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Available Projects: 60

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BQ

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Achieving zero harm from plastics via water industry operations and activities Phase 1

Aim: to develop the research challenges that need to be addressed to tackle the issue of plastics in the terrestrial water cycle. The research challenges will later be used by UKWIR to generate calls, ideally including short (1-2 years), medium (2-3 years) and longer term (3-5 years).
- Preparatory work: providing the sector information required and including input from the water/waste supply chains. Information gathered through this process will inform the delivery of the workshop, the nature of the workshop questions discussed, and the material will later be used by UKWIR in developing the research roadmap.
- Workshop: A facilitated workshop through which to test assumptions, identify and rank research challenges.
- Workshop follow-up: develop outputs and report to UKWIR. Primarily the research challenges.



Project Status
Project Commenced

UKWIR Reference
WW1226

Project End Date
Awaiting

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Antimicrobial Resistance (AMR)

  1. The primary aim is to gain an understanding of the effect of various wastewater and bio-solids treatment options on AMR activity.

  2. The secondary aim is to determine what indicator methods and analytical techniques are most appropriate to use to determine the risk from resistant organisms and AMR material in wastewater, bio-solids and in the receiving environments, including river water used for potable water supply. We need to understand if the risk is best described by specific measures (bacteria, ARG) or if there are appropriate indicators that can be used as effective surrogates.

  3. It is also important for the water industry to understand the drivers that promote increased resistance in both our works and in the environment. Is the principal source of AMR in wastewater domestic inputs, or are there alternative/specific AMR sources and, if so, can we better target AMR reduction at source? Are the concentrations of antibiotic residues, and other contaminants such as heavy metals, typically found in sewage effluent and biosolids sufficient to exacerbate the spread of resistance? What is the relevance of the differing types of receiving environment into which wastewater effluent is released in terms of potential risk?



Project Status
Project Commenced

UKWIR Reference
15

Project End Date
Awaiting

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Assessing the effectiveness of the regulatory framework



Project Status
Project Commenced

UKWIR Reference
AM863

Project End Date
Awaiting

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Best Practice for Sediment Management for Reservoirs and River Impoundments

Presently, there is a range of sediment management obligations across the UK. In England & Wales, at least one company has formal obligations to produce sediment management plans at some of their sites and have carried out isolated sediment restoration trials, whilst in Scotland & other E&W regions, it is thought that requirements and implementation are less advanced. Identification of current practice in comparison with best practice is therefore needed to ensure compliance presently and for future obligations. Less is known about the requirements of sediment management as a mitigation measure for assessment of ecological potential of HMWB. This is an emerging issue where water companies will have formal drivers to investigate and implement sediment management; clarity on cost-effective best practice implementation is required.

Objectives

To aid development of a clear understanding of the practical means of meeting the requirements of sediment management and achieving best practice, the following would be of benefit:

it is expected that the project will involve

Discussions with environmental regulators regarding practices and consideration of sediment management practices at impoundments and for HMWB mitigation (including flow releases).

A review of current practice across the Water Industry including development of sediment management plans and any existing trials sites

Comparison and clarification of current UK Good Practice Guidance and regulatory requirements to determine if there is sufficient information to guide sediment management and whether any additional factors may need to be taken into account in practice and to ensure it can be adopted at different impoundment types and locations.

A trial project at one or more sites to include a smaller weir and larger dam, to assess removal and reintroduction of sediment in practice, following the best practice principles in the guidelines, authorisation conditions and recommendations from review work above.

An estimation of sediment management costs to identify cost effective options of implementation



Project Status
Project Commenced

UKWIR Reference
DW/04

Project End Date
01/02/2021

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BQ - Achieving 100% compliance with drinking water standards at point of use by 2050? Protecting water quality in the home (domestic fixtures & fittings)

To understand the potential contribution from customers’ fixtures and fittings to the risk of lead, nickel and chromium concentrations failing drinking water standards, with a particular focus on lead.

Problem
We currently know the concentrations of lead, nickel and chromium typically detected at the customers’ tap. This water has travelled through the communication pipes, supply pipes and associated fittings. However, we do not have an understanding of the relative contributions of pipework and fittings within the customers’ property.

Impact
Lead has been identified as a cumulative neurotoxin with no discernible no-effect threshold and we therefore seek ways to reduce levels further. The industry is now driving for compliance at a lower standard - 10µg/l, and discussions around revisions around the Drinking Water Directive indicate an even lower 5µg/l standard in the future.

There is an increased risk, therefore, of failing the drinking water standards due to customers’ fixtures and fittings. There is also an unknown risk associated with lead compliance if the water industry stops phosphate dosing. This situation would occur when all lead pipes within water company ownership have been replaced.

Project
This project forms the second project that looks at lead within UKWIR’s Big Question ‘How do we achieve 100% compliance with drinking water standards by 2050?’.

The project will build on previous UKWIR research into lead, such as project DW/15/04/16: Brass fittings as a source of lead & nickel in drinking water – long term leaching studies. What is different about this project is that it will look at fixtures and fittings, along with water quality, in a non-controlled environment, in customers’ properties. This project will help us understand the prevalence and relative contribution of lead.

As this project surveys and samples customers’ property it will be vital to get the UK and Ireland Public Health Bodies involved.