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SYMBIO – protecting water intakes against sudden contamination

Basic information

SYMBIO Biomonitoring System is the only fully automatized and maintenance-free system of on-line water monitoring available on the market. It increases water safety in water toxicity terms.

The idea of bioindication
Bioindication is a method which applies living organisms to detect environmental contaminants. The idea has been known from the dawn of history – ancient Romans used trout to control water quality. Miners kept canaries in coal mines, which provided information about the quality of air underground.
Although bioindicators did not deliver information on the type or the intensity ofexposure, their unusual behavior provided general informationabout water or air contamination.

General information
In our system we incorporated the fresh water mussel – Unio tumidus, whose natural reaction to sudden changes of environment parameters is shell closing. This reaction is fast and unambiguous – a group of mussels close their shells. What is more, the mussels live a sedentary lifestyle, which makes it easy to monitor them.

We monitor the water for 8 milion people

Map of SYMBIO Biomonitoring System installations

How the system works

SYMBIO Biomonitoring System is used for a continuous control of water quality at water intakes.

The system uses fresh water mussels whose natural reaction to sudden changes of environment parameters is shell closing. The methods incorporating living organisms to provide information on the quality of the environment around them are called bioindication methods, and the organisms are called bioindicators.
Mussels used in SYMBIO Biomonitoring System (Unio tumidus –our native species) meet all the requirements for bioindicators: their reaction to sudden changes of the environment quality (shell closing) is fast, unambiguous, and easy to observe and record. What is more, their living conditions and lifestyle enable us to continuously monitor their behavior in laboratory conditions. Mussels’ reaction does not provide information on the type or concentration of pollutants, but their sudden shell closing indicates changes in the environment – changes in water parameters – which they consider as harmful and dangerous.
In case of sudden chemical contamination of water the system will generate an alarm signaled:
  • on computer screen
  • through loudspeakers
  • by a signaling lamp
Thanks to connecting SYMBIO to the Internet, the information about the alarm can be sent to chosen e-mail or cell phone.

System structure

Eight specimens of the mussel are placed in the SYMBIO flow-through tank. The tank is made of stainless steel, and  constructed in such a way that it eliminates or minimizes the influence of possible physical factors that could affect mussels’ activity. The tank provides protection from direct sunlight influence, isolation from noise, it also absorbs shocks to a certain degree.  Each mussel placed in the tank is equipped with a probe that cooperates with a magnetstuck to the mussel’s shell. The probes record the degree of mussels’ openness.

The controller is integrated with the tank. Its role is to process the data and send it to the computer, as well as generate alarms in case of computer or software breakdown.

Computer – software
The role of computer software is to visualize and file data and provide reports. It enables evaluation of current system operationand keeping track of mussels’ activity in the past. Line graphs illustrate the current degree of each mussel’s openness (water sampling is carried out every second). Line graphs illustrate mussels’ activity in the past, and bar graphs present the current degree of mussels’ openness.
  • linear chart

  • bar chart

System operation

SYMBIO Biomonitoring System is maintenance-free. The only thing that the User has to do is to react during alarms which are signaled acoustically and optically. The role of the system is to generate an alarm signal in case of incidental water contamination. The system is thus a perfect complement to periodic water analyses in a laboratory. The method makes it possible to detect a sudden change in water quality which has been caused by a toxic substance occurring in water. As the system manufacturer, PROTE designed the system as functional, dependable and low-cost in usage. The mussels used in the system are replaced with a new set every three months in order to guarantee proper sensitivity of bioindicators and to keep the system maintenance-free during this period of time. These works are performed by PROTE, as part of our service. The supplier’s experience in cooperation with Polish Water Distribution Plants enabled SYMBIO system’s adaptation to real working conditions, and makes it possible to meet high requirements towards modern protection systems.

Routine maintenance necessary for the SYMBIO Biomonitoring System’s proper and dependable work, such as collecting biological material, its transport and acclimatization, as well as servicing the system (installing mussels, cleaning the tank, etc.) is part of PROTE’s activity.

Attestations, certificates and awards

Articles about SYMBIO

SYMBIO Biomonitoring System offered by PROTE has become very popular in the media and has been widely used for marketing purposes. Maintaining its basic function – monitoring water intakes –the system improves the Company’s image at the same time.

Below you will find articles about SYMBIO:

  • EXPEREESS 20.11.2010 "Ryby, małże, a teraz bakterie dbają o łódzką kranówkę",
  •  ŹRÓDEŁKO issue 70 January-March 2009 "Nowy Biomonitoring na Straszynie - Małże na etacie",
  • Gazeta Wyborcza 05.07.2008 "Małże na straży czystości wody",
  • Вода России, May 2008, issue 5 (196) "Двустворчатые моллюски будут контролировать качество питьевой воды для екатеринбуржцев" - „Małże będą kontrolować jakość wody pitnej dla mieszkańców Jekaterinburga",
  • EKOLOGIA Specjalistyczne pismo branży ekologicznej issue 4/41/2007 "Kontrola i poprawa jakości wody do picia",
  •  WODOCIĄGI I KANALIZACJA Miesięcznik Ogólnopolski issue 5/27/2006 "Skuteczne rozwiązania dla Przedsiębiorstw Wodociągowych - preparat fosforanowy SeaQuest oraz System Biomonitoringu SYMBIO",
  • POLSKI INSTALATOR September 2003 "Biologiczna kontrola jakości wody – system biomonitoringu SYMBIO".

Materials for download

SYMBIO broszura EN.pdf


1.98 MB | Download
Symbio EN.pdf

Information sheet

851 KB | Download
SYMBIO -questionnaire.pdf

Contact form

214 KB | Download
SYMBIO -questionnaire.docx.SYMBIO -questionnaire.docx

Contact form

18 KB | Download

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PROTE Technologies for our Environment reserves the right to change the data and information on the website at any time, without prior informing of the users of this website.



HUBERT Białous

tel. +48 61 654 55 95
mob. +48 604 250 548



tel. +48 61 654 55 89
mob. +48 600 434 614


ROBERT Raczyński

tel. +48 61 654 55 96
mob. +48 532 798 721


DOMINIK Kowalczyk

tel. +48 61 654 55 70
mob.+48 532 725 714


JAKUB Lenartowski

tel. +48 61 654 55 94
mob. +48 882 354 143


Emergency Ecological Service 24h
To counteract the growing natural environmental hazards and to help protect the environment we offer you a 24 hour Emergency Ecological Service.
26 Franciszek Firlik str.
60-692 Poznan
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