Northern Ireland (NI) Water has awarded a contract for the sampling and transportation of water and wastewater samples to Belfast-based company RPS Environmental Management Ltd.

This contract is worth almost £7 million over a five-year period.

The three-year contract operates around the clock, 365 days a year and involves taking samples at NI Water’s treatment works and various other locations throughout both the drinking water supply and sewerage networks.

The samples are then transported under strictly controlled conditions to NI Water’s Analytical Services laboratories, where they undergo analysis to demonstrate compliance with water and wastewater quality regulations.

Dymphna Gallagher, head of drinking water regulation for NI Water, said:

“NI Water is committed to the highest standards of water and wastewater quality throughout Northern Ireland, and we are delighted to award this major contract to Belfast firm RPS.

“The recent high demand for water due to the hot weather, meant that sampling had to be carried out at an even greater frequency, as we ensure that tankered water continued to meet the same rigorous quality standards, whilst maintaining supply to its customers.

“We look forward to working together with RPS to maintain these excellent standards and level of service for our customers.”

Image source: Michael Cooper

In order to meet regulatory requirements, RPS were required to attain quality standard ISO 17025 accreditation for sampling activities, which was awarded by the United Kingdom Accreditation Service (UKAS) in July 2021.

The contract requires samplers to accurately carry out checks on drinking water samples at various stages which provide immediate assurance that treatment processes continue to protect public health in providing safe, clean drinking water to Northern Ireland.

Meanwhile, the UK Met Office has issued the a Status Yellow warning for all counties in Northern Ireland this weekend.

The Yellow warning for thunderstorm activity – affecting counties Fermanagh, Tyrone, Derry, Antrim, Down and Armagh – will see slow-moving, heavy downpours – some of which will be thundery – which may cause flooding and travel disruption.

This warning came into effect from 4:00a.m this morning (Friday) and will remain in place until 23:59p.m tonight.