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Colifast ALARM™ blows the whistle on E. coli in drinking water

Colifast ALARM™ tests fresh water for the presence of E. coli and coliforms. “Our patented technology protects public health and the environment with user-friendly, automated, remote microbial testing,” says Helene Stenersen, Managing Director at Colifast. Published 10 Jul 2023 (updated 22 Mar 2024) · 3 min read
Water testing system in a large orange metal box

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At a glance

  • Microbial testing of drinking water
  • Automated, remote detection of E.coli and coliforms
  • Increases drinking water safety, improves public health

For at least 3 billion people, the quality of the water they depend on is unknown due to a lack of monitoring. According to the UN, meeting drinking water, sanitation and hygiene targets by 2030 will require a four-fold increase in the pace of progress.

“Climate change is having a negative impact on water quality. Raw water sources previously regarded as safe are becoming more unstable. In addition, extreme weather with heavy rain and flooding is affecting drinking water pipelines and increasing the risk of leakage, and makes it important to know your water in order to find the right treatment,” explains Stenersen.

On-site monitoring of E. coli and coliforms in fresh water

Colifast ALARM™ provides automated, remote microbial testing of water, including drinking water and wastewater. The online system detects E. coli, total coliforms and faecal coliforms. The system can detect 1 cfu/100 mL, and results are obtained within 15 hours. No laboratory facilities or skills in microbiology are required to perform the analysis.

Connected directly to the water source, Colifast ALARM™ automatically collects a 100 mL representative water sample, performs a microbiological analysis, and reports to the user. The system can be placed in strategic locations to sample and report on the water quality for up to 21 days without any interaction. 

The system’s flexibility enables a wide variety of applications: 

“Using the Colifast ALARM™, the city of Barcelona samples and analyses the city’s raw water intake every 15 hours, a remote Brazilian town monitors faecal pollution events, and a Turkish car factory monitors bacterial levels in production water,” explains Stenersen.

Colifast water testing system

Much faster than traditional labs

Highly user-friendly, Colifast ALARM™ is operated easily by non-experts, and results are transmitted via GSM, PLC/SCADA or LAN.

The system’s rapid method, combined with early warning options, provides information long before traditional laboratory results are available. Moreover, the Colifast instruments perform automated analysis on site and reduce the risk of errors during sampling, transportation and sample preparation.

“Our system minimises the risk of human error. Monitoring is automated and continuous, using exactly the same procedure every time. The samples are always representative because they are collected and instantly measured at the source instead of being transported to another location,” says Stenersen.

Extreme weather fuels market demand

The global water testing and analysis market is projected to reach USD 5.5 billion by 2027, driven by climate change, a growing population and an increase in waterborne diseases. To counteract these threats, authorities are enacting more water-quality regulations, which require accurate measurement and reporting.

More than 30 years of experience has allowed Colifast to establish a worldwide distribution network, with over 50 systems installed globally. “We provide validated and documented methods and results that correspond with international standards,” notes Stenersen.

In addition to Colifast ALARM™, the company provides a similar system, known as Colifast CALM™, for measuring faecal contaminant in raw water, recreational water, environmental waterand wastewater. Colifast also delivers the Colifast Field Kit™, a portable tool for quickly detecting faecal contamination out in the field.

“Colifast systems play a role in reaching many of the UN Sustainable Development Goals, with a special focus on Goal 6 which addresses water, hygiene and sanitation and water reuse,” she concludes.

Colifast CALM scientists testing water samples

Additional Colifast solutions

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Strandveien 33, 1366 LYSAKER, Norway


Helene Stenersen

Managing Director

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