Let's talk about water

Whetting appetites for Bath's water research

Tagged: Water Colloquium

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

  , , ,

📥  Other, Water Resources

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.

(more…)

 

A medium term 'crisis' in water? Might Brexit be the answer?

  , , , , ,

📥  WIRC @ Bath

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: A medium term 'crisis' in water? Might Brexit be the answer?

Speaker: Dr Martin HurstMartin Hurst photo

When: Thursday 4th May 2017 at 1.15pm

Where: Room 3.6, Chancellors' Building, University of Bath (Location and maps)

Abstract: The water industry has enjoyed 15 years of static prices, while profits have been maintained and by and large improvements in service have continued.

But this may be coming to an end. A recent peer reviewed study by Atkins and others for Water UK showed that the likelihood of future droughts was markedly greater than had previously thought. There has been systematically underinvestment in asset maintenance. Catchments are under increasing ecological pressure. Population growth, new development and climate change are ever present. And the financial backdrop to the last 15 years’ price falls is coming to an end.

If this combination of factors is not to lead to a perfect storm of rising bills, falling service and increasing ecological damage we need a paradigm shift. Whatever the pros and cons of Brexit more widely, an ability to think afresh about environmental legislation – moving from process to outcome based regulation - coupled with the need to rethink agricultural support may provide an important opportunity for water.

The resultant new approach to catchment management could involve a genuine partnership between land managers, water companies and flood defence agencies with benefits for water availability, environmental quality and flood defences. All with potentially reduced water bills.

There seem to be two ways of achieving this: evolutionary change, or a move to a ‘system operator/natural capital trading’ approach. Neither are without their risks. Both require a degree of cross sectoral and multiple benefits thinking which has not proved easy to achieve in the UK to date.

(more…)

 

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

  , , , , , , , , ,

📥  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.

 

Assessing the element of surprise of record-breaking flood events

  , , , ,

📥  Water, Environment and Infrastructure Resilience, WIRC @ Bath

This month WIRC @ Bath is exploring the breadth of water research being undertaken at the University of Bath.

Title: Assessing the element of surprise of record-breaking flood events

Speaker: Dr Thomas Kjeldsen

28896 Dr Thomas Kjeldsen. Dept of Architecture and Civil Engineering. Faculty of Engineering Staff Portraits 3 Feb 2016. Client: Beth Jones - Faculty of Engineering

When: Thursday 15 December 2016 at 1.15pm

Where: Room 3.6, Chancellors' Building, University of Bath

Abstract: The occurrence of record-breaking flood events continuous to cause damage and disruption despite significant investments in flood defences, suggesting that these events are in some sense surprising.  This study develops a new statistical test to help assess if a flood event can be considered surprising or not.  The test statistic is derived from annual maximum series (AMS) of extreme events, and Monte Carlo simulations were used to derive critical values for a range of significance levels based on a Generalized Logistic distribution.  The method is tested on a national dataset of past events from the United Kingdom, and is found to correctly identify recent large event that have been identified elsewhere as causing a significant change in UK flood management policy.  No temporal trend in the frequency or magnitude of surprising events was identified, and no link could be established between the occurrences of surprising events and large-scale drivers.

 

Predicting future change in water flows and quality in urbanising catchments

  , , ,

📥  Other

We are very happy to be able to invite Dr Michael Hutchins from the Centre for Ecology & Hydrology (CEH) to host the first Department of Architecture & Civil Engineering (ACE) Seminar and WIRC Colloquium on Thursday 17th November 2016. Mike will discuss "Predicting future change in water flows and quality in urbanising catchments".

Mike is a Senior Water Quality Modeller at Centre for Ecology and Hydrology (Wallingford). His research has focused mainly on two areas, diffuse pollution and in-river processes, and understanding their effects in large river basins. He studies phytoplankton and dissolved oxygen dynamics using river quality models. The majority of his research is focused towards providing support to policies implementing legislation under the Water Framework Directive. More recently he has been leading a NERC Changing Water Cycle project “Changes in urbanisation and its effects on water quantity and quality from local to regional scale” (POLL-CURB).

Despite substantial improvements in the recent past brought about by investment in treatment of sewage and industrial wastes, and various incentives and regulations to reduce diffuse pollution, water resources in the UK are facing considerable future pressures. For example, previous modelling work in the River Thames suggests incidence of “undesirable” water quality will become more frequent in the future. Furthermore, these predictions were made without considering the impact of population growth. Here, we present a combination of approaches to evaluate impacts of urbanisation on water resources in the 9948 km2 Thames basin. Empirical analysis of two years of monitoring data in intensely monitored sub-catchments reveal the degree to which spatial variability of hydrological and water quality response can be explained by indices of impervious area. Statistical detection and attribution techniques are used to assess long-term river data, and these highlight strong signals of urban growth after climate variability is accounted for. High-resolution continuous monitoring puts the extreme periods of storm conditions in winter 2013-14 in the context of annual cycles of water quality. We illustrate how the high-resolution monitoring programme is used to simulate river hydrochemistry, and in particular to indicate how far downstream of urban areas the influence of those areas persist. At the basin scale, analysis of satellite imagery reveals landuse changes since the mid-1980s, signals used to train cellular automata models which then are employed for predictive purposes under different scenarios of urban development. We show how parametrically-parsimonious models of hydrology, sediment delivery and water quality are driven by the future landuse data to refine the existing predictions of future change in water resources across the whole Thames basin.

For more information, please contact Dr Danielle Wain.

 

The Value of Global Sensitivity Analysis for Diagnostic Evaluation and Uncertainty Quantification in Environmental Modelling

  , ,

📥  Other

Come and join us for the next WIRC Colloquium on 15th September 2016 by Professor Thorsten Wagener, University of Bristol.

Thorsten Wagener

When
Thursday 15 September 2016 at 1.15pm

Where
Room 8 West 2.5, University of Bath

Abstract
Computer models are a cornerstone of scientific exploration and practical decision-making in engineering, environmental science, ecology and earth systems modelling. Our group develops tools, theory and guidance for the use of Global Sensitivity Analysis (GSA) to analyse such computer models. I will present examples of how GSA can be used for (1) the diagnostic evaluation of hydrological models – how can we improve our model structures? (2) For understanding future landslide risk – how can we provide useful guidance for decision makers in the presence of unknown uncertainties? And (3) for quantifying the space-time varying uncertainty in flood inundation modelling – how can we understand the complex interactions of different sources of uncertainty? These examples highlight the variety of uses for GSA in the context of building and using models across a wide range of application areas.

The examples shown have been implemented using the SAFE Toolbox that integrates key GSA methods in a single environment. Free Matlab and R versions of the SAFE Toolbox for Global Sensitivity Analysis are available.

Co-authors: Francesca Pianosi, Fanny Sarrazin, Susana Almeida, Liz Holcombe

 

Bioprocesses, biopolymers and biosensors: delivering new solutions to environmental problems through and understanding of microbial systems

  , , , ,

📥  Water, Environment and Infrastructure Resilience, WIRC @ Bath

By Dr Thomas Seviour, MIChemE CEng, SCELCE, NTU (Singapore)

thomas_seviour

When: Thursday 23th June at 1.15pm
Where: Room 2.01, Building 1 West, University of Bath

Abstract: Cells mediate interactions with the environment through their membranes and extracellular matrices, which comprise a range of biopolymers that facilitate key extracellular processes. These interfaces can be exploited to increase stability, yield and throughput in Bioprocesses, particularly in areas of waste treatment and biofuel production. The Biopolymers that make up the matrix are themselves very valuable and renewable resources. Agents to monitor extracellular processes present as attractive Biosensors for a range of biofilm-mediated maladies. This seminar will discuss how an understanding of microbial systems can be used to deliver new solutions to a range of complex environmental problems, by increasing yield and stability of Bioprocesses, promoting the solubilisation and recovery of Biopolymers, and developing Biosensors for use in diagnostics.

Biography: Dr Thomas Seviour is a Senior Research Fellow at the Singapore Centre for Environmental Life Sciences Engineering at the Nanyang Technological University. He worked previously as a wastewater process engineer and engineering consultant, but has since changed tact and now applies himself to elucidating the biological chemistry of microbial systems, with a particular focus on biointerfaces such as the the exopolymeric matrix. He remains motivated by a desire to translate this knowledge to real world solutions for a range of various environmental problems.

 

AI-Based Detection and Location of Events in Smart Water Networks

  , , , ,

📥  Other

Professor Zolan Kapelan from the University of Exeter will deliver a presentation on "AI-Based Detection and Location of Events in Smart Water Networks" at the next WIRC Colloquium.

Water leakage is a major issue in water supply and distribution systems in the UK and worldwide. In the UK alone, approximately 20% of the water that enters distribution systems is lost. This talk focuses on the presentation of a specific new technology that enables detection and location of pipe burst/leaks and other events (such as equipment failures) by analysing pressure and flow sensor data coming from the pipe network. The new technology makes use of several Artificial Intelligence based data analytics which are able to extract useful information from large quantities of observed data, raise suitable alarms and locate events in near real-time. Elements of this technology were built recently into the Event Recognition System, a commercial system that is now used companywide in one of the largest UK water utilities. The talk will conclude with a brief overview of other smart water technologies currently developed by the speaker.

More information can be found on WIRC events page.

 

Water Quality Monitoring and Electricity from Wastewaters with Microbial Fuel Cells

  , , , ,

📥  WIRC @ Bath

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.

Title: Water Quality Monitoring and Electricity from Wastewaters with Microbial Fuel Cells

Speaker: Dr Mirella Di Lorenzo

mirella-di-lorenzo3

When: Tuesday 10th May 2016 at 5.15pm

Where: Room 3.7, Building 3 West, University of Bath (Location and maps)

Abstract: Microbial fuel cells (MFCs) are devices that, by taking advances of metabolic pathways in microorganisms, directly convert the chemical energy of organic compounds into electricity. In recent years, MFCs have raised great attention as sustainable and clean energy-conversion technology capable of utilising a wide range of organic fuels, including wastewater from industrial, agricultural and domestic sources.

(more…)

 

Reactor development for water treatment

  , , , , , , ,

📥  Water Treatment, 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: Reactor development for water treatment: From macro to micro scale using bacterial cells, photocatalysis and enzymes

Speaker: Dr Emma Emanuelsson

patterson-emma-resize

When: Thursday 28th April 2016 at 1.15pm

Where: Room 4.10, Chancellors' Building, University of Bath (Location and maps)

Abstract: Many industries generate wastewaters that are not suitable for conventional biological wastewater treatment. This could be due to the presence of ‘hard to degrade’ compounds such as pesticides, chlorinated and volatile organic compounds or high concentration of detergents or fats. Other contaminants, such as salts, acids, alkali and metals, may also be toxic to the microorganisms and thus jeopardise the treatment. These wastewaters must therefore be treated before they can be sent to a wastewater treatment plant. The interesting challenge is that there is no ‘standardised approach’, instead a variety of strategies are required to deal with these various contaminants.

(more…)