January Research News
Research Newsletter – February 2022
Welcome to our February 2022 research and innovation newsletter.
Our’s is a great industry that touches nearly everything in people’s lives and I’ve yet to find a single interesting thing that doesn’t concern water in some way. Although, the item below on a new form of pasta noodle must surely push the limit? But without water we cannot cook noodles!
Oh… and if you see any interesting articles, projects or news about research that others might be interested in, please send to [email protected] – it could even make the next newsletter due in March 2022.
If you’ve stumbled on this newsletter and would like to receive future editions please click this link. Or if you know someone who really needs this: forward to a friend.
Industry Innovation and Resilience
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“New Water360 website”

WSAA is updating the Water360 website to provide the water industry with a useful and credible repository for research and information related to the range of water industry needs.

The website aims to provide access for the water industry to a range of publicly available research, information and news to help them with their work.

WSAA’s pledge is to ensure that the website will be continually curated and updated to respond to emerging issues and needs.

Go to Water360

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WRF is Accepting Pre-Proposals for Transformative Research Projects

The Water Research Foundation (WRF) is now accepting pre-proposals for novel, transformative research projects for funding through their Unsolicited Research Program.

The Unsolicited Research Program funds projects that advance the science of water and increase our ability to protect and preserve water in a sustainable and cost-effective manner.

Pre-proposals are chosen based on technical and scientific merit, project originality, technical approach, significance and value of research, and project schedule and qualifications of key personnel/organizational capacity.

Pre-proposals are due by March 31, 2022

Read more here

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Regional New South Wales Editions of the Water Supply and Gravity Sewerage Codes now Available

WSAA have released two brand new codes for regional New South Wales, WSA 02: 2014-3.1 Gravity Sewerage Code of Australia Version 1.0 and WSA 03 2011-3.1 Water Supply Code of Australia Version 1.0.

Over the past two years, WSAA has been working with members of the NSW Water Directorate Technical Steering Group to finalise the Regional NSW Editions of the WSAA Water Supply and Gravity Sewerage eBook Codes.

Approximately 158 standard drawings have been incorporated into the Codes and after an intensive period of collaboration, we’re pleased to announce that both Codes have been published and are now available to purchase in eBook format from the WSAA Shop.

Access the new codes at WSAA

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Online Training | Data Science for Water Professionals — Level 1 & 2
Water Research Australia’s Research Leadership Program will continue to deliver the popular Data Science for Water Professionals training online throughout 2022.
The course is presented by Peter Prevos and teaches the basics of data science using the R language to analyse water management problems.
water supply and security
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De-Risking Water Supplies in a Climate-Constrained Future
Really interesting response to Infrastructure Victoria’s latest strategy from VicWater’s Kim Crozier at VicWater. VicWater is challenging the Victorian Government to look seriously at the use of purified recycled water to help address climate change impacts and build resilience in planning and decision-making.
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Future of Water – Purified Recycled Water in Windhoek, Namibia

This is a short but powerful documentary on the use of purified recycled water in Windhoek, Namibia, a city in a severely water stressed part of the world, where they’ve tapped a radical source of water to set their community up for a more sustainable future.

It’s a bit disappointing to see Australia used as an example of how communities can be resistant to the use of recycled wastewater.

The documentary is 10 minutes long but was worth watching to experience an unusual look at an unusual part of the world.

Watch the documentary here at RetroReport.org

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Biden Administration Announces Water Sector Action Plan

The White House and the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) have announced a new “Water and Wastewater Action Plan” that aims to encourage water utilities to adopt technology to detect cyber threats to industrial control systems early on. The Biden administration intends to implement the plan over 100 days.

Key actions include:

  • Establishing a task force of water sector leaders.
  • Implementing pilot projects to demonstrate and accelerate adoption of incident monitoring.
  • Improving information sharing and data analysis.
  • Providing technical support to water systems.

Read more at the EPA

Energy and the Circular economy

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Phoenixville Announces New Hydrothermal Carbonisation Plant

The Borough of Phoenixville, Pennsylvania, has announced plans to build what it claims will be the first hydrothermal carbonisation plant in North America.

The Borough’s wastewater treatment plant is currently the largest user of energy in the municipality, but Phoenixville officials think the new set up will eventually evolve it into an energy producer.

Read more here at WHYY.org

You can find out more about HTC here on ScienceDirect. 

Or watch a short video of the plant construction

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The Many Colours of Carbon

You’ve probably heard of blue carbon, green carbon; but have you heard about teal carbon and red carbon? For those who are curious follow this link to read about the many nuances of carbon, including black, brown, red, blue, green and teal.

Red is the newest addition. I won’t leave you hanging, red carbon is made of up of all living biological particles on snow and ice that reduce albedo (reflectivity) to survive.

Read more in Nature

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Ocean Grazer Launches “Infinitely Scalable” Ocean Battery

Dutch start-up Ocean Grazer has launched its Ocean Battery, an “infinitely scalable” energy storage system that sits on the seafloor alongside an offshore wind farm.

The Ocean Battery stores energy by pumping water from rigid reservoirs into flexible bladders on the seabed.

The energy is thus stored as potential energy in the form of water under high pressure. When power demand requires, stored water flows back from the flexible bladders to the low pressure rigid reservoirs, driving multiple hydroelectric turbines to generate the necessary electricity.

Read more here at RenewEconomy

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Kombucha Water Filters Can Resist Clogging Better Than Commercial Options
Research led by the Montana Technological University has shown that living membranes created in the same way as kombucha are more resistant to clogging and biofouling, making them more efficient and less expensive to use than conventional ones.
The researchers cultivated a kombucha SCOBY in a solution of sugar, black tea, distilled white vinegar and water. A thin permeable membrane of fungi and Acetobacter bacteria grew where the culture came into contact with air. Then, the team filtered water from two reservoirs and a river in Montana with both a living membrane and a commercial membrane made from two cellulose esters
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Scarcity Drives ‘Fabs’ to Wastewater Recycling
Interesting article about water recycling by computer chip fabricators – or ‘fabs’ as the author refers to them.
They are using some interesting reverse osmosis technology that uses thermodynamic balancing to minimise the driving force across the filtering membrane. The claim is that this reduces the energy consumption for a given amount of water treated.
Chip fabrication uses a large amount of water and there appear to be large gains to be made through recycling.
Liveability and health
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US Invests in Fundamental Data

Impact of downstream movement on contaminants

A Washington State University-led research team has received a collaborative National Science Foundation grant to improve understanding of how contaminants, nutrients and naturally occurring minerals interact with the environment as they move downstream in a river.

The research will develop a database of river experiments around the world as they work to improve the mathematical modelling of the transport process

Read more here in TPO magazine

Impact of treatment processes on human enteric viruses

A partnership between the USEPA, the Water Research Foundation and the University of Arizona is working to develop quantitative data on the removal of human enteric viruses by treatment processes where wastewater is the source water.

These data can be used by the water sector, communities, and regulators to provide log reduction values (LRV) to meet desired risk goals.

Read more here at the US EPA

Photo by Artturi Jalli on Unsplash

Detection of the Omicron (B.1.1.529) variant of SARS-CoV-2 in aircraft wastewater

This interesting paper confirms the first detection of SARS-CoV-2 Omicron VOC in aircraft wastewater samples. Following the detection, the results were corroborated with a single onboard infection.

Read more here at ScienceDirect

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Antimicrobial Resistance Now a Leading Cause of Death Worldwide
A new study published in the Lancet reveals that antimicrobial resistance has become a leading cause of death worldwide and is killing about 3,500 people every day.
The new Global Research on Antimicrobial Resistance (Gram) report estimates deaths linked to 23 pathogens and 88 pathogen-drug combinations across 204 countries and territories in 2019. Statistical modelling was used to produce estimates of the impact of AMR in all locations – including those with no data – using more than 470m individual records obtained from systematic literature reviews, hospital systems, surveillance systems, and other data sources.
Working with the community
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The Loo Taboo: New Study Explores Uptake Of Controversial Technologies

Researchers from the University of Stirling have developed new insights into the cultural taboo surrounding toilet-linked anaerobic digesters (TLADs), a technology that enables users to transform their domestic toilet waste into biogas.

The team believe their findings will help decision-makers understand and overcome the barriers preventing uptake of new technologies designed to reduce impact on the natural environment.

Read more here at WaterOnline

Read the research paper here at ScienceDirect

Some interesting things
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Sonifying Science: from an Amino Acid Scale to a Spider Silk Symphony

Strap on your nerd suit for this ride into the world where music and physics collide. Markus Buehler, McAfee Professor of Engineering at MIT, describes the connections and opportunities available by listening to physics.

The discussion makes interesting links between the concept of harmony and the physics of vibration.

Read more here at physicsworld

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Is Your Data “Post Quantum”?

It seems that the world of quantum computing is just around the corner. The biggest challenge is that the new tools offered will give us the capacity to decrypt nearly any data on the internet.
This article explains how, while we haven’t been watching, the IT industry is preparing for a post quantum world.
Photo by Julian Myles on Unsplash
Who Governs California’s Drinking Water Systems?
Did you know that there are around 8000 Public Water Systems in California? Of those, around 3,000 are Community Water Systems, meaning systems that serve a residential population year-round, and the remaining 5,000 are non-community systems.
This is a really interesting article that helps explain the complexity of water governance in California.
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Quantum Battery Breakthrough Could Mean a Revolution in Energy Storage

Researchers from the University of Adelaide have made significant progress towards making quantum batteries a reality after demonstrating a new proof-of-concept device.

This really is interesting. But you need to put your nerdy hat on to dip into quantum entanglement and cooperative behaviour and the superextensive scaling of energy absorption.

If you’re up for the challenge

Read more here on Gizmodo 

Read the detailed paper here at Science Advances

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New Pasta is the Result of a Pasta-Obsessed Podcaster with a Dream

A pasta obsessed Podcaster has just invented the first new pasta shape in over a century.

The new pasta is called “cascatelli,” and was created by The Sporkful podcast host Dan Pashman and is sold by American artisan pasta brand Sfoglini.

Who knew?

Read more on Eater

Webinar: PFAS in Canada’s Water
3 February 2022, 4:00 am AEDT
This webinar will present information about how per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) are being managed in Canada in the context of Canadian water resources.
Experts from academia, industry and government will be exploring questions such as: What are PFAS? What are the best practices for sampling, quantifying and remediating these compounds? What does the future regulatory landscape look like across Canada for managing PFAS?
Webinar | Keeping the Water on During and After Extreme Weather Events | Floods
16 February 2022 12:30pm to 2:00pm
In this webinar from Water Research Australia, you will hear about floods from experts in managing water quality and quantity in extreme climates, and be part of the discussion with panellists who will answer your key questions on how we can best prepare for future challenges.

Panellists include:

Asm Mohiuddin | Sydney Water

Duncan Middleton | Seqwater

Suzanne Brown | Water Corporation

Luke Mosley | University of Adelaide

Benjamin Bryant | Icon Water

37th Annual WateReuse Symposium
6-9 March, 2022, San Antonio, Texas and Online
More details as they come to hand
10-12 May 2025, Brisbane Convention and Exhibition Centre
Ozwater is Australia’s most prominent international annual water conference and exhibition, considered the highlight of the water sector’s calendar of events.
This year’s theme is Our Water Journey, which celebrates the evolution of the water sector from its rich history, where we are now and what possibilities lie in our future.
Vicwater Annual Conference

7 – 9 June 2022, The Langham, Melbourne

This year the VicWater conference will explore the theme of ‘resilience and readiness’ highlighting the areas in which we need to progress.

The conference includes both in-person and online opportunities.

The Conference will commence with a program for in-person delegates with a social hour on Tuesday evening, before the commencement of the official program at 8:30am Wednesday morning.


African Water Association Knowledge Management Platform

Sharing Africa’s water and sanitation sector knowledge
Australian Government – GrantConnect
Forecast and current Australian Government grant opportunities
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Free Access to US Water Research Foundation Resources
Great news! If your utility is a member of WSAA, you have access to all the online resources of the US Water Research Foundation (WaterRF), including:
  • Access to a huge library of research, webinars and support material covering all facets of the water industry.
  • Opportunities to participate in collaborative research projects with international teams and gain first-hand access to results.
  • Opportunities to participate in Project Advisory Committees, learn from international experience and share your expertise.
  • Access to the TechLink program and the industry’s shared experience with emerging technology.

Watch a short video

If you would like access to WaterRF – and who wouldn’t – please send an email to Dale Watson.

Image clipped from the Water360 Homepage
Your one stop shop for water industry knowledge and resources.
Water360 is the best place to start searching for the latest and most reliable information to support your work in the Australian water industry.



Your one stop shop for water industry knowledge and resources

Water Research Foundation


WSAA utility members can access reports and webinars for free