If left undetected in water supplies, Legionella can grow to dangerous levels and cause the respiratory infection Legionnaires' disease.
SAS Water, based in Leek, is an industry leader in Legionella control with more than 30 years' experience of working with clients across private and public sectors including factories, councils, nursing homes, housing associations, hotels, spas and leisure centres.
Now, the company has teamed up with Staffordshire University on a project which aims to transform the market for water safety.
Lizzie Ward, Managing Director of SAS Water, explained: “Each year, hundreds of Legionella outbreaks are discovered across the UK and can result in serious illness and death. Businesses have a legal obligation to understand and minimise the risk of Legionella and we provide a range of services to help them do this.
“We had an idea for a new product but didn’t have the technical know-how to bring it to life. So, working with Staffordshire University seemed liked a fantastic opportunity.”
Legionella risk is usually monitored through temperature checks and regular flushing of water systems. To improve accuracy and save resources, SAS Water is developing a sensor-based solution to automatically monitor water for the bacteria, using low powered, cutting-edge sensor technologies and a cloud-based management system.
SAS Water has accessed a range of funded support through Staffordshire University’s Innovation Enterprise Zone including the use of state-of-the-art facilities, dedicated academic advisors and a graduate intern. After developing the product concept and a prototype, the company has entered a two-year Knowledge Transfer Partnership (KTP) with Staffordshire University to bring the product to market.
Philip O’Neil, Employer Partnership Development Manager at Staffordshire University, said: “SAS Water is a brilliant, forward-thinking company and this is the perfect example of knowledge transfer. You have a business with an idea for a project but lacking the internal expertise to deliver it. We have incredible knowledge within our academic teams. It's a fantastic way of driving businesses forward.
“We're very pleased to be working with SAS Water on this product which will not only benefit the business but will have a positive impact on society as a whole.”
SMEs, large businesses, charities and public sector organisations are eligible to apply for a KTP with Staffordshire University and between 50 to 75% of project costs will be covered by government funding.
Lizzie added: “We wouldn’t have been able to do this without the support and technical knowledge of the academics and our KTP associate, Preetam, who is now an amazing member of our team.
“Staffordshire University has played an important role in developing this product which will help our business to stay ahead in Legionella prevention and ultimately protect people from this life-threatening disease.”
Businesses interested in a Knowledge Transfer Partnership or other business innovation support at Staffordshire University can contact Philip O’Neil, Partnership Development Manager, via Philip.firstname.lastname@example.org.