WANDER Nordic Water and Materials Institute

Quality of drinking water

Research in WANDER is focused on drinking water and the interactions between drinking water and materials in drinking water distribution networks.

Our research services include:

  • Consulting, lobbying and educational services concerning product approval and standards
  • Risk analysis services
  • Customized research and research services
  • Information service on research done within the drinking water area
  • Unique drinking water Living Lab research environment in Sytytin Technology Centre in Rauma, Finland

We manage high quality scientific research which is invariably based on interdisciplinary know-how, management of the latest scientific research data as well as excellent knowledge on the research area (e.g. interaction phenomena, microbiology, quality of water, risk management, product standardization and acceptance procedures).

Research drinking water distribution network

Sytytin is in 2011 built technology and innovation centre situated in Rauma, Finland. The water distribution network of the building is uniquely designed for full-scale research purposes according to the Living Lab theme. The distribution network consists of copper and PEX pipe lines for both hot and cold drinking water. In addition, in the basement level there is a short pipe line of multilayer pipe for cold drinking water.

Thus, the research drinking water distribution network being simultaneously the normal drinking water network of the building is the base of a significant part of research done in WANDER. The city of Rauma has financially supported the construction of the distribution network which is utilized by WANDER.

In the spring 2012, an additional pilot scale water distribution network was constructed in WANDER's laboratory within Sytytin Technology Centre.

Sytytin Technology Centre obtains its drinking water from the Rauman Vesi, the municipal waterworks, whose raw water is surface water. Water is chemically purified with a process including sedimentation, flotation, and disinfection.


With the research drinking water distribution network the aim is to study the interaction phenomena between drinking water and materials to ensure the safety of the water systems in the future and to extend the service life of the components. Water samples are used to determine the quality of cold and hot water (physical, chemical, and microbiological properties), pipe collectors are used to study the surface reactions of the pipe and fitting materials as well as biofilm formation.

In addition, the research distribution network provides a unique environment to study e.g. measuring techniques utilizing online and remote technology and to test appropriate products in a real Living Lab environment. 

Distribution Network

The research water distribution network has been planned and installed according to the current legislation and protocols in Finland. Additional to normal network is a research complex consisting of pipe collectors, sampling faucets and water meters with remote and continuous reading. WANDER participated actively in planning and construction between September 2009 and March 2011. The water distribution network was planned by Elomatic Ltd. and the pipe collectors by Savonia University of Applied Sciences. Construction of the pipe collectors, as well as installation and commission of the whole network was done by YIT Ltd. The research water distribution network has been in use since April 4th 2011.

Pilot scale water distribution network


In its own laboratory, WANDER has constructed a pilot scale water distribution network. This pilot network is separate and completely isolated from the building’s full scale water distribution network, which enables for example planned contamination experiments and research on how different water qualities affect network materials. The full scale water distribution network is operated according to the Living Lab principles i.e. the quality of water is not altered in any way. A comprehensive and detailed view on the behaviour of real estate water systems is formed when the research results from these two networks, the pilot scale and the full scale, will be combined and compared.

Technical structure:

  • Separate system, isolated from the full scale distribution network
  • 4 pcs copper pipe lines and 4 pcs PEX pipe lines (same pipe size than in the full scale system)
  • Brass fittings and valves
  • Every line includes its own water meter, a pipe collector unit with 5 pipe collectors, and sampling faucets
  • Programmed stagnation and flow periods
  • Technical possibility to change water quality or contaminate water, as well as attaching various monitoring devices
  • Water treatment device (Bauer Watertechnology Ltd.) in one Cu and one PEX line

Development of new sensor technology - ModWat

Nordic Water and Materials Institute (WANDER), together with ColloidTek Ltd. and Tampere University, is developing a method for detecting changes in water supply network quickly and economically.

The sensor and measuring technology enables monitoring the quality of liquids in real time, even outside a container, or a water pipe. The basis of the technology is measuring changes in a MHz-range radio wave pulse, and utilizing machine learning to determine those changes and the cause of the changes accurately and quickly.

The development project is funded by the Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry of Finland, and the aim is to research and develop a cost-effective method to control the quality of tap water and minimize the related risks with sensors that are attached to the water supply network. These sensors can detect problems and undesirable changes in the quality of the water right after it has been contaminated.

This information is sent to the personnel in responsible of the water supply in real time, and they can react and minimize the harmful consequences.

The idea is that the sensor works as an alarm device when the quantity of a chemical, solid particles or microbes increases. Measuring in real time supports with controlling the risk factors related to water quality, and at the same time increases understanding of the functionality of the water processing.