Wastewater Innovation Forum

MINUTES of the 64th Forum meeting of 20th June 2018
Please note that for older reports some links will be to sites that are no longer active.

1 Attendees:

Barrie Howe Environment Agency (Chairman)
Steve Bungay Helix ECL / FWR Wastewater Co-ordinator (Secretary)
Gill Bellamy Environment Agency
Russell Frost FWR
Matthew Greetham Ofwat
Oliver Grievson Anglian Water
Gordon Jones FWR
Nick Orman WRc
Ana Soares Cranfield University
Richard Williams CEH

The meeting started with roundtable introductions. Apologies were received from a number of the forum members. For the new attendees, SB summarised the FWR.

2 Matters arising and items not on the agenda

2.1 ROCKs
There has been approval from the Council for a new ROCK for Anti-microbial resistance. SB has had a brief dialogue with Prof Jason Snape. The likely authors will be Jason Snape, Will Gaze, and David Graham. SB to get confirmation from Jason Snape, and then pass his details onto Debbie Ruck to co-ordinate the ROCK. We still need to give consideration to publicising the ROCKs.

BH has distributed a number of copies of the ROCK on microplastics within the EA. We still need to consider an article in WWT?


  1. SB to contact Jason Snape about an AMR ROCK.
  2. BH/SB to take away an action to think about publicity

2.2 Briefing Notes / Newsletter
The lead article in the May Newsletter was by Steve Bungay, titled “Is wastewater treatment ripe for disruptive technologies?” and there was a brief summary of the forum’s spring meeting.
2.3 Website
There were no changes to the website other than the addition of the details of speakers from our last meeting, and the error with the links to the archive presentations and ROCKs has been corrected.
2.4 Social Media
Twitter - The forum twitter account @F4WaterResearch is slowly getting more followers. From the previous meeting the number of followers had increased from 230 to 246.
Wikipedia - Stephen Palmer had produced a brief report on the requirements for a Wikipedia page. Unfortunately SP was unable to attend the meeting, and with the available time, this was not discussed in detail. This is to be picked up at the next meeting.

3 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
MG asked about DWMP. Water UK have agreed to come and present to the forum on at a future meeting on Drainage and Wastewater Management Plans (DWMP). So DWMP will be introduced as an area of focus. Water UK have a Dissemination Seminar on the 5th September, SB will be attending.
3.1 Microplastics
RW - The Science Minster has announced a 20m research fund for microplastics (the Plastics and Research Innovation Fund). This is being delivered by NERC and EPSRC. The focus is the circular economy and minimising the use of plastics.

BH – there is a gap in knowledge. What are the ecological and human health effects of microplastics? This affects the regulatory solutions. NO – oil derived plastics are a finite resource. It is imperative to use plastics appropriately, as it can be difficult to find an alternative. Engineering applications are steering off recycled plastics, as the quality of lifespan of the plastics cannot be guaranteed.

OG – raised the issue with wastewater treatment using plastics such as MBBR.

RW – Innovate UK want to be able to ban plastics. CEH are bidding to NERC with a project to quantify where microplastics were coming from in river catchments. Quantify the source. What is the fate? i.e. Sediment will it be remobilised?

BH – with the ROCK on microplastics completed, what is the next step for the FWR? Possible largest contribution from wastewater systems is actually clothes washing. There is no standard methodology for determining microplastics.

MG – Could FWR support bids for research?

RF - We have an existing publication (the ROCK). Can this be used to highlight the problem? (Links in with publicity and next steps).

  1. SB to speak to AH about microfibres.
  2. BH to consider how we publicise our work, whether we can support research
  3. bids, and how is standardisation addressed?
3.2 Anti Microbial Resistance
RW – there is a whole suite of NERC funded programmes.

BH – a ROCK would be useful to help formulate the latest research fro PR19. Need to find out about the other NERC funded research. There are details on the NERC website

  1. SB to check with Maxine regarding the lead article for the Newsletter, and get confirmation from Jason Snape about the ROCK.
  2. BH to check about the NERC research projects.
3.3 Chemical Investigations Programme
There are 15 different investigations with the WaSCs. BH and Gill Bellamy will be presenting on CIP and CIP3 at the end of the meeting.
3.4 Unflushables
Andy Drinkwater will be presenting on unflushables at the end of the meeting. There are multi national companies with vested interests.

NO – geared to producing a product.

SB and OG queried the methodology for determining unflushables. “Wetted strength” is important. The guidelines for assessing the flushability of disposable nonwoven products are available.

4 Other areas of research

4.1 Anaerobic Wastewater Treatment
AS is involved with a European initiative on low temperature anaerobic wastewater treatment.

There are a few full-scale trials in Spain. Cranfield are working with 5 WaSCs to implement this in the UK. Severn Trent is the most advanced, building a 500 PE reactor at Spernal STW. This will be an anaerobic treatment reactor followed by ion exchange.

The effluent has to be degassed and the CH4 is dissolved in water.

Severn Trent Water will be building a pilot plant in 2019. Scottish Water are also looking to build a plant. AWS are possibly looking at a 10,000 PE plant.

NO – Anaerobic treatment offers benefits in energy and footprint.

AS – Presenting at EWWM.
4.2 Urban Drainage

SB attended the Water UK workshop on DWMP in May. Rob Wesley has agreed that someone from Water UK will come and present at a future forum meeting.

5 Roundtable

RF Working on river catchments for the FWR.

AS Working on:-
  1. nutrient removal with ion exchange. Absorbents selectively adsorb ammonia and phosphorus;
  2. Designing better carrier media for wastewater treatment;
  3. Industrial wastewater treatment.
OG working on:-
  1. the British Standard for Wastewater Instrumentation and Control;
  2. working on an IWA approved manual for wastewater flow.
NO Sewers for adoption. Working with Water UK to develop new edition of Sewers for Adoption. There is a complete re-write of the section on Surface Water, based on a new definition of a “sewer”. Previously based on 19th century legislation where an open channel can be a sewer.

GJ FWR website.

MG PR19 business plans. Adjudicating plans once received.

RW UKWIR funded to do a detailed study of plastics coming from sewage. This is an 18-month project. Gill Bellamy will be on the steering group. RW is also involved in a exposure assessment study relating to how the EA use models to set consents for chemicals such as flame-retardants. Also looking at nanoparticles. Mike Bose (CEH) is looking on behalf of Thames Water at how to meet the future water demand.

GB Focussing on CIP3 and permitting.

BH CIP3 and PR19. Looking at Micropollutants such as oestrodiols, metals, and flame-retardants. There is significant variation in what degree of treatment can be achieved. Therefore, do we need to change permitting procedures to account for this variation? Separate to CIP3/PR19, the WasCs are considering a possible trial using rare earths for phosphorus removal.

SB Commissioning of a plastic media trickling filter plant and anaerobic digestion plant.

6 Any other business

NO Don Ridgers has reported that Water UK have reduced their funding of European Standards. NO to contact Don about a possible article in the Newsletter.

GJ Chase up Ed Bramley, Yorkshire Water regarding the latest revision of the Urban Pollution Management (UPM) Manual.

7 Future Technical Presentations

The quality of the presentation remains consistently high. Possible speakers and presentations:- Autumn Michael Hutchins, CEH – How do we manage water resources in the future to best protect water quality? Rob Wesley, Water UK – Drainage Wastewater Management Plans Urban Drainage Ana Soares, Cranfield University – Anaerobic Wastewater Treatment, Nutrient Recovery

8 Conferences and Key Dates

13 – 14th November European Biosolids and Organic Resources Conference (Aqua Enviro)

9 Forum Membership

The total membership is currently 36. Of this, there are 19 active members and 17 corresponding members. Of the active members, two water companies, three universities, two consultancies, two research consultancies, two regulators, and three independent consultants, are represented.

10 Actions

  1. SB To contact Jason Snape about an AMR ROCK
  2. BH/SB To consider publicity for future ROCKS
  3. SB Speak to AH about microfibres
  4. SP To present requirements for Wikipedia
  5. SB To chase up Maxine and AMR article for the Newsletter
  6. BH To check about NERC research projects
  7. PV/NO Provide information/update on extract blockages/SNAP group
  8. NO To contact Don Ridgers about a possible Newsletter article
  9. GJ Chase up Ed Bramley, Yorkshire Water regarding the latest revision of the Urban Pollution Management (UPM) Manual
  10. ALL Suggestions for presentations and for new members

11 Technical Presentations

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

FWR Steve Bungay, Gill Bellamy, Barrie Howe, Russell Frost, Matthew Greentham, Oliver Grievson, Barrie Howe, Gordon Jones, Nick Orman, Ana Soares, and Richard Williams.

CIWEM Steve Bungay, Sophie Dunajko, Rachel Edgington, Karyn Georges, Barrie Howe, Ollie More, Pete Pearce, and Tom Taylor.

Speakers Andy Drinkwater, Gill Bellamy & Barrie Howe

Dealing with unflushables in the sewer system
Andy Drinkwater – Engineer (Sewerage and Flooding), WRc
Andy’s presentation was an informal presentation covering the major flushables / unflushables such as wipes, fats, oils and grease, and food waste. Dealing with unflushables is one of the largest reactive operational costs for sewer system and pumping station operators, with sewer blockages cost the UK water industry 100 million per year.

Chemical Investigations Programme 3
Gill Bellamy - Advisor Water Quality, EA / Barrie Howe - Senior Advisor Water Quality, EA

Their presentation explained the aim and scope of each of the chemicals investigation drivers in PR19 and how the results will inform future actions for the water industry or inform wider policy decisions and the Defra chemicals strategy. Both Gill and Barrie are working closely with the English and Welsh sewerage undertakers to develop the third phase of the UKWIR Chemicals Investigation Programme (CIP). This will build on phases 1 and 2 of CIP and also inform and implement the Defra chemicals strategy for water. Their presentation included, amongst other items, investigations into some new and emerging issues (anti-microbial resistance and microplastics), chemicals in sludge and groundwater and sources of particular chemicals to sewer.

12 Date of next meeting

The date of the next meeting of the Forum is: Wednesday 20th October 2018, commencing at 11:00 hrs.