Potakit+ Portable Water Quality Laboratory

The second in our series about Wagtech kits. Today we focus on the Potakit+ which enables users to ensure that water supplies are suitable for longer-term use. In addition, they are used in development situations and to increase local water-provision capacity.

The Potakit+ Portable Water Quality Laboratory builds on the capabilities of the Potatest+ kit.It includes the same components for testing indicator bacteria for faecal contamination, and simple tests for turbidity, pH and chlorine. Further to this, the Potakit contains simple visual tests for a number of common and key chemical contaminants.

Health effects of chemical contaminants

The Potakit includes tests for ammonia, nitrate, nitrite, fluoride and arsenic (and chlorine for disinfection monitoring). These contaminants are commonly present in well and surface water, either naturally occurring or from anthropogenic sources, and long-term exposure can result in serious health problems. For example:

  • Arsenic – occurs naturally due to geologic conditions (in Bangladesh, Nepal, and many other areas). Long-term exposure to arsenic via drinking water can lead to skin problems, circulatory diseases and skin, bladder, kidney and lung cancers.
  • Fluoride – occurs naturally in fluoride belts at the foot of high mountains. Causes fluorosis which causes tooth defects in children (dental fluorosis) and stiffness and pain in the joints (skeletal fluorosis)
  • Nitrate – occurs in water chiefly as a consequence of fertiliser use. Causes defects in haemoglobin production especially in children (methaemoglobinaemia or ‘blue baby syndrome’), and can also have carcinogenic effects and cause birth defects.
Contour Comparator, Compact and simple DPD visual testing device.

Visual testing for chemical contaminants in water

The Potakit+ uses two different visual methods of testing for chemical contaminants. The first is the Contour Comparator method, where a tablet reagent is added to the water sample and generates a colour response.

This colour can be related to the amount of the chemical present. For example, the nitrate test gives a range of red colours, with darker red colours indicating that more nitrate is present.

The sample is analysed by comparing the colour to a colour-wheel, which is made of calibrated colour petals. Finding the closest match gives the result of the test. This method of testing was pioneered by Palintest founder Dr Tom Palin in the 1940s and 1950s and gives excellent accuracy in the field.

The Potakit+ also contains a VCDK arsenic testing kit. This uses the Gutzeit method to convert total arsenic in the sample to arsine gas, which then reacts with an indicator paper to give a colour which is matched to a comparison chart to give a result.

The Potakit enables users to ensure that water supplies are suitable for longer-term use by populations, and are used in development situations and to increase local water-provision capacity.

For more information, visit the product page or contact a member of our team.

Combining Forces: Palintest & Wagtech
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Wagtech™ Potakit, a combination of visual and digital tests
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