Long-term evaluation of a spectral sensor for nitrite and nitrate

Water Sci Technol. 2008;57(10):1563-9. doi: 10.2166/wst.2008.146.


A spectral in-situ UV sensor was investigated to measure nitrite and nitrate concentrations in the effluent of the EAWAG pilot-scale plant. The sensor was used with a calibration that was based on data from another WWTP and was operated over a period of 1.5 years. The results showed constant accuracy although the sensor was operated with minimal maintenance (manual cleaning once a month). It could be shown that the sensor was able to accurately predict the nitrite and nitrate concentration with a precision of 0.32 mg N/l (95% prediction interval at mean lab value of 1.15 mg N/l) and 1.08 mg N/l (at 5.55 mg N/l) for nitrite and nitrate, respectively. The UV sensor showed good results for nitrite in the low concentration range and very accurate results for higher concentrations (up to 10 mg N/l). This allows using the sensor for alarm systems as well as for control concepts at WWTPs.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study

MeSH terms

  • Calibration
  • Environmental Monitoring / methods*
  • Nitrates / analysis*
  • Nitrites / analysis*
  • Reproducibility of Results
  • Spectrophotometry, Ultraviolet / methods*
  • Ultraviolet Rays
  • Waste Disposal, Fluid / instrumentation*
  • Waste Disposal, Fluid / methods
  • Water Pollutants, Chemical / analysis*


  • Nitrates
  • Nitrites
  • Water Pollutants, Chemical