After taking part in volunteer work with the Don Catchment River Trust during his Hallam University Enterprise Year, Oscar Keenan became acutely aware of water pollution issues and the slow, laborious access to testing. Recognition of the huge upward trend in all forms of outdoor water sport activities, and national concern about sewage pollution in our rivers, lakes and reservoirs, led to the inspiration for Newt.
Newt utilises emerging colorimetric detection technologies developed for the food and drinking water industries, using UV light to highlight fluorescence, created when a reagent is added to a sample of water containing bacteria.
Newt creates a fully internalised testing device for the two main harmful Coliform bacteria. This significantly reduces the need to collect potentially harmful water samples to test manually on the bankside, or send off to a lab, and radically speeds up the testing process from up to 48 hours to just five minutes.
Early detection of contamination can save many millions of pounds for every day left undetected, as well as prevent serious illness and damage to the environment.
Newt is stylish, user friendly and portable. It comes with a combination of accessories to enable testing in a variety of situations. This includes a multi-function mount that attaches to a rod, bolts to a drone boat or canoe, straps to fishing wader, swimming tow float or many other options to make it as easy as possible to different users.
The ultimate aim of Newt is to create a citizen science community of both public and professional users, sharing data collected via myNewt, a map-based app. myNewt guides the user through the process, schedules tests, displays test results and shares informationuseful for sourcing ‘clean’ water spots and lobbying the authorities to take action.