Our aim is to conduct preliminary examinations on how best to configure a novel waste-water treatment system for applications in handling various wastewater types and for water harvesting. Freshwater is a limited resource (less than 2.5% of all water). With increasing population pressures and more stringent water regulations, effective and efficient sewage treatment is a priority with respect to not only removing waste and recycling freshwater but also for reclaiming any useful nutrients (e.g., phosphorus, a declining resource, heavily required for agriculture). Our ultimate vision is to design a sewage treatment system which is affordable for use by various consumers (e.g., households, hotels, water treatment plants).
Conducting experimental trials to optimize such facilities is expensive and time consuming. As an alternative, we will use computer models (mathematical simulations) to better understand the function of bacteria involved in removal of nutrients and treatment of waste-water in the system. In order to calibrate the real system against model predictions, frequent data collection at various points on the system is required. A cost-effective route for this data acquisition is through deployment of biosensors. Here, we will develop a preliminary design for biosensors to attain the required data types. We will ensure that all our developments are in keeping with UK and EU regulations.
Public perceptions towards such systems are also critical for their adoption. We will conduct surveys and expert interviews to gauge public, community and industry interest. Using results from this project, we will endeavour to secure follow-on funding for the development and roll out of our system.
This project combines expertise from civil and environmental engineering (treatment system design and construction), mathematics and biology (bacterial process modelling), electronic engineering (biosensor design), law (legal framework behind water monitoring and control) and psychology (public attitudes towards water use and conservation).