Let's talk about water

Whetting appetites for Bath's water research

Topic: Water supply from source to tap

Test to prevent crippling fluorosis

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📥  Water supply from source to tap

A research team at the University of Bath’s Centre for Sustainable Chemical Technologies, and the Water Innovation and Research Centre (WIRC), led by Simon Lewis, has developed a simple colour-changing test that detects high levels of fluoride quickly and selectively. The test changes from purple to blue when the levels of fluoride in the water are too high. Whilst the test is at the proof of concept stage, the team aims to develop it into a disposable test strip that is low cost and easy to use by anyone.

The Bath researchers are partnering with the Nasio Trust, a charity that works to protect and support vulnerable children in East Africa, to develop their system for ease of use in the field.

The team is now looking for additional partners to take the technology forward and help develop the test. They are also working towards adapting the technology to other types of notorious water contaminants of global concern, including mercury, lead and cadmium.

The core project team consists of Carlos López-Alled, Simon Lewis, Jannis Wenk and Tony James.

Read the full news article about the test.

 

 

 

Improving the drinking water situation in Mexico

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📥  Water supply from source to tap

The following post was contributed by Dr. Jannis Wenk, a Lecturer in Water Science and Engineering in the Department of Chemical Engineering.


From Friday September 1st to Thursday September 7th 2017 a delegation from WIRC @ Bath consisting of Dr Mirella Di Lorenzo, Dr Jannis Wenk and research assistant Claire Edward-Collins travelled to Mexico to explore the situation of drinking water supply in informal settlements in the peripheral region of Mexico City.

The trip was a central component of MAPwater, a 10-month research project funded by the Royal Academy of Engineering (RAEng), led by Dr Di Lorenzo. During the 6-day stay of the team, meetings were held with local NGOs to gain a better understanding of their activities in the area of water safety and security for supply of underprivileged communities in rural and semi-urban Mexico, as well as to develop further research and education approaches. Together with the NGO Fomento Mexicano, the team visited the rural settlement of Llano Grand in the wider vicinity of Mexico City. The settlement was chosen as a case study area because of the existing issues with water supply and the close contacts of Fomento Mexicano with the community.

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German Water Chemistry Society Meeting

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📥  Water supply from source to tap

The following blog post was contributed by Jannis Wenk, Lecturer in the Department of Chemical Engineering.


The 83rd meeting of the German Water Chemistry Society, with a record attendance of more than 300 participants, was held from 22 – 24 May 2017. This year the meeting took place in Donaueschingen, a town in the Black Forest, where the Danube River begins its 2860 km long south eastern journey towards the Black Sea passing through ten countries.

The annual conference provides a platform for the Central European water chemistry research community and is traditionally well attended by delegates from authorities and water utilities from Germany and neighbouring countries. The conference programme consisted of 26 presentations and 90 posters from the areas of water and waste water treatment, groundwater, drinking water, microbiology and water analysis. Dr Jannis Wenk, Lecturer in Water Science and Engineering in the Department of Chemical Engineering, represented WIRC with a poster that was based on his engagement in the German Water Chemistry Society task group on oxidative water treatment processes.

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Linking chemical-soil interactions to pollutant fate and transport from soil to water

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📥  Water supply from source to tap

This May sees the next talk in the monthly 'Water Colloquium' series organised by WIRC @ Bath exploring the breadth of water research being undertaken at the University of Bath and beyond.

Title: Linking chemical-soil interactions to pollutant fate and transport from soil to water

Speaker: Dr Brian J. Reid, Reader, School of Environmental Sciences, University of East Anglia

When: Thursday 18th May 2017 at 1.15pm

Where: Room 2.1, 6 East, University of Bath (Location and maps)

Abstract: The seminar will begin by introducing the fundamentals of how chemical and physical phenomena underpin soil-pollutants interactions. From this perspective the implications of these interactions for pollutant bioavailability and transport will be developed. I will introduce seminal research relating to the application of cyclodextrins as bioavailability mimetics (and standardisation with the ISO). I will provide insights into the interplay between pollutant exposure, pollutant bioavailability and microbial adaptation. These dynamics govern the opportunities for pollutants to move through the environment and to be degraded. To conclude this half of the seminar, I will outline ongoing research with: a European agrochemical company and a UK water company, with whom, we are developing innovations to mitigate pesticide release into the environment and to evaluate pesticide attenuation-competence across water catchments. The second half of the seminar will consider the opportunities to use carbonaceous materials to alter the bioavailability and fate of chemicals. Here I will introduce experiments that highlight the influence of biochar on: soil properties and soil hydrology, and; the efflux of soil colloids, dissolved organic matter and agrochemicals. I will highlight recent successes in the application of biochars to mitigate pollutant phyto-accumulation and markedly reduce the cancer risks in China’s Cancer Villages.

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The effects of oxygen availability and turbulence on water quality in lakes and reservoirs

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📥  Water supply from source to tap, Water, Environment and Infrastructure Resilience, WIRC @ Bath

This March sees the next talk in the monthly 'Water Colloquium' series organised by WIRC @ Bath exploring the breadth of water research being undertaken at the University of Bath.

Title: The effects of oxygen availability and turbulence on water quality in lakes and reservoirs

Speaker: Dr Lee Bryant

bryant-lee

When: 16 March2017 at 1.15pm

Where:  CB 4.8,University of Bath (Location and maps)

Abstract: Oxygen and mixing conditions in aquatic systems have a significant influence on the biogeochemical cycling of nutrients, metals, and other species at the sediment-water interface; these fluxes often control water quality in lakes and reservoirs. In an effort to counter problems with decreased water quality stemming from anoxic conditions, engineered techniques such as hypolimnetic oxygenation systems are being used more and more prevalently to increase aquatic oxygen concentrations and reduce concentrations of deleterious soluble species. Decreased oxygen levels in oceans are also becoming increasingly problematic due to enhanced anthropogenic effects and global warming. In both freshwater and marine systems, fluxes of oxygen, nutrients, and other chemical species are known to be strongly controlled not only by concentration but also by turbulence such as internal waves; however, hydrodynamics can be highly variable and effects on biogeochemical cycling and corresponding water quality are not currently understood. Based on in-situ microprofiler and aquatic eddy correlation measurements, results will be presented from three process studies focusing on (1) the effects of internal waves (e.g., seiches), (2) bioturbation, and (3) engineered hypolimnetic oxygenation / aeration on sediment-water fluxes of oxygen and manganese in lakes and reservoirs. These studies will be used to highlight the physical and chemical processes controlling biogeochemical cycling and related water quality in aquatic systems.

Contact: Please email Shan Bradley-Cong if you need any further information.

 

Special WIRC PhD Colloquium

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📥  Coastal and ocean engineering, Urban water management, Water supply from source to tap, Water, Environment and Infrastructure Resilience, WIRC @ Bath, WISE CDT

At this special WIRC colloquium, we are exicted to introduce Mr Qiang Chen and Miss Olivia Cooke, both PhD students at the Department of Architecture & Civil Engineering, University of Bath.

When
Thursday 16th February 2017 at 1.15pm

Where
Room 4.8, Chancellor's Building, University of Bath (Location and maps)

Development and application of a novel PIC method to Fluid-structure interactions

Qiang ChenQiang Chen

PhD Research Programme in Civil Engineering, University of Bath

Abstract
With increasing computing power, Computational Fluid Dynamics (CFD) modelling has been considerably developed in many research areas. This work is motivated by developing a hybrid method for numerical modelling of fluid-structure interaction in the coastal and offshore engineering environment. In particular, this is based on the Particle-In-Cell (PIC) method where both particles and grid are utilised. While the particles are used for tracking free surfaces and solving the nonlinear advection term of the Navier-Stokers equations in a Lagrangian manner, the underlying grid is employed for solving the rest non-advection parts in an Eulerian sense. The idea being that the method should have both the flexibility and efficiency from pure Lagrangian methods (based on particles) and Eulerian methods (based on grid), respectively, with a reasonable accuracy.

Biography
Qiang obtained his Master Degree at Dalian University of Technology, China. He is now a PhD student of Dr Jun Zang at the WEIR research unit.

 

Assessment and mitigation of storm runoff loads from an informal settlement (slum)

Olivia CookeOlivia Cooke

PhD Research Programme in Civil Engineering, University of Bath

Abstract
One of the biggest global health problems today is that posed by urban conditions, most significantly in informal settlements. Within informal settlements, the lack of infrastructure including sanitation and sewage facilities can generate serious problems for health and the environment. Stormwater runoff influences these issues and it is necessary to understand the processes and characteristics of runoff to mitigate health risks from it. The aim of this PhD is to develop a scientific theory which determines how stormwater runoff, quality and quantity, is influenced by human and environmental factors, focussing on the case study of the informal settlement Enkanini, located in South Africa.

Biography
Olivia is a PhD Student on the WISE CDT based at the University of Bath in the Department of Architecture and Civil Engineering. She is part of both the Water, Environment and Infrastructure Resilience (WEIR) research group and the Water Innovation and Research Centre (WIRC). Olivia studied Geography under an Open Scholarship at Aberystwyth University and gained a First Class (Honours) BSc. During her third year, Olivia studied for a term at UNIS in Svalbard in the Arctic. Her post-graduate study was a Master of Research in The Science of Natural Hazards at the University of Bristol. Fieldwork included studying the natural hazards in Guatemala, followed by research in Ecuador for her dissertation on volcano risk at Cotopaxi Volcano. Olivia is currently in her second year of her PhD.

Olivia's supervisors are Dr Lee Bryant, Dr Thomas Kjeldsen and Dr Wesaal Khan (Stellenbosch University)

 

Chemistry and Water: Challenges & Solutions in a Changing World

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📥  Waste water collection and treatment, Water supply from source to tap, Water, Environment and Infrastructure Resilience, WIRC @ Bath

We are all aware of the breadth of issues that we face as a planet when it comes to securing sustainable water supplies in the future. Global changes in climate, land use and demographics mean that there will be different pressures on water availability and quality and these have the potential to affect human health and the environment. Whilst some challenges are long-standing, such as ensuring adequate sanitation for all, we also face emerging issues, in the form of new pollutants, such as hormones and pharmaceuticals.

Last year in Leipzig, leading scientists from China, Germany, Japan, the UK and the USA met at the 6th Chemical Sciences in Society Symposium (CS3) to discuss how chemistry could contribute to future global water security. The meeting is part of an ongoing series that brings together leading scientists from these nations, with the support of their national chemical societies and national funding bodies to discuss the role of the chemical sciences in different global challenges.

The discussions from the meeting have been captured in the recently launched white paper Chemistry and Water: Challenges and Solutions in Changing World, which highlights the future research directions, collaborations and policies that are needed to ensure global water needs can be met in the future. The discussion at the meeting encompassed wide range of issues, including the link between water, the environment and human health, the need for ever-evolving detection methods, improved water treatment techniques and the opportunities presented for recovering valuable materials from water.

A number of themes emerged from discussions across all areas, such as the need for chemists to work alongside other disciplines, such as engineering, ecology and epidemiology and the importance of continual international knowledge exchange and collaboration.  The white paper also makes more detailed recommendations for research directions in the different themes of environment and health, detection, treatment and recovery of materials and includes case studies on how water challenges are being tackled in each nation.

 

The Photochemistry of Rivers, Lakes and Engineered Low-Energy Treatment Systems

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📥  Other, Water supply from source to tap, WIRC @ Bath

This April sees the next talk in the monthly 'Water Colloquium' series organised by WIRC @ Bath exploring the breadth of water research being undertaken at the University of Bath.

Title: The Photochemistry of Rivers, Lakes and Engineered Low-Energy Treatment Systems

Speaker: Dr Jannis Wenk

jannis-wenk

When: Tuesday 12th April 2016 at 5.15pm

Where: Room 3.15, Chancellors' Building, University of Bath (Location and maps)

Abstract: The importance of photochemical processes on the fate of aquatic contaminants is widely underestimated. This lecture summarizes highlights of my own studies and discusses them in relation to recent important advancements in the field of environmental photochemistry, with emphasis on reaction mechanisms, monitoring and modelling of photochemical processes in water bodies. Systematic use of natural sunlight for improving water quality in constructed open water systems such as wetlands and stormwater reservoirs will be considered. The presentation is especially addressed to an audience that is unfamiliar with this area of research as I will provide an introduction to the photophysical and photochemical processes that generate a wide range of short-lived reactive species in the upper layer of sunlit surface waters. Along the way I will also explain what the colour of water is.

Contact: Please email Shan Bradley-Cong if you need any further information.

 

Improving water treatment using chemical oxidants

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📥  Water Active, Water supply from source to tap

Dr Jannis Wenk, Lecturer in the Department of Chemical Engineering, explains how research at the Water Innovation and Research Centre at the University of Bath (WIRC @ Bath)  is investigating how chemical oxidants can be used to improve water treatment in the October issue of Water Active.

Water Active is the UK's leading water industry monthly magazine and has the highest number of readers in the water industry. This article continues the monthly series of features by researchers in WIRC @ Bath .

Read the full article written by Dr Jannis Wenk on pages 10 and 12 in the October issue.

 

Electric bugs used to detect water pollution

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📥  Water supply from source to tap

In a new report out today, a team of researchers from our Department of Chemical Engineering have developed a low-cost device that could be used in developing countries to monitor the quality of drinking water in real time without costly lab equipment.

Current methods of detecting pollutants in water are costly, time-consuming and require specialist technical expertise. However, our researchers, in collaboration with Bristol Robotics Laboratory at the University of the West of England, have created a low cost sensor using 3D printing technology that can be used directly in rivers and lakes for continuous water quality monitoring.

The sensor contains bacteria that produce a small measurable electric current as they feed and grow. The researchers found that when the bacteria are disturbed by coming into contact with toxins in the water, the electric current drops, alerting to the presence of pollutants in the water.

Read the full story about this research.