Wastewater Innovation Forum

MINUTES of the 63rd Forum meeting of 28th March 2018
  1. Attendees:

    Barrie Howe Environment Agency (Chairman)
    Steve Bungay Helix ECL / FWR Wastewater Co-ordinator (Secretary)
    Oliver Grievson Anglian Water
    Gordon Jones FWR
    Stephen Palmer Stantec
    Ana Soares Cranfield University

    The meeting started with roundtable introductions. Apologies were received from a number of the forum members. Ana was welcomed as the newest member of the Forum.

  2. Minutes of the 62nd Meeting

    Minutes of the meeting were not reviewed due to the time between meetings.

  3. Matters arising and items not on the agenda

    3.1 ROCKs
    SB gave a brief update on the latest ROCKs.

    Alice Horton has completed the ROCK – Microplastics in the Freshwater Environment. Although not part of our forum, Dr W. White has completed a ROCK on Flood Mitigation.

    There has been approval from the Council for a new ROCK for Anti-microbial resistance.

    BH asked how we could promote the ROCKs to ensure that they get good readership, and whether there is any budget for publicity. Should we consider an article in WWT? We need to consider how a ROCK on AMR would be publicised.

    BH/SB to take away an action to think about publicity.

    AS mentioned that Cranfield University is running the UK-IWA Young Professionals Conference – Towards a Resilient Water Future, on 16th to 18 April 2018.This is a conference that is supported by the FWR.
    3.2 Briefing Notes / Newsletter

    The overall content of the Autumn 2017, and Winter 2017/2018 were reviewed. The lead articles were “Spotlight on DWI” by Phil Smart from the Drinking Water Inspectorate, and “Discovering unseen biodiversity in our water – Does eDNA hold the key”, by Vicky Rhodes and Kerry Walsh from the Environment Agency. The Wastewater Matters column included articles on Opening up of the sludge market”, and “21st Century Drainage”.

    Over the last year, as well as the new ROCK on Microplastics in the Freshwater Environment, the Newsletter has included three articles on microplastics; “Microplastics” by Steve Bungay, “Microplastics: How big a threat” by Alice Horton, and “Microplastics. Micropollutants… …what’s the problem” by Maxine Forshaw.

    3.3 Website

    There were no changes to the website other than the addition of the details of speakers from our last meeting, which included Tom Stanton from the University of Nottingham, and Pratik Desai from the University of Sheffield.

    It was highlighted that the links to the archive presentations and ROCKs did not always work. GJ took an action to look at this.

    3.4 Social Media

    The forum twitter account @F4WaterResearch is slowly getting more followers. From the previous meeting the number of followers had increased from 79 to 230 followers. SB manages the account. It requires a password to access, and Twitter identifies any devices used to access the account. Most of the tweets are from conferences that SB has attended, or retweets from other people.

  4. Areas of Research

    The four key areas continue as a focus for the forum:
    1. Microplastics
    2. Anti Microbial Resistance
    3. Chemical Investigations Programme
    4. Unflushables

    4.1 Microplastics
    AH and Laura Grant (ex CIWEM, now House of Commons) were interviewed by Tom Heap on “Costing the Earth” on radio 4, talking about microplastics. The programme highlighted that microfibres from clothes are a key component of microplastics and nanoparticles.

    CIWEM have a Policy Position Statement (PPS) on microplastics.

    BH mentioned that there is an UKWIR project looking at microplastics in drinking water and wastewater, and this will feed into the Chemical Investigations Programme and National Environment Programme.

    SB to speak with AH to see if we should be considering a future article on microfibres.

    4.2 Anti Microbial Resistance

    Andrew Wheatley is potentially retiring, so we need to identify another member to front this area of focus.

    Prof Jason Snape – AstraZeneca presenting today on Pharmaceuticals in the Environment and Anti-microbial resistance. BH had proposed him as a speaker, and his presentation was excellent. Jason has also agreed to write a lead article for the Newsletter, and the possibility of a ROCK has been mentioned to him.

    As highlighted earlier, we need to try a new strategy with publicising a potential ROCK on AMR. AS suggested that we consider the FWR having a Wikipedia page. SP to look into what the requirements for this is.

    4.3 Chemical Investigations Programme

    The third and fourth tranches of work are underway. The information coming out of these will affect decisions on further investigations and permitting. The technology trials have highlighted the uncertainty of meeting the requirements of CIP. There needs to be a better understanding of the mechanisms of the removal of chemicals.

    BH agreed to present at the next meeting on CIP3 (BH or Gill Bellamy - EA).

    4.4 Unflushables

    NO and PV not able to attend today. Unflushables remain an area of focus that we will move on to. In the upcoming Aqua Enviro European Wastewater Management Conference, due to the number of abstracts received, there will be a full day on catchment and networks.

    PV/NO to provide information/update on extract blockages/SNAP group.

    BH to speak with Phil Hulme, who is the EA lead on catchment and networks.

  5. Other areas of research

    5.1 Anaerobic Wastewater Treatment

    AS is involved with a European initiative on low temperature anaerobic wastewater treatment. Cranfield University are involved with a joint research project including Severn Trent Water, Anglian Water, Scottish Water, and Thames Water. Carlos de Lemos Chernicharo (Federal University of Minas Gerais) and Jules Van Lier (Delft University) are also working on this project.

    Severn Trent Water will be building a pilot plant in 2019.

    5.2 Urban Drainage
    Catchment and networks remains a key area of focus. This is inked in with “Unflushables”. As mentioned above, BH to speak with Phil Hulme from the EA.

  6. Future Technical Presentations

    Identifying the key areas of research has helped to focus the presentations, as it helps to identify speakers. Recently the uptake of speakers has improved, and the forum has been approached about potential presentations. The quality of the presentation remains consistently high.

    Possible speakers
    Phil Hulme, EA - 21st Century Drainage Report 
    Mark Craig, STW - CIP 
    Ana Soares, Cranfield University  - Anaerobic Wastewater Treatment 

    Possible upcoming presentations
    Summer / June CIP3 (Barrie Howe / Gill Bellamy)
    21st Century Drainage (Phil Hulme)
    Autumn  Urban Drainage


  7. Conferences and Key Dates

    19-18th April UK-IWA Young Professionals Conference Towards a Resilient Water Future (Cranfield University)
    16th May Urban Drainage Group Spring Conference (CIWEM)
    22nd May Utility Week Live
    12th June WWT Water Industry Energy Conference (CIWEM)
    27th June Urban Drainage Group Summer Conference (CIWEM)
    11th July UK AD & Biogas World Biogas Expo 2017 (ADBA)
    17th - 18th July European Wastewater Management Conference (Aqua Enviro)
    18th July Diffuse Pollution: Evidence, Effective Practice and Lessons for Policy, Practice and Investment (CIWEM)
    13 – 14th November European Biosolids and Organic Resources Conference (Aqua Enviro)

  8. Any other business

    8.1 Forum Membership
    The total membership is currently 36. Of this, there are 19 active members and 17 corresponding members. The latest members are Ana Soares, Cranfield University, Tim Holloway, Portsmouth University, and Russell Frost, FWR. Of the active members, two water companies, three universities, two consultancies, two research consultancies, two regulators, and three independent consultants, are represented.
  9. Actions

    1. BH/SB To consider publicity for future ROCKS
    2. GJ To check/investigate the hyperlinks to the archive Newsletters and the ROCKs.
    3. SB Speak to AH about microfibres
    4. SP To look at requirements for Wikipedia
    5. BH To speak to Phil Hulme about catchment and networks / 21st Century Drainage.
    6. PV/NO Provide information/update on extract blockages/SNAP group
    7. ALL Suggestions for presentations
      Suggestions for new members

  10. Technical Presentations

    There were 18 attendees for the technical presentations (including speakers and CIWEM Wastewater and Biosolids Panel):

    FWR Steve Bungay, Barrie Howe, Gordon Jones, Oliver Grievson, Stephen Palmer, and Ana Soares.

    CIWEM
    Steve Bungay, Alastair Chisholm, Richard Cherry, Sophie Dunajko, Rachel Edgington, Karyn Georges, Barrie Howe, Ollie More, Stephen Palmer, Steve Smith, Tom Taylor, Alan Whips and Sarah (new CIWEM employee).

    Speakers
    Ajay Nair, Jason Snape.

    As normal the presentations will be available at the here along with an archive of presentations from past meetings. There will be a slight delay before they are uploaded onto the website, as one of the presentations has to be edited before it can be released as open access.

    Ajay’s presentation “Microvi Biotechnologies – Materials Science to Unlock the Power of Biology “ introduced Microvi’s biocatalyst catalogue for a variety of wastewater treatment applications.

    Microvi is an industrial biotechnology company that develops next-generation bioconversion technologies in the water, wastewater, and biobased industries. The company’s core discipline is its MicroNiche Engineering™ platform technology where the microenvironment of biological systems is synthetically designed to enhance microbial physiology and optimize enzymatic performance. Their technology could be described as a disruptive technology, and challenges a lot of our preconceived ideas and experience regarding wastewater treatment.

    Jason’s presentation “Pharmaceuticals in the Environment and Anti-microbial Resistance” focused on:

    a) environmental risk assessment,
    b) the biodegradation and persistence of chemicals in the environment to underpin environmental hazard and risk assessment,
    c) working with medicinal chemists to develop tools to assess the feasibility of greener drug design,
    d) determining the significance of antimicrobial resistance in the environment as a source of resistance for clinical infection and,
    e) assessing the risks posed by medicinal products in emerging markets.

    Jason’s presentation demonstrated the level of safeguarding that reputable pharmaceutical companies are undertaking towards the environment and the conflict between pharmaceuticals such as cancer drugs and their environmental affect or persistence.

  11. Date of next meetings

    The date of the next meeting of the Forum is:

    Wednesday 20th June 2018, commencing at 11:00 hrs.