new field device concurrently analyzes multiple water samples

EPA engineer patents mobile water sampling device

Earlier this year, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) engineer David Wahman received a patent for the Sample Device for Mobile Water Analysis.

Existing handheld field devices can analyze multiple water quality measurements, or analyte concentrations, simultaneously, but they cannot analyze multiple water samples simultaneously.

The device attaches to an existing mobile water analysis device; the “cup with dividing walls allows users to analyze up to four water samples at once.”

For example, users can now simultaneously quantify chlorine in four water samples.

Users can take real-time readings on site. The easy-to-use device avoids time delays and potential inaccuracies incurred with erroneous sample preparation, transport, or mishandling.

Created with a 3D printer, the attachment was Wahman’s solution to a “real-world sampling gap problem” facing an EPA team at a water treatment plant, where it was measuring free chlorine from parallel filters.

Wahman was inspired to “cut down the waiting time between samples” when the team wanted to analyze a “single analyte (among) multiple samples”.

In prototype testing, the Sample Device reduced analysis time from 20 minutes to 5 minutes.

Cutting-edge technologies regularly invented during the work of EPA researchers are available for companies to bring to market through licensing with the federal agency. Additionally, EPA can also partner on collaborative research with companies, universities, and other outside parties on cooperative research and development agreements, or CRADAs.