Towards a water-wise world Annual report 2014

KWR’s new building 

Laboratories moved successfully

13 December 2014Organisation

At the end of 2014, KWR moves into its new building on its own site. It is perhaps the laboratories that feel the impact of the move the most: the lab work just carries on while the equipment and measurement set-ups are moved. For the labs the move is something of an aptitude test; a test they pass with flying colours.

Moving KWR’s microbiology and chemical labs demands good preparation and extra measurements, some of which are connected to accreditation. “Laboratories that are accredited by the Dutch Accreditation Council (RvA) offer their clients and partners a guarantee of the demonstrable quality of their work,” says Idsart Dijkstra, head of KWR’s Water Quality and Health Knowledge Group.

Planning the move

At the end of July, the RvA receives KWR’s moving plan. “This included what we would keep track of and do to ensure that we’d achieve the same results in the new building,” says Ronald Italiaander, team leader of the microbiology laboratory. “This is not self-evident. For example, in the new premises a sealant material was used to secure the windows, and particles of this material can remain in the air, which can then disturb your analyses. We have to control whether the air in the new labs is as clean as it was in the old building, and take any remedial measures necessary. We also have to reach new agreements with the suppliers concerning equipment maintenance, and give the staff good instructions about how everything works under the new conditions.”

First measurements upon delivery

The RvA gives a positive assessment of the moving plan. In early September it is clear that the labs can keep operating with accreditation while the move is underway. After the move is accomplished, additional research will test whether the confidence was justified. “Having passed the theoretical test,” says Italiaander, “we now face the practical one.” On 14 November 2014, the new building is delivered. After a thorough cleaning the first measurements begin: What’s the air quality and the drinking water quality? Once the first microbiology lab apparatuses have been moved and the new equipment set up, the experiments to validate their operation and the analyses in the new building are started.

“We were well prepared and therefore didn’t run into any big surprises”

Conditions practically the same

On 1 December, the chemical laboratory’s move gets underway. On Friday, 5 December, the large apparatuses, like the mass spectrometers, are moved. “This was purposefully planned for a week-end,” says Annemieke Kolkman, team leader of the chemical lab. “In this way, the mass spectrometers have a couple of days to achieve a vacuum and stabilise.” Microbiology analyses are still being carried out in both the old and new buildings. The double measurements are a precautionary measure, because biological cultures can grow differently in environments that differ slightly from each other. The parallel measurements reveal that the conditions in the 2 buildings are similar enough: the cultures show no differences. “We were well prepared and therefore didn’t run into any big surprises. We did very well in the practical test too.”

© 2017 KWR Watercycle Research Institute

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