August Research News
Research Newsletter – August 2023
Welcome to our August 2023 Research and Innovation Newsletter.
There is everything you could possibly need to know in this newsletter. There is even an article about how to resuscitate worms. Yes, it’s true. Look below if you don’t believe me.
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 September 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

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Global Visitor Centres for Purified Recycled Water
WSAA’s new report, Global visitor centres for purified recycled water, provides a tour in images and text of some leading examples, globally, of visitor centres and visitor tours.
Examples include centres in Singapore, San Diego, Orange County, Perth and Hampton Roads.
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Managing Wet Weather Overflows – New Guidelines

Following six years of work by a broad industry partnership, WSAA has published a new guideline for managing wet weather overflows in Australia and New Zealand’s water industry.


The guideline provides a framework for water utilities to develop their wet weather strategy and improve the management of overflows in small, large and complex systems. 


Read the guidelines at WSAA

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Sydney Water Starts Work on New Advanced Water Recycling Centre
As part of the new the Western Parkland City development, Sydney Water has begun work on what it says will be one of the most advanced wastewater recycling facilities in the southern hemisphere.
The plant will primarily use reverse osmosis and service up to 400,000 dwellings in the Western Sydney Aerotropolis Growth area.
Sydney Water’s modelling found that the AWRC could divert up to 30,000 tonnes of organic waste from landfill per year by 2030.
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Water Back: A Framework for Future Research Sovereignty

This is really interesting work from an international collaboration of researchers, including Ass. Prof. Bradley Moggridge from the University of Canberra.


This review of research by Indigenous and non-Indigenous writers traces the patterns of Indigenous Water relationships and rematriation across themes of colonialism, climate change, justice, health, rights, responsibilities, governance and cosmology.


The review reveals a range of, what for most of us is, new language and concepts developed to help reframe the discussion about water and the role of indigenous people in its management.


Rematriation, Indigenous Water Research Sovereignty, Land Back, Water Back. The list of recently developed concepts in this paper is long – but it’s worth the read. 


Water Back, for instance, ‘means the return of Water and kin to Indigenous governance in a way that empowers the resurgent Indigenous Water relationships…’


These are important concepts, and this is important work.


Read the paper here at Water Alternatives

Energy and the Circular economy

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New Technique Can Extract and Recycle Phosphorous from Municipal Waste
Researchers from the University of British Columbia have used a combination of heat, water and phase separation, to create a cost-effective method to concentrate and recover phosphorous from wastewater sludge.
The process converts organic components of the municipal wastewater sludge into a petroleum-like biocrude and concentrates the phosphorous into a solid residue called hydrochar. This hydrochar can have a total phosphorus about 100 times higher than that of raw sludge, making it comparable to the phosphate rock used in commercial fertilisers.
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Researchers Develop New Approach to Nitrate Removal by Combining Fungi and Bacteria

Researchers from the Chinese Ministry of Natural Resources have identified a natural fungus-bacteria consortium that metabolises nitrate particularly efficiently and consistently.


Fungi-bacteria combinations have so far been used mainly for the fermentation of food and beverages, but this new research is looking at their potential to treat water. 


So far they have had success in identifying potential bacterial-fungal groups, but the results are yet to find a practical application. 


Read more at PhysOrg

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New Method to Remove PFAS From Water

Researchers the University of Illinois and Saarland University have developed a new electrochemical method that can remove PFAS from water and then efficiently release it again for destruction.


The method allows fluorinated contaminants to be collected, identified and then destroyed without needing to incinerate the filter.


Read more at PhysOrg

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New Method Could Break Down PFAS Left on Water Treatment Filters

Researchers from the University of Missouri have demonstrated an innovative method using thermal induction heating to rapidly break down PFAS left on the surface of two solid materials.


The materials, including granular activated carbon and anion exchange resins had been used to filter PFAS from municipal water systems. The team’s goal is to clean the materials before they are properly disposed.



Liveability and health
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New Optimised Nanoclay – A New Tool for Chemists

Researchers at the University of Missouri have developed new materials called nanoclays.


Nanoclays can form chemical layers that can be customised to perform specific tasks.


For instance, positively charged nanoclays can attract PFAS which are negatively charged. Meanwhile, if the nanoclay is made to be negatively charged, it can adhere to heavy metal ions such as the toxic cadmium.


Read more at Science Times


Read the paper here is ASC Publications

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Material Behaviour is the Key to Understanding Discolouration
Researchers led by the University of Sheffield have proposed a framework for integrating consideration of sediment and cohesive material behaviour in the treatment of discoloured water.
The key innovation is a method for comparing intervention strategies to ensure the best return on investment.
Working with the community
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Most Research On PFAS Harms Is Unpublicised

Interesting research from the Green Science Project that found that most studies finding links between PFAS exposure and human health harms are published without a press release and receive little or no media coverage.
Papers without press releases included studies reporting significant links between PFAS exposure and risks of preterm birth, ovarian and breast cancers, osteoporosis, and gestational diabetes, received no or very little news coverage or social media posts.
Lots of food for thought.
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Mental Health Impacts of Inadequate Drinking Water Services
Researchers from Aalto University in Finland have reviewed the existing published works assessing the psychological impacts of deficient drinking water services in low-income settings.
The review found that poor quality and quantity of water was one of the most important psychosocial stressors to users. Surprisingly, however, various kinds of water-service-related inequalities (e.g. between genders, communities or socio-economic groups) showed up as equally significant stressors.
The research also indicated that that insufficient drinking water services may predispose to common mental disorders particularly through external stress.
Some interesting things
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How Ultra Low-Cost Solar Can Unlock Australia’s Renewable Energy Superpower

The Australian Renewable Energy Agency (ARENA) has launched a white paper on the potential of ultra low-cost solar (ULCS) for Australia and the world.


The paper details why ultra low-cost solar is critical for reducing electricity costs and decarbonising hard-to-abate sectors such as industry and transport, and how it can offer exciting green export opportunities for Australia.


Read the paper here

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Water Reuse Essential Guide
This is an interesting article by Aquatech that is designed to provide an overview of water reuse processes – including direct and indirect potable reuse – as well as the technologies and guidelines.
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Secret to Durability of Roman Concrete Discovered
Researchers from MIT have proposed that Roman concrete was self-repairing, and it could naturally close cracks in as little as two weeks.
The researchers have determined that the Romans heated lime ash to high temperatures to create what is known today as “quicklime.
While the process of heating reduced curing and setting time, the lime clasts would travel into any open spaces like cracks and, with the addition of water, close the cracks over.
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A Transistor Made of Wood

Researchers in Sweden have built a transistor out of a plank of wood by incorporating electrically conducting polymers throughout the material in a way that retains space for an ionically conductive electrolyte.


The new technique makes it possible, in principle, to use wood as a template for numerous electronic components. 


The researchers stress that they didn’t develop the wood transistor with any specific applications in mind. “We did it because we could,”


Read more at PhysicsWorld

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46,000 Year Old Worm Revived
Researchers led by the Zoological Institute of Russian Academy of Sciences have recently resuscitated a species of roundworm found in the Siberian permafrost.
The nematodes, Panagrolaimus kolymaensis, had remained deep frozen in the soil since the late Pleistocene (46,000 years).
The nematode apparently entered cryptobiosis, a state where the organism is able to halt its metabolism in unfavourable conditions, like the extreme cold temperatures of Siberia.
AWA – TAS Where the Waters Meet Conference 2023
Change is here: a focus on practicalities
17 Aug 2023, 7:30am – 6.00pm AEST,
Launceston, Tasmania
AWA – North Queensland Conference 2023

15 Aug 2023 – 16 Aug, 2023|8.30am – 5.00pm AEST|

The Ville Resort-Casino, Townsville


This year’s North Queensland Conference in Townsville will explore the theme of “Water in the North Driving Opportunity and Prosperity”.

AWA – SA State Conference 2023
21 Sep 2023, 8.30am – 6.00pm
Adelaide Convention Centre
The theme for the Conference is Water – The Foundation for Sustainable Development.
8th ANZ Cyanobacteria Workshop
26th & 27th September 2023,
Monash University, Melbourne
Held every two years, this event showcases new research advancements and provides a forum for water supply managers, health officials, ecologists, modellers, toxicologists and research experts in cyanobacterial identification and management to meet and discuss all things cyanobacteria.
AWA – NT Water in the Bush Conference and Awards Dinner 2023
12 Oct 2023, 1:00pm – 5:00pm ACST
Darwin Convention Centre
Now in its 34th year, our Water in the Bush Conference is the Territory’s premier annual water conference which connects water professionals, the community and industry.
9 Nov 2023, 8.30am – 5.30pm AEST
Hilton Brisbane
The QWater’23 Conference themed “Making This Decade Matter” will focus on the critical period ahead for water in Queensland
CECE 2023 Conference
(Circular Economy for Climate and Environment)
26-27 September 2023
Aerial Function Centre, University of Technology Sydney 
Extended abstract submission deadline: 2 July 2023
The Circular Economy For Climate and Environment Conference will be held in Sydney in September 2023. Held over two days, the conference will explore recent advances in technologies and industrial approaches with a focus on Nutrient recovery and reuse for sustainable futures.

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

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