The development and implementation of sensors and treatment technologies for freshwater systems in India

Lead Research Organisation: University of the West of England
Department Name: Faculty of Health and Life Sciences

Abstract

The Rationale:
We need freshwater for agriculture, industry and human existence. Access to good quality water is essential for sustainable socio-economic growth. Freshwater ecosystems are finite and globally threatened by increasing environmental degradation caused by destructive land-use and water-management practices and increasing industrialization. The scale of socio-economic activities, urbanisation, industrial operations and agricultural practices in India has reached the point where watersheds across India are being severely impacted. For example, gross organic pollution in India's freshwater resources are common place, resulting in severe toxic burdens, depletion of dissolved oxygen levels and severe pathogenic contamination. Eutrophication, arising from enrichment with nutrients caused by sewage and agro-industrial effluents and agricultural run-off, greatly impact on lakes and impounded rivers. Groundwater bodies are susceptible to leaching from waste dumps, mining and industrial discharges. Finally, despite their potential threat, the distribution, scale and levels of newly emerging water contaminants, e.g. endocrine disrupting chemicals (EDCs), are largely unknown. We must address the consequences of both present and future contaminant threats to water catchments if we are to provide action that provide solutions at all levels. The implementation of sensors for monitoring important biological and chemical parameters, through time and space, is the indispensable basis for accurate assessments whilst the deployment of state-of-the-art water treatment technologies for the removal of pollutants will enhance water protection and security.

The Proposition:
Firstly; improve our ability to determine the presence of pollution in water courses and the development of novel sensing approaches to help reduce or prevent pollution at source. We will do this via;

The deployment and implementation of new in situ fluorescence sensors that have been developed by UWE, Bristol and Chelsea Technology Group (CTG) as part of a current NERC Grant (NE/K007572/1)

The development of a novel bacterial bio-sensor using bio-reporter strains that was first conceived in India (Bose Institute), for the detection of endocrine disrupting chemicals in water bodies and effluents.

Secondly; develop novel approaches to reduce or prevent pollution detected above at the source via;

The development of novel off-grid treatment technologies, for rural and urban areas, to remove pollutants (sensed above) based on ultrafiltration membrane technology and bacterial remediation using bio-reactors.

Longer-term Impact: To understand the impact of sewage contamination and the bacterial quality of freshwater catchments in India. To quantify changes in sewage contamination levels through time and space and to understand how these changes are affected by land use and effluent discharges. Our fluorescence sensor will be used to identify, monitor and detect bacterial contamination from sewage discharges entering waters at a catchment scale, including urbanised areas. To develop a bacterial sensor, using bio-reporter strains, for the detection of endocrine disrupting chemicals in discharges and freshwaters. We will also assess the feasibility of the catabolic potential of these biosensor strains for bioreactor-based remediation of EDCs and implement an off-grid UF membrane technology platform for the treatment of bacterial contamination. This UK/India partnership will involve the deployment of UK developed technologies in India and the subsequent development of Indian inspired sensors and treatment approaches in the UK.

Planned Impact

Impact will be maximised at a community, economic and academic level. It is ultimately envisaged that the outcomes from the project will be provide solutions to water quality issues to local authorities, policy makers, stakeholder and local communities. Project partners will be fully engaged will work closely with community leaders and members who will play a key role in promoting engagement with the project from design to implementation. Monthly community workshops will raise awareness about water quality and the needs/benefits of good catchment management with a view to promoting water security awareness and importance. Our work with local communities, with the support of Frank Water, will work and liaise with small farmers.

Research partners will hold various workshops in both the UK (Bristol) and India (Kolkata) to engage stakeholders and community members for the design of our monitoring strategy, treatment technologies and future sensor development. Both Bose Institute (BI) and University of the West of England, Bristol (UWE) will produce marketing and educational material for local communities, schools and councils. We will also make short YouTube videos (educational and awareness) raising issues such as water quality monitoring and the technologies for water treatment, all of this will link to issues relating to nutrient recovery, wastewater recycling, water savings and water security.

UWE will organise a project specific stakeholders' kick-off meeting in Bristol to bring together the research teams from India and the UK to openly discuss and disseminate progress and project outcomes. This workshop will be in addition to the national workshops that are planned as part of the Newton Bhahba funding scheme. International impact will occur through dissemination of our work at specialist international conferences and workshops, specifically, at relevant IWA, International Sustainable Development, Faecal Management Sludge, and International Development conferences. We will publish (open access) via international peer reviewed journals such as Critical Reviews in Environmental Science and Technology, Water Research, Environmental Science and Technology.
A website for the research will be developed by the BI and UWE teams (hosted at UWE) where all details relating to our research will be uploaded for widespread dissemination. Progress reports, updates on pilot case studies and events will be shared via this website. This website will be made available to relevant stakeholders in India via the Bose Institute. Additional virtual tools will aid international dissemination via our partners which represent academia, charities, business and research institutes. Bose Institute UCL support, will engage with Brazilian media (newspapers, magazine and local television stations) and local media agencies will be invited to participate in project workshops/stakeholder consultation activities.

Regular updates of our project will be circulated to all partner institutions inviting for participation in project activities and outcomes where appropriate. This will support synergies and development of joint research at both BI and UWE. UWE and BI will disseminate key findings and influence scientists through existing postgraduate and undergraduate programmes (e.g. MSc in Biosensing Technology (University of Bristol and UWE).
 
Description We have developed

1) a system capable of treating fresh water that is contaminated with bacteria. This system can be implemented in a decentralised way to provide point of use water treatment. This system has undergione sucessful testing at UWE, Bristol and we are now preparing the technology for deployment to India.

2) a sesnor capable of monitoring biological contamination within freshwater systems. This sensor ca be deployed as part of a sensing network to provide real-time water quality information. This sensor has undegone testing at UWE, Bristol and also in India, alonmg the River Ganges. We are now preparing the sensor technology for deployment as part of a sesning network in India.
Exploitation Route We will implement the sesnor and treatment technologies with the aid of our UK partners (Frank Water, Chelsea Technologies, Portsmouth Aqua and Centrego Ltd) and also with our associated partners in India to further understand the operating challenges associated with the successful implementation of these technologies. If successful then it is envisaged that these technologies will be available for use by governments, NGO's and end users to improve water quality and ultimately peoples lives.
Sectors Agriculture, Food and Drink,Environment,Healthcare

URL https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8vbEb6sEEzs
 
Description We have been working with business, NGO an academic partners to develop sensing and treatment technologies to improve water quality. This has resulted in the development of two key technologies; 1) A water Quality Sensor (Chelsea Technologies) called the V-Lux The development of this sensor technology has led to real tangiable impact.This sensor has just been used as part of a water quality monitoring program for the length of the River Ganges (involving; UWE, Bristol, the Centre for Ecology and Hydrology. British Gelogical Survey, University of Manchester and the University of Birmingham) A prototype of this sensor was used by the Environment Agency to detect illegal discharges by Southern Water which ultimately led to a record fine of £126m (June 2019) for Southern Water issued by Ofwat for spills of wastewater into the environment from its sewage plants and for deliberately misreporting its performance.The Environment Agency has launched a criminal investigation into this case. 2) A water Treatment Technology for the production of drinking water (Portsmouth Aqua). This technology has successfully been tested within the UK by UWE, Bristol. The next phase of our work will see the deployment of this technology platform to India for further trials.
First Year Of Impact 2018
Sector Agriculture, Food and Drink,Communities and Social Services/Policy,Electronics,Environment,Healthcare
Impact Types Societal,Economic,Policy & public services

 
Description List of approved products for use in public water supply in the United Kingdom (DWI 56/4/1173)
Geographic Reach Multiple continents/international 
Policy Influence Type Influenced training of practitioners or researchers
Impact This project is in partnership with a commercial/Academic and NGO entities. This work has informed basic R&D that has allowed product development to help solve issues relating to water quality. The research aims are to develop technologies to better sense water quality and also to treat contaminated water ultimately, improving human health and the environment. Our research will help our partners provide the first world's networked fluorescence sensing network for monitoring water quality in India and also to implement a water treatment platform for the production of drinking water, all using UK technologies and engineering expertise. We are able to use this knowledge and new knowledge that we are creating, to inform our postgraduate and undergraduate teaching provision (particularly in relation to Sustainable Development Goals and to targeted UG PG courses, (MSci , MRes) 2017/18 and 2018/2019 intake. A spin off of our work is also the accreditation of the use of ECAS for the disinfection of drinking water. See page 19 of the LIST OF APPROVED PRODUCTS FOR USE IN PUBLIC WATER SUPPLY IN THE UNITED KINGDOM published by the Drinking Water Inspectorate (DWI 56/4/1173)
URL http://www.dwi.gov.uk/drinking-water-products/approved-products/soslistcurrent.pdf
 
Description New Sensor being used for monitoring water quality by the Environment Agency, NGO's and water companies
Geographic Reach National 
Policy Influence Type Influenced training of practitioners or researchers
Impact The new V-Lux sensor technology is being used to monitor water quality (sewage discharge into aquatic systems, biological contamination) by the environment agency, British Geological Survey,The Rivers Trust, and the Centre for Ecology and Hydrology.
 
Description Implementation of a Fluorescence Based Sensor for Investigating River Water Quality as a Function of Land Use
Amount £155,616 (GBP)
Organisation Chelsea Technologies Group 
Sector Private
Country United Kingdom
Start 10/2018 
End 09/2021
 
Title V-Lux Water Quaity Sensor Research Tool 
Description The only multi parameter fluorometer with integrated corrections for environmental interferences. VLux MiniSonde is a cost effective, multi-parameter sensor providing robust data collection for either UV or visible fluorescence monitoring. The miniature, high quality MiniSonde provides integrated corrections for multiple environmental parameters, with models suitable for monitoring: CDOM, Tryptophan and Algae. 
Type Of Material Improvements to research infrastructure 
Year Produced 2019 
Provided To Others? Yes  
Impact Used by the Environment Agency to mointor for sewage pollution in rivers and coastal systems. This sensor triggered the alarm for the illegal discarge of insufficiently treated sewage into bathing waters by Southern Water. This resulted in the issuing of a £126m fine by Ofwat in June 2019. 
URL https://chelsea.co.uk/products/vlux-minisonde/
 
Title New Sensor 
Description New Fluorescent based sensor (V-Lux) for monitoring bacterial activity in freshwater systems 
Type Of Technology Detection Devices 
Year Produced 2019 
Impact A new tool that can be used to assess bacterial quality of fresh waters 
URL https://www.chelsea.co.uk/products/marine-science/fluorometers/v-lux-multi-parameter-fluorometer
 
Title PAqua 1000D-2 Fresh Water Purifica?on System 
Description decentralised water treatment platform for producing drinking water 
Type Of Technology Physical Model/Kit 
Year Produced 2018 
Impact We have taken a concept to a minimum viable product 
URL http://www.portsmouthaqua.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/04/1000D-2.pdf
 
Description Business Engagment 
Form Of Engagement Activity A formal working group, expert panel or dialogue
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach Regional
Primary Audience Industry/Business
Results and Impact Recycling at Perseverance Works has improved by 7% since Professor Darren Reynolds and Dr Gillian Clayton from the Centre of Research in Biosciences at the University of the West of England confirmed that our water is just as high quality as bottled water.

Three taps were used for the analysis, in Units 18, 19 and 21. The water hardness, microbiological, chemical and metallic quality of the water were analysed by by an independent accredited drinking water laboratory: Wessex Water, in Bristol. Results confirmed that our tap water is comparable in quality to samples provided by leading bottled water brands Evian and Smartwater!

In 2019, our recycling saved 180 trees, 37,780 kg of CO2 and provided 23 meals for vulnerable people. Thanks to your efforts, we were given a Recycling Award from our recycling company Paper Round.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2020
URL http://www.perseveranceworks.co.uk/2020/03/pw-recycling-up-by-7/
 
Description Challenges for fresh water systems: sensors and treatment technologies 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an activity, workshop or similar
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Policymakers/politicians
Results and Impact One day workshop at the BOSE Institute Kolkata, India. Workshop addressed academics, NGO's and policymakers to discuss and explore some of the challenges that face India's freshwater systems.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2019
URL http://www.jcbose.ac.in/conferences
 
Description European Geophysical Union 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Professional Practitioners
Results and Impact Advancing understanding of hydrochemical and ecological processes controlling fate of natural organic matter, nutrients and pollutants in freshwater and engineered systems using state-of-the-art methods.
The last two decades have brought a major technological advancement in collection of water quality and biogeochemical data in rivers, lakes and engineered systems using automated in situ wet-chemistry analysers, optical sensors and lab-on-a-chip instruments. Furthermore, our ability to characterise different fractions of natural organic matter has increased thanks to a range of analytical methods e.g. fluorescence and absorbance spectroscopy, mass spectrometry and chromatography combined with new data mining tools (Self-organising maps, PARAFAC analysis). Matching the water quality measurement interval with the timescales of hydrological responses (from minutes to hours) led to discovery of new hydrochemical and biogeochemical patterns in streams along with improved understanding of the underlying processes e.g. concentration-discharge hysteresis and diurnal cycling. We are now at the frontier of further advancing this understanding for a wide range of solutes and particulates in streams, rivers and lakes using rapidly developing technology of wet-chemistry analysers, optical sensors and lab-on-the-chip instruments. We need to understand better how organic matter links with other biogeochemical cycles (e.g. phosphorus, nitrogen, sulphur and iron) and processes in aquatic systems. In particular there is a growing need to monitor the advances in application of novel organic matter characterisation tools, understanding the origins, pathways, transformations and environmental fate of organic matter in aquatic environments and identification of robust numerical and statistical tools for data processing and modelling. This is an exciting opportunity to gain new knowledge of hydrochemical and ecological functioning of freshwater and engineered systems.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2019
URL https://meetingorganizer.copernicus.org/EGU2019/session/32089
 
Description Indo-UK workshop on monitoring and analysis strategies for anthropogenic pollutants in environmental and waste waters 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an activity, workshop or similar
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Professional Practitioners
Results and Impact Indo-UK workshop on monitoring and analysis strategies for anthropogenic pollutants in environmental and waste waters. Disciplines: Environmental Science; Environmental Chemistry; Analytical Chemistry; Water Quality Regulation and Monitoring. Venue: Royal Orchid Convention Centre, Bangalore, India Under the Researcher Links scheme offered within the Newton Fund, the British Council, in partnership with the Royal Society of Chemistry, will be holding a four day workshop on the above theme at the Royal Orchid Convention Centre, Bangalore, India on 12-15 November 2018. The British Council Researchers Links' programme provides opportunities for early career researchers (ECRs) from the UK and internationally to interact, learn from each other and explore opportunities for building long-lasting research collaborations. During the workshop, ECRs have the opportunity to present their research in the form of a poster presentation and discuss it with established researchers and other ECRs. One of the main focuses of the workshop is establishing and building on links for future collaborations.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2018
URL https://www.hutton.ac.uk/events/indo-uk-workshop-monitoring-and-analysis-strategies-anthropogenic-po...
 
Description Industry/Policy Maker Water Sensing Conference (London) 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an activity, workshop or similar
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach National
Primary Audience Industry/Business
Results and Impact Professor Reynolds chaired this conference (Institute for Mechanical Engineers)

Chelsea Technologies is pleased to announce the introduction of a new conference -Tryptophan Fluorescence 2020 on the 23rd January 2020.

The conference offers the opportunity for practitioners and aquatic scientists to learn about the latest advancements in the exciting field of Tryptophan.

Following 50 years of research on aquatic fluorescing organic matter in ground, surface and wastewater systems, attention turned to Tryptophan, a new and promising approach to water quality monitoring in aquatic systems.

While initial research over a decade ago focussed on correlating Tryptophan Fluorescence to other water quality markers, such as Biological Oxygen Demand (BOD5), or as an indicator of sewage/faecal contamination in waterways, it is now increasingly being recognised as a valuable water quality parameter in its own right. Recent research demonstrates that Tryptophan Fluorescence correlates to bacterial activity prior to cell growth.

The Tryptophan conference will feature talks from academic pioneers, cutting-edge researchers and leading industrialists, who together have driven world leading science and innovation that could lead to a paradigm shift in the way we monitor our aquatic systems.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2020
URL https://chelsea.co.uk/tryptophan-fluorescence-2020/
 
Description Interntional Workshop (Brazil) - Invited Keynote talk 
Form Of Engagement Activity A formal working group, expert panel or dialogue
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Professional Practitioners
Results and Impact The overall aim of the project is to develop a sustainable and affordable technology model to provide
recovery of nutrients, water and energy from waste streams for the development of organic farming
and rural communities.
The specific objectives of the project are:
- Identify the traditional practices of organic agriculture, including the reuse of water, energy use, and
the management of the natural resources, such as solar irradiation and manure as soil conditioners
and fertilizers;
- Evaluate the efficiency and sustainability of the water-waste-energy-food (WWEF) system model to recovery of nutrients, energy and water from farming waste streams;
- Increase the capacity of small farmers and cooperatives, in particular women and youth, to develop
sustainable technologies for organic farming;
- Support policy and appropriate regulatory instruments to enhance rural development.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2020
URL https://wwef-nexus.org/
 
Description School Visit (Bristol) 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach Local
Primary Audience Schools
Results and Impact Primamry School (Bristol) visit for science week - The importance of water to us all
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2020
 
Description Schools Visit (Bristol) 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach Local
Primary Audience Schools
Results and Impact Primamry School visit for science week - The importance of water to us all
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2020
 
Description Sensors for Water Interest Group 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach National
Primary Audience Industry/Business
Results and Impact The workshop will provide an update on the drivers coming through from UK environmental monitoring policy, and how sensor and communications technologies are addressing these
challenging requirements for permanent, semi-permanent and portable monitoring systems, both in the sensing and communications hardware and data delivery to the client. The workshop will include presentations from organisations implementing policy, monitoring system users and providers, and academic presentations on novel remote monitoring systems.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2019
URL http://www.swig.org.uk/wp-content/uploads/2018/07/Remote-environmental-monitoring-draft-lflt-v8.pdf
 
Description The UK Disinfection Forum (WRc Swindon) 
Form Of Engagement Activity A formal working group, expert panel or dialogue
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach National
Primary Audience Professional Practitioners
Results and Impact All UK water companies hold regular meetings for the disinfection of drinking water via a technical committee. I was invited to talk about our decentralised technoloical approach to drinking water production.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2020