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Available Projects: 46

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UKWIR Reference
WW1226

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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
DW/04

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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.



Project Status
Project Commenced

UKWIR Reference
DW/13

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BQ - Achieving 100% compliance with drinking water standards at point of use by 2050? Taste and Odour: Methods of Detection

To provide the water industry with a quantitative method of measuring Taste and Odour

Problem

The taste & odour (T&O) of water supplied to customers affects their perception of the quality of that water. When Water Companies receive contacts from customers about T&O, it is often difficult to pin down the root cause and to rectify it. We need a better understanding of the causes of T&O and understand what causes the customer to react.

Customer sensitivity to T&O causing compounds varies widely, as it does for those investigating them. The current method of analysing T&O is qualitative and subjective; a taste panel based on a limited number of descriptors. At present, we only have analytical methods for a small proportion of T&O causing compounds.

Impact

Unless T&O can be accurately measured and understood the risk of performance commitment penalties increases. It also leads to reputational impacts and a high number of customer complaints. 

Project

This project forms part of UKWIR’s Big Question ‘How do we achieve 100% compliance with drinking water standards by 2050?’

 The project will improve our understanding of T&O by developing analytical methodologies and exploring the links between the molecular chemistry and the sensing that triggers customer contacts.



Project Status
Project Commenced

UKWIR Reference
DW13S

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BQ - Impact of sand biofilter reactor process conditions on the treatment of micropollutants, pharmaceuticals and personal care products (MPPCPs), with a focus on their stereochemistry and

To apply and develop the knowledge of biodegradation of organic micro-pollutants in sand biofilters and biologically active GAC (BGAC) within WTWs to advance the scientific understanding of the MPPCP transformation and reduction process within biological water treatments.



Project Status
Project Commenced

UKWIR Reference
BQ

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BQ How do we achieve 100% compliance with drinking water standards by 2050? Better understanding of the chemistry of the control of lead

To advance the water industry’s understanding of the chemistry that controls the solubility of lead and the conditions which influence the efficacy of phosphate in plumbosolvency control.

Problem

Much of the underlying work on lead compliance is based on an empirical understanding of the behaviour of lead compounds formed on the surface of pipes. This is the basis which the Industry uses to deploy high OPEX phosphate dosing and high CAPEX limited impact lead pipe replacement.  

The industry is now driving for compliance at a lower standard - 10µg/l and the DWI have commented that they are ‘minded to support’ an even lower 5µg/l standard in the future.

Impact

The key mitigations deployed to date have needed considerable capital or operational costs. The approach of phosphate dosing relies on very complex chemistry and the majority of research on this took place 15-30 years ago when the regulatory standard changed from 100µg/l to 50µg/l. It is not clear how we will meet the lower levels of compliance.