April Research News
Research Newsletter – April 2023
Welcome to our April 2023 research and innovation newsletter.
This newsletter was not created by ChatGPT, although I can’t lie, I did try. The result was not good and confirmed that AI is not going to take over our lives any time soon.
If you see any interesting articles, projects or news about new research that others might be interested in, please send to [email protected] – it could even make the next newsletter due in May 2023.
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
Image from WSAA

Can Nutrient Trading Deliver Environmental Outcomes?

WSAA has published the results of another successful industry collaboration. A world leading analysis of the ability of nutrient trading to deliver environmental outcomes.

Authored by Professor Michele Burford and Dr. Jing Lu at Griffith University, the report outlines the benefits of nutrient trading, including the ability to:

  • Provide flexibility in meeting nutrient reduction targets,
  • Incentivize innovation and cost-effective solutions, and
  • Provide a mechanism for funding catchment management activities.

The report also discusses the challenges associated with implementing a nutrient trading regime, including the need for robust monitoring and verification systems, the need for clear rules and regulations, and the need for stakeholder engagement.

Photo by Ferdinand Stöhr on Unsplash

New US PFAS Maximum Contaminant Levels

On March 14, 2023, the U.S. EPA released their proposed drinking water Maximum Contaminant Levels (MCLs) and Maximum Contaminant Level Goals (MCLGs) for select per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS).


The new MCLs will likely have far-reaching consequences for water utilities involved in any part of the water cycle and, potentially, any part of the world.


Read more at the Water Environment Federation

Image from report web site
The Future of Water – Report by AWA

The Australian Water Association (AWA), in partnership with Arup, has produced The Future of Water Report – the Australian Context from data collected from a 2022 survey distributed across Australia.


The survey captured over 750 responses, highlighting how individuals and communities across Australia value and interact with water and key priorities for future water management at both a local and national level. 


Read the report here

Image from article on AWA web site
Leading Global Practices for Smart Resilient Cities Webinar

Tuesday 4th Apr, 2:30–2.00pm AEST


Join the IWA for an Asia-Pacific panel discussion to explore innovative solutions to building more resilient cities and systems.


With a focus on the Asia-Pacific region, this panel brings together four thought-leaders to discuss leading practices for smart resilient cities.


The panel will be moderated by IWA President Tom Mollenkopf and is a prelude to a global conversation on the same topic, to be held at OzWater, Sydney on 10 May 2023.


Register by clicking here

Energy and the Circular economy

Image from article
Is There a Solution to PFAS?

Researchers at the University of British Columbia claim they have developed a new water treatment method that permanently removes PFAS from drinking water.


The key to this method is a new silica based adsorbing media, but the key to success could be the integration with a new process for destroying PFAS also developed by the group.


Read more at UBC

Image generated by Image Creator
Northumbrian Water Fuels a World-First in Green Energy Expansion

Northumbrian Water in the UK have installed a ground-breaking piece of equipment to capture ammonia from sewage.


The technology uses heat generated from the natural breakdown of proteins in wastewater. The resultant ammonia has the potential to be used in the production of fertiliser, pharmaceuticals or to develop green fuels.


Read more at Northumbrian Water

Image by Dale Watson
Capturing Nanoplastics in Tap Water with Light

Researchers from the Korea Institute of Science and Technology have used an electro-photonic tweezer along with metal nanoparticles to concentrate ultrafine nanoplastics as part of a real-time nanoplastics detection system.


The research claim to have achieved ultrahigh-sensitivity detection of microplastics in real-time and propose that the method can be extended to the measurement of microplastic concentration in various water resources.


Read more at Wateronline

Image from article
New Method to Monitor Flocculation
Researchers from Texas A&M University have developed a technique to monitor flocculation during water treatment.
The new method simultaneously monitors the size and shape of clumps and the mixing intensity in a single step, in real time,
This first-of-its-kind technique can be used to improve flocculation, meaning successfully removing contaminants by growing large enough clumps while minimizing the energy used.
Image of methane escaping from Image Creator
Wastewater Treatment Plants Release More Methane Than Previously Thought
Researchers at the University of Princeton claim that wastewater treatment plants are releasing nearly double the amount of methane into the atmosphere than previously believed.
The university carried out two studies: one which performed on-the-ground methane emissions measurements at 63 wastewater treatment plants in the United States, the other which used machine learning methods to analyse published literature data from methane monitoring studies of various wastewater collection and treatment processes around the globe.
Image from Image Creator
E. coli Detects Heavy Metals in Water

Researchers at the University of California, Irvine have demonstrated that the Escherichia coli bacterium can help to detect heavy metal contamination in water.


E. coli exhibit a biochemical response in the presence of metal ions, a slight change that researchers were able to observe with chemically assembled gold nanoparticle optical sensors.


Read more at MirageNews

Image from article
Researchers Develop a New Way to Identify Bacteria in Fluids

Researchers from Stanford University have developed a new method to identify bacteria in fluids.


The process works by directing a laser at the target fluid and recording the optical signature. Not only does it identify the existence of bacteria, but it can identify which bacteria are present.


Apparently every microbe has its own unique optical fingerprint.


Read more at PhysOrg

Image from article
New Catalyst to Remove Herbicides

Researchers from Oregon State University have developed a dual-purpose catalyst that purifies herbicide-tainted water while also producing hydrogen.


The researchers used a photocatalyst made from anatase doped with nitrogen and sulphur. The result was the production of hydrogen and the degradation of the target herbicide.


Read more at WaterOnline

Liveability and health
Image by Freepik
PFAS May Reduce Fertility in Women by Up to 40%
Researchers from the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai in the US claim that they have uncovered evidence in a sample of women in Singapore linking plasma concentrations of perfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) with an increase in the difficulty of becoming pregnant.
A number of studies have found that PFAS can disrupt reproductive hormones, lead to delayed puberty onset and result in an increased risk of endometriosis and polycystic ovary syndrome.
Photo by National Cancer Institute on Unsplash
PFAS Can Suppress White Blood Cells’ Ability to Destroy Invaders

Researchers from North Carolina State University have found that the PFAS chemical GenX suppresses elements of the innate immune system.


The innate immune system serves as the body’s first responders and contains white blood cells that can be dispatched to the site of an invasion.


While this research looked at the impact on Zebrafish of high dose of PFAS over a short period, there are also implications for more typical human exposure of low dose over long periods of time.


Read more at NC State Home

Working with the community
Image from CSIRO
CSIRO Develops Weather Service for Water Quality

The CSIRO have launched a new service called AquaWatch Australia. A world first ground-to-space water quality monitoring system for Australia and the globe.


AquaWatch will provide near real-time updates and predictive forecasting – a weather service for water quality – once fully operational.


Read more at CSIRO

Some interesting things
Image from article

Enzyme Converts Hydrogen in the Air to Electricity

Researchers from Monash University discovered that an enzyme produced by a common bacterium found in soil naturally converts hydrogen in the air into electricity.


While the experiments have only been carried out in the lab, so far, the team are confident that the process can be scaled up to run a number of small electronic devices.


Read more at the Sydney Morning Herald

Image from article
Liquid Tree to Combat Air Pollution in Belgrade

The University of Belgrade’s Institute for Multidisciplinary Research has developed an urban photo-bioreactor. The researchers claim that Liquid 3 can clean the air as well as serve as a bench in the busy Belgrade city centre.


Liquid 3 contains six hundred litres of water and uses microalgae to bind carbon dioxide and produce pure oxygen through photosynthesis.


Read more at Balkan Green Energy News

Image from web site
Richard Feynman Lectures Online

Richard Feynman was an American theoretical physicist widely regarded as the most brilliant, influential, and iconoclastic figure in his field in the post-World War II era.


His lectures were famous for demonstrating how to reason about physics. Amazingly many of his lectures are online – and they are fascinating.


Click here to access the text and recordings of a huge number of his lectures. 


But click here and have a look at some videos from the early 1960s of Feynman giving a series of lectures at Caltech.

Image from article
Evidence for ‘Near-Ambient’ Superconductivity Found in Lutetium Hydride

Researchers at the University of Rochester have observed superconductivity at 20 °C (294 K) in a nitrogen-doped lutetium hydride under a pressure of 1 GPa (10 kbar).


This is amazing research that raises hopes that a material that superconducts at ambient conditions may soon be found.


Read more at PhysicsWorld

Image supplied by WaterReuse
Discounted Online Access Available to WSAA Members

The Annual WateReuse Symposium is the most important global conference about water recycling. It attracts water professionals and reuse practitioners globally to collaborate, share findings, and envision the future of water reuse.


The 2023 Symposium took place in Atlanta, Georgia, USA, on 6-8 March.


WSAA members and associates can receive a $300 USD member discount off the marked price for recorded sessions by entering the discount code “WSAA23Symp” upon registration.


Register here for access, launching April 10, 2023.

Image from website
Ozwater23 –   Australia’s Premier Water Exhibition and Conference

10 – 12 May 2023 | Sydney


First held as the Federal Convention in 1964, Ozwater is now Australia’s premier water event and the largest water conference and exhibition in the Southern Hemisphere.


Ozwater supports a program of speakers, papers, and workshops by and for people working with water to promote excellence, networking and international engagement.


Find out more and register here


Research Data Australia

Find, access, and re-use data from over one hundred Australian research organisations

Australian Government – GrantConnect
Forecast and current Australian Government grant opportunities
WSAA Codes
New SEQ Code Website launched

Amazing Trove of Water Industry Research!

UK Water Industry Research have made their trove of research available without charge.


Click here to go to the UKWIR library


Click here to start your journey