Wastewater Forum


Meeting 30th October 2013

Please note that for older reports some links will be to sites that are no longer active.

This was the Forum’s 51st meeting. Andrezj Nowosielski (Environment Agency) chaired the meeting, which was held in CIWEM’s Boardroom, John Street, London. Paul Hickey has decided that following the EA’s current reorganisation he will not have sufficient time to continue chairing the Forum. The Forum thanked Paul and welcomed Andrezj and the EA’s continuing commitment to the Forum.

A roundup of members’ research included the following:

Mike Hammond (for David Butler, Exeter University) described three of the many projects with which the department is involved:

CORFU (Collaborative Research on Flood Resilience in Urban areas) is a 4-year FP7 project now in its last year. Hamburg. Barcelona and Beijing are amongst the case study cities assessing building in resilience and living with flooding.

The Centre for Water Systems at Exeter University was founded 15 years ago it comprises 12 staff, 20 post-docs, 20 PhD students and 12 visiting, emeritus and honorary fellows. Some current topics are rainwater harvesting, SuDS, WaSCs, burst detection, hydro-infomatics, smart metering and whole systems modelling.

Chris Chubb - the handbook on water quality regulation that was initially a product of an EU-China project has been edited and will be published as a hardcopy with accompanying CD and electronically in association with FWR – expected by the end of 2013. It examines all EU water regulations and their implementations by each member state.

Mike Hutchins (for Richard Williams, CEH) RW was in China working on a case study of a river in NE China that is transnational with Russia; it is a 3 year project.

Andrew Johnson has modelled E2 (Estradiol or 17β-estradiol, also oestradiol) its derivative EE2 (17α-Ethinylestradiol) and diclofenac (derived from birth control and anti-inflammatory pharmaceuticals respectively) in rivers and the sensitivity to dilution (http://nora.nerc.ac.uk/503779/). The EC has proposed EQSs of 0.4 ngE2/L, 0.035 ng EE2/L (which are far below the limits of analytical detection) and 100 ng diclofenac/L. They found 1%, 12% and 2% of the total lengths of Europe’s rivers would fail these EQS. Although the EQS concentrations cannot be measured reliably, it would be possible to model back to WwTW discharges. [Tim Evans queried the reliability of models and whether it would be worth the carbon cost of achieving the EQS. Therapeutic doses have been decreasing since birth control pills were introduced 50 years ago and the rivers are now more alive than at any time since the industrial revolution.]

MH – work continues on the NERC Changing Water Cycle Programme looking at the effect on hydrology of historic development with the objective of predicting the situation in 50 years’ time, including climate change scenarios.

Nick Orman, WRc – CIWEM’s Urban Drainage Group collaborated with UKWIR to produce an improved equation to model runoff [a Tech Transfer Workshop at the UDG conference 12 Nov 2013 concluded the usefulness of the equation will only be evaluated after it has been included in some of the commercial modelling packages].

WRc has been considering what sewage data need to be collected day-to-day and longterm and the business case for additional data.

WRc in collaboration with Cranfield - dosing systems for preventing FOG in the network.

WRc – what happens when ground food waste from food waste disposers goes through the sewer system?

WRc with IKT (Institute Kanal Technic) collaborating on tree roots in sewers; can barrier systems exclude them, can acoustic sensing detect them in sewers and can it distinguish roots from FOG?

WRc – impact of sewer flooding on agriculture, and what advice should WaSCs give to farmers?

Oliver Grievson, Anglian Water has a project to compare radar, laser and ultrasonic meters. It is also looking at smart wastewater networks using Pulse clamp on meters, they are not very accurate but they are much less expensive than accurate meters. Piezotag for energy harvesting . Radio Data Networks BDT for detecting impedances in sewers, etc.

Andrew Wheatley, Loughborough University – Recruiting a research assistant for MCERT flow measurement by microwave.

The Gates’ “reinventing the toilet” project has been extended to March 2014; the power consumption of Loughborough’s prototype has been reduced to 1 kWh/L treated (UK WaSCs average 0.8 kWh/L); there is 20 MJ/kgDS in the treated material but separation [from the water] is still to be resolved.

Gordon Jones, FWR – Defra has awarded 5k contracts to look at small catchments for the Pusey Wye and the Middle Thames.

The layout and graphics for Chris Chubb’s book have been completed.

Three new ROCKs have been or are in the process of being published: FR0017 Water for food security; Measuring flow in open channels and Cyanobacterial Toxins in the Water Environment (revised). ROCKs are available on this site.

FWR has launched the David Newsome Award. An appropriate postgraduate student and her/his supervisor are awarded 5000 for one year to write a booklet suitable for publication in the FWR ROCK series.

Wastewater and WaPUG are the two folders on fwr.org that receive the most traffic.

Andrezj Nowosielski, EA – A pilot study with Surfers Against Sewage is examining predicting short-term pollution caused by rainfall and CSO and the practicability of issuing a bathing water alert.

Treatment sponges are showing some promise for bacteriological control; 90% removal has been achieved in laboratory conditions and 60% in the field.

Technical Presentations with members of CIWEM’s Wastewater Management Panel

Research Programme at Sheffield
Prof. Simon Tait, Sheffield University

Biology has promise: can diatoms be used as indicators of misconnections? Biofilms occur in pipes (water and sewage) and their biology can be complex, can their function be manipulated and harnessed, can synthetic biology be used to make biofilms stick to surfaces better?

Acoustics are also promising because transducers have very low power consumption (orders of magnitude less than radar or laser) and they are robust and much less expensive than alternatives. Speakers and microphones produced in huge numbers for mobile phones are only 50p each. Arrays can measure flow from surface interference patterns, which needs no calibration, this could be the key to affordable real time control of sewers. Acoustics can warn of sediment accumulation. Acoustic is quicker and cheaper than CCTV, with which there is 70-80% correlation. Acoustic Sensing Technology (UK) Ltd was created in 2013 to provide new technology for the water industry and for other industries, both in the UK and worldwide. The first product from AST is the SewerBatt™ which uses acoustics to show, very quickly and accurately, what defects or breaks or blockages there may be in sewers/drainage pipes.

Misconnections Ian Myers, Environment Agency, Technical Advisor Misconnections Campaign

The EA estimates that 20% of EQS failures are due to misconnections and CSOs so it is important that misconnections are dealt with. The way we have been doing it in the past (which has been reactive) has been very expensive and has little or no effect on behaviour, so new misconnections are being created all the time. Clearly, continuing to do the same as we have been doing regarding misconnections, which has proved ineffectual, and expecting a different result would be insane, as Albert Einstein observed. Ofwat and the Consumer Council for Water are reluctant for bill-payers to fund detection of misconnections. Opinion poll surveys have found a general lack of knowledge about drainage in general and specifically whether a property is on combined or separate sewers; it would be feasible and inexpensive for water bills to show customers which type of drainage applies to their property.

The next meeting of the Forum will be 6th March 2014