2011 Water Purification Survey Results

Water is the most commonly used laboratory reagent; however, the importance of water quality is often overlooked. Read on to find out the results of our water purifier system survey.

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Water is the most commonly used laboratory reagent; however, the importance of water quality is often overlooked. Because impurities can be a critical factor in many research experiments, water purity ranks high in importance. There are several types of impurities and contaminants in water such as particulates, organics, inorganics, microorganisms and pyrogens that can adversely affect results.

Achieving water of a high quality requires the careful use of purification technologies and a method for accurately measuring and monitoring contaminants.

Trends in laboratory water purification technologies are dictated by:

  • Advances in instrumentation or applications toward higher sensitivity and analyte selectivity
  • The existence of “emerging” contaminants in tap water that may not be efficiently removed by existing purification technologies
  • Smaller analysis volume requirements

Water purification has come a long way in a short time since the first filtration and membrane systems of the twentieth century. Purified water, in particular, serves a variety of operations and applications, from wet chemistry to instrumental analysis.

Number of water purification systems respondents are currently using in their labs.

None

6%

1

50%

2

24%

3 or more

20%

There are several feed sources for purifying water in the lab. The most commonly used method is “raw potable,” which is used by nearly 50% of the respondents.

Raw potable

48%

Deionized

17%

Distilled

10%

Reverse osmosis

12%

Di/RO

9%

Other

3%

Lab water purity is classified into three different types (based on the ASTM system of grading water purity): Type 1 (the purest), Type 2, and Type 3. Type 1 (“ultrapure”) water, which is the most expensive to produce, is used for highly sensitive analytical techniques with very low detection limits, such as HPLC, LC-MS, GFAA and ICP-MS. Type 2 water is used in general laboratory applications such as buffers, standard pH solutions and microbiological culture media preparation, as well as to feed clinical analyzers and cell culture incubators. Type 3 water has the lowest purity of the three types. It is recommended for glassware rinsing, heating baths, filling autoclaves, and to feed higher-grade lab water systems. Most of the respondents use Type 1 water in their labs.

ASTM Type I

53%

ASTM Type II

33%

ASTM Type III

11%

Other

3%

Once pure water has been produced, it must be validated and then carefully stored and maintained to ensure that its quality does not deteriorate. To ensure that water quality is maintained, the following components are also used in the lab:

Dispensing points

57%

Storage tank

56%

Water quality monitor

53%

UV sterilizer

43%

Polisher

34%

Distiller

25%

Water softener

16%

Other

6%

Respondents’ annual purchasing budgets for water purification system supplies/accessories such as filters.

Less than $2,000

42%

$2,000 - $5,000

35%

$5,000 - $10,000

16%

$10,000+

7%

Forty-two percent of respondents who are planning to purchase a water purification system are looking to replace aging equipment.

Replacement of current water purification system

42%

Setting up a new lab

27%

Addition to existing systems; increase capacity

24%

First-time purchase of a water purification system

5%

Other

2%

Respondents’ budget ranges for a new water purification system purchase:

The price of a water purification system ranges from less than $5,000 for a simple single unit instrument to over $30,000 for a complete system that combines pre-treatment and polishing in one unit, and produces Type 1 water directly from tap water. Complete systems eliminate disadvantages of central water purification systems that serve as a pre-treatment step. Complete systems are popular in large R&D organizations such as pharmaceutical companies.

Less than $5,000

30%

$5,000 - $10,000

22%

$10,000 - $15,000

18%

$15,000 - $20,000

15%

$20,000 - $30,000

5%

$30,000+

10%

Price and budget are always considerations at the point of purchase; however, when choosing a laboratory water purification system, the method must be matched with the application. You need to consider your application, the amount of water you need for your application, and the existing condition of your feed water. Hand in hand with the proper method is the consistency of the pure water. All water purification systems may produce the highest purity of water, but not all have features that ensure high-quality water is produced consistently.

In addition, when considering a water purification system, both the quality and the quantity are important. You should take into account instantaneous as well as daily water volume requirements. For labs that have variable demands on quality and quantity, flexibility and modularity become very important. After choosing the right system, performing regular, preventative maintenance is equally important. Newer models have built-in alarms and calibrators that warn customers if certain components are coming to the end of their life cycles.

Important factors in the decision-making process:

Water quality

99%

Durability of product

97%

Low maintenance; Easy to clean

97%

Availability of supplies and accessories

95%

Ease of use

94%

Price

90%

Service and support

88%

Warranties

82%

Self-monitoring

78%

Safety and health features

68%

Footprint/size

65%

Respondents' fields of work:

Hospital/Medical center

18%

Biochemistry and biology

16%

Environment

15%

Pharmaceutical industry

12%

Chemical

10%

Microbiology

8%

Food and beverages

7%

Other

14%

Completed Surveys: 398

See the latest survey results here

Categories: Surveys

Published In

Scientists & The Social Media Magazine Issue Cover
Scientists & The Social Media

Published: April 1, 2011

Cover Story

Scientists & the Social Media

Laboratories are at the forefront of research and analysis. But when it comes to communication, they are followers rather than leaders and can be very slow to adopt innovations.