News Items

Novel desalination process. (Posted 26/02/2020)
Researchers at the University of Bath have developed a revolutionary desalination process that has the potential to be operated in mobile, solar-powered units. The process is low cost, low energy and low maintenance, and has the potential to provide safe water to communities in remote and disaster-struck areas where fresh water is in short supply.

Unlike the classical desalination process, where water rather than salt is pumped through a membrane,this process pumps salt out of seawater. The process is as yet only at the proof of conceptstage.

Groundwater watch list for substances of emerging concern. (Posted 10/02/2020)
This multinational paper shows how in the absence of a policy for substances of emerging concern in groundwater, and in the face of insufficient data, a group of states, agencies and researchers have come together to try and fill this important policy gap on a voluntary basis. It describes the approach that has been developed through a voluntary initiative as part of the EU CIS Working Group Groundwater to establish the voluntary EU Ground Water Watch List.

Saliva testing as an alternative to pathogen culture (Posted 10/02/2020)
A multiplex bead-based immunoassay capable of measuring IgG antibody responses to six waterborne pathogens simultaneously in human saliva is described. The assay,, together with the cutoff points established, allowed measurement of immunoprevalence rates and coinfections to six waterborne pathogens among beachgoers in Puerto Rico. Although no of obvious relevance to drinking water,. the technology is capable of more widespread use.

Implications of recent Water,Sanitation and Health (WASH) and nutrition studies. (Posted 10/02/2020)
In 2018, the WASH sector was surprised by three new high-quality studies that showed little or no impact of selected WASH interventions on reducing childhood diarrhoea and stunting. Some practitioners, researchers and funders have reacted by questioning the value of investing in WASH compared to other public health interventions and how future WASH implementation can be improved to achieve greater health gains. These studies are not a call to stop working together but rather to programme together more effectively. This paper discusses where approaches to WASH need to be better focussed and suggests that provision of “improved” water and sanitation technologies could only deliver modest health gains,and that more substantial health improvements can only come with entire community coverage with higher service levels.

Adverse birth outcomes and cancer risk due to nitrate in United States drinking water. (Posted 10/02/2020)
Meta-analysis of eight studies assessing nitrate in drinking water and CRC supports a health benchmark of 0.14 mg/L. The study concludes that 2,300 to 12,594 nitrate-attributable cancer cases occur annually in the U.S., of which 54-82% are colorectal cancer .This costs $1.5 to $6.5 billion dollars per year.

Managing microbial risk in drinking water systems. (Posted 06/02/2020)
Water Research Australia has updated its “Good Practice Guide to the Operation of Drinking Water Supply Systems for the Management of Microbial Risk” which serves as an evaluation and benchmarking tool. The guide is only available to members of WaterRA.

Impact of changing from chlorinaation to chloramination on lead in water. (Posted 06/02/2020)
Changing from chlorination to chloramination has been known to increase lead levels in drinking water systems. This can be avoided by beginning phosphate dosing prior to the change-over.

Microbial source tracking using Bacteroides (Posted 06/02/2020)
This book chapter describes the development, validation, and implementation of the human-associated HF183 Bacteroides quantitative real-time PCR technology for water quality and public health protection applications.

Online fluorescence spectroscopy for the real-time evaluation of the microbial quality of drinking water (Posted 06/02/2020)
Fluorescent dissolved organic matter (DOM) is strongly correlated with E. coli. and total bacterial cell counts. It is a superior indicator than turbidity of microbial water quality.

Di(2ethylhexyl)phthalate (DEHP) (Posted 03/02/2020)
Researchers at Harvard Medical School and the New York State Department of Health have discovered how a common plasticizer associated with human reproductive abnormalities likely does its damage at the molecular level. Various U.S. federal and state agencies responded by passing laws limiting the percentage of DEHP and other phthalates in children's toys, food packaging, drinking water and other items. DEHP has been banned in Europe since February 2015.

Water governance-could less sometimes be more? (Posted 03/02/2020)
Researchers analyzed water governance regulations in six European countries from 1750 to 2006 and show that rules designed to improve resource management come into conflict in the long run, creating an equal number of positive and negative effects until the system falls apart.

Potable water reuse without reverse osmosis. (Posted 24/01/2020)
Pilot plant studies demonstrated that ozone with biological filtration could achieve potable water quality criteria, without the use of RO, in cases where nitrate is below the MCL of 10 mg nitrogen per liter and total dissolved solids are below the SMCL of 500 mg per liter. Trials with a range of blending ratios showed that finished water from the direct reuse plant had no detections of microorganisms even at 100% . However, exceedances of one or more quality standards were observed at blends above 15%.

Bacteria and algae produced omega-3 fatty acids from microplastics (Posted 24/01/2020)
Using 13C labelled polyethylene, workers in Finland were able to demonstrate that aquatic micro-organisms can produce, biochemically upgrade, and trophically transfer nutritionally important biomolecules from PE-MP.

New method for water filtration (Posted 16/01/2020)
Workers in the USA have developed networks of artificial membranes which could prove useful for separating salt from water, a filtration process that is currently inefficient and costly. The new membrane has shown impressive desalination properties, exhibiting far more selective salt and presumably other contaminant removal when compared with existing processes. The method is a thousand times more efficient than current desalination processes in terms of its selectivity and permeability.

Identification of sources of faecal pollution (Posted 09/01/2020)
106 samples from 4 sources were collected in 5 European regions and 30 faecal indicators and source tracking markers were evaluated, including E. coli, enterococci, clostridia, bifidobacteria, somatic coliphages, host-specific bacteria, human viruses, host mitochondrial DNA, host-specific bacteriophages and artificial sweeteners. Models based on linear discriminant analysis (LDA) able to distinguish between human and non-human faecal pollution and identify faecal pollution of several origins were developed and tested with 36 additional laboratory-made samples. With 5 variables the model correctly classified all the fresh faecal samples from 4 different sources.

Novel water purification process - the first example of magnetic polyoxometalate‐supported ionic liquid phases (magPOM‐SILPs) and their use in water purification. (Posted 09/01/2020)
The magPOM‐SILP composite is composed of a superparamagnetic iron oxide (Fe2O3, hematite) core encased in a porous silica shell and is capable of removing organic, inorganic, microbial, and microplastic pollutants from water using a range of target‐specific removal modes. High removal efficiencies are reported.

Strengthening drinking-water surveillance using risk-based approaches (Posted 09/01/2020)
WHO has released a publication which provides a rationale for decision-makers to promote and support uptake of risk-based approaches in regulations and surveillance practice. It has been designed around six key messages that underlie the concept of risk-based approaches in drinking-water surveillance and is supported by practical examples for illustration purposes.

Impacts of water quality on the corrosion of cast iron pipes (Posted 09/01/2020)
Switch of source water in iron mains may induce “red water” episodes. This study investigated the impacts of water quality on iron release, dissolved oxygen consumption (ΔDO), corrosion scale evolution and bacterial community succession in cast iron pipes. The paper proposes a water switch strategy to minimse risk of discolouration.

Antimicrobial resistance in groundwater (Posted 09/01/2020)
A review of 70 peer-reviewed studies found that 80.2% ± 29.0 and 57.2% ± 36.8 of aggregated groundwater isolates were resistant to ≥1 and ≥3 antimicrobials, respectively. Where bacteria were present, antibiotic resistant bacteria (ARB) were identified in 76.9% ± 33.7 of individual wells and springs. The reviewers consider that their results leave little doubt that groundwater represents a major global reservoir for ARB.

Formation and removal of disinfection byproducts (Posted 03/01/2020)
Having developed high sensitivity simple methods for the analysis of trihalomethanes (THM4), iodinated-trihalomethanes (I-THMs), haloacetic acids (HAAs), bromide, iodide and iodate,these workers showed that in a full-scale treatment plant I-THMs were constantly formed independently of iodine concentration. They also showed that bromoacetic acid accounts for 60% of the relative toxicity of 17 DBPs.

Reluctance to accept recycled water. (Posted 03/01/2020)
An interesting Californian study has shown that consumers may accept the safety of, and need for, recycling of water, but are still reluctant to accept it because of “disgust” at the reality.