Where is the water laboratory sector heading and what role does your company play in that future?
The water laboratory is not only the analytical service to meet legislative requirements. Of course, the water laboratories provide the necessary information that will later be used either by the administration or by specialized companies, but they are also the support and independent assessment of the client (companies managing the water cycle and the administration). The water laboratories not only have to be analysts, but also have to provide a service of advice and technological innovation in the sector. In Laboratorios Munuera we have the spirit of customer service and we do not only offer analytical results, but we also offer our experience and global vision of the problems.
Laboratorios Munuera, in its eagerness to improve and logical evolution, proposes the future as a search to enhance this service towards the client, providing solutions, for example we already have parameters accredited by ENAC under the UNE-EN ISO 17025 Standard for the new legislative changes that are taking place in Europe, such as the determination of chlorites and chlorates or uranium in drinking water. Or assembling instrumental methods to comply with RD 817/2015 which establishes the criteria for monitoring and evaluation of the state of surface water and environmental quality standards.
Are microcontaminants and their analysis the main challenge for laboratories? Or other samples as well?
The control laboratories have always kept microcontaminants in mind, but the available technology did not allow analysis at the levels at which they can be found. The technological evolution in the analytical sector and the reduction of costs that are no longer exclusive to the research sector, has allowed the control laboratories to have technologies that enable us to face the so-called microcontaminants and / or emerging substances. Although there are other substances that had not been interesting, despite the fact that the means were available to be analyzed, for example, the formation of trihalomethanes from chlorination in drinking water is very much controlled, but other possible by-products derived from chlorination were not taken into account such as haloacetic substances or the presence of pesticides is controlled, but not the possible metabolites of these. This remains a challenge for the immediate future.
As you well know, Tecnoaqua is organising a conference on microplastics in aquatic environments. What does your laboratory offer in the face of these new pollutants?
From Laboratorios Munuera we have opened a line of research on the analysis of microplastics using the technique of differential scanning calorimetry and thermogravimetry. The DSC technique is very useful for obtaining the melting temperature and the percentage of crystallinity of a polymer, even when it is aged. The project seeks the qualitative and semi-quantitative differentiation and identification of the different polymers in mixtures after extracting the samples with conventional methods.