The main focus of our research considers the underlying mechanisms and pathways required to deliver effective drinking water production both now and in the future. The ambition is to provide a sound scientific basis for the successful adaption of existing flowsheets and the implementation of novel technologies to meet emerging challenges and utilisation of alternative water resources from source to tap. The core challenges that we are researching include:

Drinking water treatment

  • Removing recalcitrant pollutants in a cost effective manner by linking removal pathways to the relative characters both the micro-pollutant to that and the background water. Example pathways include selective adsorption and oxidation through either hydroxyl radical production (Advanced Oxidation Processes) or biological degradation.
  • Providing robust and resilient source to tap water supply through understanding how process properties influence drinking water treatment process reliability and robustness. The scientific ambition is to discover the mechanistic pathways for removal of various contaminants (biological and chemical) at each stage of the water pathway from source to tap. This research envisions using the catchment as the first true stage of water treatment, developing expert systems for asset management and delivering high quality and stable water in the distribution system as the world starts to move away from chemical disinfectants and increased use of poorer quality water sources.
  • Minimisation of the impacts of disinfection by-products (DBPs) through understanding the role of treatment processes in managing the balance with respect to abundance and potency associated with the different DBPs formed across the whole range of potential source waters. The work currently focusses on how the inclusion of emerging DBPs impacts on our understanding of risk and to what extent simple monitoring techniques can adequately define the potential risk.
  • Public Health Engineering: Towards zero microbiological failures in drinking water through understanding the most appropriate methods for measuring microbial efficacy of water treatment processes, developing new tools for disinfection monitoring and establishing how low chemical water treatment impacts on microbial quality of drinking water.
  • Engineering aggregates to be fit for purpose by tailoring the chemical and mechanical inputs based on a sound understanding on the underlying water characteristics (concentrations, hydrophobicity, molecular weight, charge etc.). This work focusses on water sources containing high levels of coloured organic compounds but also those sources laden with inorganic particles, nanoparticle catalysts and wastewater.
  • Effective point of use (POU) water treatment for decentralised water supply by harnessing emerging technology to deliver small scale water treatment solutions that can produce high quality drinking water. This research aims to determine the operational features needed for effective POU water treatment and understand the important environmental and socio-economic factors that need to be incorporated in a successful POU system for application in high and low income countries.

Recent relevant publications