, clean drinking water cannot be taken for granted
Crystal clear, cool, and refreshing — drinking water is the most important resource we require for life, whether it flows out of a faucet or is poured from a bottle. Consumers in western industrialized countries justifiably expect drinking water from faucets to be of high quality. Their water is frequently checked, with samples taken at various points in the treatment process to ensure compliance with stringent limits for numerous parameters.
This also applies to bottled drinking water — a healthy beverage that is very popular today. Bottled water is even more important in many other regions of the world, where it is often the only reliable source of clean, healthy drinking water. But whether from a bottle or faucet, the range of possible contaminations due to microorganisms and organic and inorganic substances is essentially almost as broad as clean water is indispensable for people.
150 tools for analyzing water purity
This is why reliable, quick, and customized analysis methods are required. To meet this need, Merck offers an exemplary range of chemical water-testing systems. The ultimate in measuring systems, which are used by water utilities and bottling companies, for example, are the photometric test systems from Merck. They consist of chemical tests and measuring devices such as the Spectroquant® Pharo 100 and 300 spectrophotometers, which measure a water sample’s absorption of light of a specific wavelength in order to determine the concentration of a specific substance in the solution. However photometric processes cannot be used to directly determine most of the values that are of critical importance for drinking water quality. That’s why chemical reagents are added to the water sample in the lab to create photometrically measurable compounds of the pollutant that is sought.
Merck’s chemical expertise accelerates the lab analysis. Each of the 150 Spectroquant® test kits contains all the carefully coordinated reagents needed for the test. Users can choose between practical cuvette tests and economical, long-lasting reagent mixtures. The user merely has to drop the water sample into the cuvette or add it to the reagents and instantly measure the reaction product in the photometer. This process can be used to detect numerous substances in the water with great precision — from aluminum to zinc.
Frequent tests, and their comprehensive documentation, are required by law. In Germany, for example, the public water supply must be analyzed for a number of different parameters several times, from the spring to the point that the water enters a pipe network. This is good for water quality and thus good news for consumers, but it creates additional work for water producers and water utilities. Merck takes on as much of this work as possible, says Dr. Bärbel Grau, Head of Product Management for Food and Environmental Analysis. Merck checks to make sure the test kits are precise for all individual batches, for example, and documents the results for users. The measuring devices’ software ensures that the results meet the required quality standards by checking and evaluating the measurements from start to finish.