TESTATA Hera Laboratory System

Hera's Laboratory System

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Hera Laboratory System

A multi-site laboratory system that operates on all environmental media

HERAtech's Laboratories are actually more a "Laboratorial System", since they are made up of:

  • 2 main laboratories (Sasso Marconi and Forlì);
  • 3 laboratory facilities: one at the hazardous waste treatment plant in the chemical complex at Baiona, Ravenna, another at the purification plant of Servola near Trieste) and the third at Novoledo (VI). The latter 2 accredited.
  • a network of logistics sites (generally one for each province of the area Hera Group serves) where samples are collected and sorted.

Hera Group’s Laboratories System is an advanced professional organisation at national level in the field of quality control, environmental monitoring, industrial plants and safety of business processes. It offers integrated services and in particular:  

  • organization, management, optimization and implementation of sampling activities throughout the area the Hera Group serves and beyond and for all environmental media (Water, Waste, Solids and Liquids, Air, Chemicals, Surfaces);
  • analysis of drinking water, groundwater and wastewater;
  • analysis of waste and its classification;
  • analysis of compost, biological sludge and composting materials;
  • highly specialised analysis of the various environmental media (e.g. asbestos, PFAS, radioactivity, emerging pollutants, etc.);
  • control of atmospheric emissions, conveyed and diffused;
  • odour monitoring;
  • support for plant operators.
Plant operators receive automatic information and alerts to support decisions

Here are some numbers that represent our activity:

  • approximately 87,000 samples processed in 2018, which correspond to more than 1 million analyses per year;
  • about 90 employees, including analysts, samplers, managers and administrative staff;
  • approximately 200 test methods accredited in accordance with UNI EN ISO/IEC 17025:2005.

Focusing on the water media, in 2018 we carried out about:

  • 350,000 readings on drinking water;
  • 275,000 readings on waste water (sewerage and treatment);

and analysed about:

  • 31,000 samples of drinking water;
  • 30,000 samples of waste water (sewerage and purification).

An important driver of development is the specialization of skills. Consequently, the laboratories, although synergistic, have developed specific areas of expertise:

  • the Forlì laboratory carries out analyses on solid waste, sludge, atmospheric emissions and organic micro-pollutants. It is a facility that is equipped with highly automated, very high sensitivity, selective instrumentation, such as two high-resolution mass spectrometers that are able to analyse organic micropollutants such as dioxins, furans, and PCBs at ultratrace level (fg), working in parallel;
  • the Bologna lab focuses on water and performs chemical, physical and biological analysis of natural drinking water and wastewater. It is recognised by the Ministry of Education, University and Research as a research lab and is equipped with highly specialised instrumentation that can test for micro-pollutants such as endocrine disruptors and pharmaceutical substances using accredited methods. It is also able to test for the glyphosate pesticide and is an accredited facility for testing radioactive parameters as per Italian Legislative Decree 28/2016
    The Bologna laboratory was the first multi-utility laboratory to be accredited in Italy, and it is currently the laboratory with the highest number of accredited parameters for drinking water monitoring (over 85%).
A system that continues to grow

Recently the laboratory network has been further enhanced by the Vicenza and Trieste offices, which in 2018 obtained accreditation according to the UNI CEI EN ISO/IEC 17025:2005 standard, as had the Bologna and Forlì facilities.

The Vicenza operations laboratory completes our specialization in the water media in the particular territory of Veneto, working closely with local water managers to monitor groundwater.

The laboratory facility in Trieste plays a specialized role in supporting the new Servola purification plant, which is a technological excellence at the service of the environment, characterized by innovative technologies including Biofor and Biostyr that use microspheres covered with bacterial colonies to abate organic and nitrogen compounds.

Thanks to the hard work of their specialised technicians, Hera’s labs provide the Group with tools that ensure optimal monitoring of water services around the clock, 365 days a year.

In 2018, Hera laboratories performed 399,013 analyses of drinking water; these included all the analyses on the mains water supply process as a whole. That corresponds to an average of 1,093 analyses per day. Of these, 63% were performed on samples taken from the distribution network.

The numerousness of checks depends on the complexity of the mains water supply system and the vulnerability of sources

With regard to the numerousness of controls effected by Hera at plants and along the mains network, it should be noted that the performed controls are linked to both the complexity of the mains system and the degree of vulnerability of sources (surface waters are usually more contaminated and exposed to accidental pollution than aquifers and springs). The following table indicates the number of analyses on drinking water.

 

ANALYSIS OF DRINKING WATER BY AREA (2018)

  NUMBER OF ANALYSES OF WHICH ON MAINS WATER PIPING MAINS NETWORK LENGTH (KM)
Prov. Bologna 88,977 44,317 9,250
Prov. Ferrara 51,550 15,506 2,513
Prov. Forlì-Cesena 46,258 33,865 4,037
Prov. Modena 36,445 16,723 4,632
Prov. Padua 15,712 12,164 2,041
Prov. Pesaro-Urbino 65,010 55,966 4,750
Prov. Ravenna 43,883 33,292 3,791
Prov. Rimini 36,399 29,282 3,004
Prov. Trieste 14,779 11,325 910
Total 399,013 252,440 34,928

 

The Modena figure is justified by the simplicity of the provisioning and treatment system (aquifer water only, of very low variability and easily disinfected). On the other hand, the highest values for Romagna are due to the need for more attentive monitoring of water not produced by Hera and supplied by a third party. In this case, variability is very high on account of the type of source used and the mixing that changes throughout the year. In Pesaro the number of analyses is influenced by the high number of different water sources. In general, thedifference between the areas is due to the characteristics of the sampling sources and the aqueduct network.

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