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Burden N.,NC3Rs | Aschberger K.,European Commission - Joint Research Center Ispra | Chaudhry Q.,University of Chester | Clift M.J.D.,University of Fribourg | And 7 more authors.
Nano Today | Year: 2016

Due to the plethora of nanomaterials being manufactured, it is crucial that their effects on human health are understood. It is not feasible to assess the safety of all nanomaterials using animal-based toxicity tests. There are also scientific, business, legislative and ethical drivers to reconsider the use of such toxicity tests. Utilising non-traditional methods has the potential to improve the human relevance of nanosafety assessment, reduce the numbers of animals that are used, and shift the paradigm to a '21st century' approach that exploits recent scientific and technological advances. This article considers how application of the 3Rs principles can be used as a framework to support and guide this paradigm shift in the short, medium and long-term. Bringing the community together to facilitate the transition is necessary to ensure that tangible impacts are made on the efficiency and robustness of the nanosafety assessment process. © 2016 The Authors.

Agency: European Commission | Branch: FP7 | Program: CP-TP | Phase: KBBE.2012.2.5-01 | Award Amount: 11.91M | Year: 2013

The AQUAVALENS consortium has brought together SMEs, Industries, Universities and Research Institutes with the mission of protecting the health of European Citizens from contaminated drinking water and water used in food processing. We will achieve this by developing sustainable technologies to enable water system managers whether in large or small water systems or within food growers or manufacturers to better control the safety of their water supplies. The work of the project is divided into four main clusters of work packages that sequentially lead to the development of appropriate technologies. These four clusters are: 1. Platform targets, 2. Platform development, 3. Field studies in European drinking water systems, and 4. Improving Public Health through safer water. In cluster 1 we shall generate new knowledge on the molecular genetics of viral, bacterial and parasitic waterborne pathogens. This will enable us to identify gene targets for the identification, and characterisation of these pathogens, that will also enable the determination of their virulence for humans. In cluster 2 we shall use the knowledge gained to develop new technologies that integrate sample preparation and detection into a single platform. These platforms will then be subject to a rigorous process of validation and standardisation. In cluster 3 we will use the validated platforms to undertake a series of field studies in large and small drinking water systems, and in food production. These field studies will generate new knowledge about the risk to public health from waterborne pathogens in Europe and also test the value of the technologies in the field. Finally in cluster 4 we test how these technologies can be used to protect human health, though improving the effectiveness of Water Safety Plans, adaptation to climate change, and control of outbreaks of infectious disease. We will also determine the sustainability and potential economic impacts of these technologies.

Agency: GTR | Branch: EPSRC | Program: | Phase: Training Grant | Award Amount: 3.68M | Year: 2014

The UK water sector is experiencing a period of profound change with both public and private sector actors seeking evidence-based responses to a host of emerging global, regional and national challenges which are driven by demographic, climatic, and land use changes as well as regulatory pressures for more efficient delivery of services. Although the UK Water Industry is keen to embrace the challenge and well placed to innovate, it lacks the financial resources to support longer term skills and knowledge generation. A new cadre of engineers is required for the water industry to not only make our society more sustainable and profitable but to develop a new suite of goods and services for a rapidly urbanising world. EPSRC Centres for Doctoral Training provide an ideal mechanism with which to remediate the emerging shortfall in advanced engineering skills within the sector. In particular, the training of next-generation engineering leaders for the sector requires a subtle balance between industrial and academic contributions; calling for a funding mechanism which privileges industrial need but provides for significant academic inputs to training and research. The STREAM initiative draws together five of the UKs leading water research and training groups to secure the future supply of advanced engineering professionals in this area of vital importance to the UK. Led by the Centre for Water Science at Cranfield University, the consortium also draws on expertise from the Universities of Sheffield and Bradford, Imperial College London, Newcastle University, and the University of Exeter. STREAM offers Engineering Doctorate and PhD awards through a programme which incorporates; (i) acquisition of advanced technical skills through attendance at masters level training courses, (ii) tuition in the competencies and abilities expected of senior engineers, and (iii) doctoral level research projects. Our EngD students spend at least 75% of their time working in industry or on industry specified research problems. Example research topics to be addressed by the schemes students include; delivering drinking water quality and protecting public health; reducing carbon footprint; reducing water demand; improving service resilience and reliability; protecting natural water bodies; reducing sewer flooding, developing and implementing strategies for Integrated Water Management, and delivering new approaches to characterising, communicating and mitigating risk and uncertainty. Fifteen studentships per year for five years will be offered with each position being sponsored by an industrial partner from the water sector. A series of common attendance events will underpin programme and group identity. These include, (i) an initial three-month taught programme based at Cranfield University, (ii) an open invitation STREAM symposium and (iii) a Challenge Week to take place each summer including transferrable skills training and guest lectures from leading industrialists and scientists. Outreach activities will extend participation in the programme, pursue collaboration with associated initiatives, promote brand awareness of the EngD qualification, and engage with a wide range of stakeholder groups (including the public) to promote engagement with and understanding of STREAM activities. Strategic direction for the programme will be formulated through an Industry Advisory Board comprising representatives from professional bodies, employers, and regulators. This body will provide strategic guidance informed by sector needs, review the operational aspects of the taught and research components as a quality control, and conduct foresight studies of relevant research areas. A small International Steering Committee will ensure global relevance for the programme. The total cost of the STREAM programme is £9m, £2.8m of which is being invested by industry and £1.8m by the five collaborating universities. Just under £4.4m is being requested from EPSRC

Murray D.,WRc plc | Dempsey P.,WRc plc | Lloyd P.,UK Environment Agency
Hydrobiologia | Year: 2011

Copper poses a risk to the integrity of the Thames Estuary and Marshes special protection area (SPA) as bioaccumulation within the food chain takes place. This article describes some of the investigations carried out for the Habitats Directive Review of Consents including a review of the methods used to analyse copper samples; analysis of the long-term data sets gathered by the Environment Agency; and modelling work. Mean dissolved copper levels for 2002-2006 are below the 5 μg/l Environmental Quality Standard. Catchment modelling was used to establish total copper budgets both for sources discharging directly to the Tideway and for sources throughout the Thames catchment including sewage treatment works (STWs), industries, non-urban, and urban runoff. The total copper load to the Tideway was estimated to be 36 tonnes/year with 52% of this attributed to STWs. Modelling was used to explore the mixing, transport and fate of copper throughout the estuary taking account of partitioning and the interaction with sediments. The modelling showed how the fourth Water Industry Asset Management Programme (AMP4) improvements to the main London STWs would affect copper concentrations throughout the estuary. © 2011 Springer Science+Business Media B.V.

McGrath S.P.,Rothamsted Research | Chambers B.J.,ADAS Gleadthorpe | Taylor M.J.,ADAS Gleadthorpe | Carlton-Smith C.H.,WRc plc
Plant and Soil | Year: 2012

Background and aims: Increasing the concentrations of the essential micronutrient Zn in staple crops like grain is desirable for human nutrition. We investigated the long-term ability of municipal treatment works sewage sludge, liquid sewage sludge and ZnCO3 applied to soils to increase Zn in in wheat grain (Triticum aestivum L.) in a number of field experiments conducted on different soils. Methods: We used six long-term field experiments that were set up on contrasting soils in England and the target applications were built up between 1994 and 1997. Topsoil samples and harvested grain samples were taken and air dried in 1999, 2001, 2003 and 2005. Relationships between grain Zn concentrations and soil properties and changes with time were examined. Results: Wheat grain Zn concentrations increased with soil Zn concentrations in a similar log-log relationship with all of the Zn sources tested. Comparing total or extractable Zn in soil as explanatory factors showed little benefit of using extractable Zn measurements to predict grain concentrations over total Zn. Additional factors such as soil pH or organic carbon did not explain much more of the variation in grain Zn in our experiments. However, grain Zn concentrations did not respond at all at a site with pH 7. 7. Conclusions: Sewage sludge applications to soil can increase grain Zn concentrations for at least 2 to 8 years after application and has similar effectiveness to ZnCO3. © 2012 Springer Science+Business Media B.V.

O'Donoghue N.,Queen's University of Belfast | O'Donoghue N.,WRc plc | Phillips D.H.,Queen's University of Belfast | Nicell C.,House of Control
Water Environment Research | Year: 2015

The advancement of telemetry control for the water industry has increased the difficulty of managing large volumes of nuisance alarms (i.e., alarms that do not require a response). The aim of this study was to identify and reduce the number of nuisance alarms that occur for Northern Ireland (NI) Water by carrying out alarm duration analysis to determine the appropriate length of persistence (an advanced alarm management tool) that could be applied. All data were extracted from TelemWeb (NI Water's telemetry monitoring system) and analyzed in Excel. Over a 6-week period, an average of 40 000 alarms occurred per week. The alarm duration analysis, which has never been implemented before by NI Water, found that an average of 57% of NI Water alarms had a duration of ,5 minutes. Applying 5-minute persistence, therefore, could prevent an average 26 816 nuisance alarms per week. Most of these alarms were from wastewater assets.

Doncaster C.P.,University of Southampton | Davey A.J.H.,WRc plc | Dixon P.M.,Iowa State University
Environmental and Ecological Statistics | Year: 2014

Estimation of design power requires knowledge of treatment effect size and error variance, which are often unavailable for ecological studies. In the absence of prior information on these parameters, investigators can compare an alternative to a reference design for the same treatment(s) in terms of its precision at equal sensitivity. This measure of relative performance calculates the fractional error variance allowed of the alternative for it to just match the power of the reference. Although first suggested as a design tool in the 1950s, it has received little analysis and no uptake by environmental scientists or ecologists. We calibrate relative performance against the better known criterion of relative efficiency, in order to reveal its unique advantage in controlling sensitivity when considering the precision of estimates. The two measures differ strongly for designs with low replication. For any given design, relative performance at least doubles with each doubling of effective sample size. We show that relative performance is robustly approximated by the ratio of reference to alternative α quantiles of the F distribution, multiplied by the ratio of alternative to reference effective sample sizes. The proxy is easy to calculate, and consistent with exact measures. Approximate or exact measurement of relative performance serves a useful purpose in enumerating trade-offs between error variance and error degrees of freedom when considering whether to block random variation or to sample from a more or less restricted domain. © 2013 Springer Science+Business Media New York.

Williams J.B.,University of Portsmouth | Clarkson C.,University of Portsmouth | Mant C.,University of Portsmouth | Drinkwater A.,WRc Plc | May E.,University of Portsmouth
Water Research | Year: 2012

Fat, oil and grease deposits (FOG) in sewers are a major problem and can cause sewer overflows, resulting in environmental damage and health risks. Often simplistically portrayed as cooling of fats, recent research has suggested that saponification may be involved in FOG formation. However there are still questions about the mechanisms effecting transformations in sewers and the role and source of metal cations involved in saponification. This study characterises FOG deposits from pumping stations, sewers and sewage works from different water hardness zones across the UK. The sites all had previous problems with FOG and most catchments contained catering and food preparation establishments. The FOG deposits were highly variable with moisture content ranging from 15 to 95% and oil content from 0 to 548 mg/g. Generally the pumping stations had lower moisture content and higher fat content, followed by the sewers then the sewage works. The water in contact with the FOG had high levels of oil (mean of about 800 mg/L) and this may indicate poor kitchen FOG management practices. FOG fatty acid profiles showed a transformation from unsaturated to saturated forms compared to typical cooking oils. This seems to relate to ageing in the sewer network or the mechanism of formation, as samples from pumping stations had higher proportions of C18:1 compared to C16. This may be due to microbial transformations by bacteria such as Clostridium sp. in a similar process to adipocere formation. There was an association between water hardness and increased Ca levels in FOG along with harder deposits and higher melting points. A link between FOG properties and water hardness has not been previously reported for field samples. This may also be due to microbial processes, such as biocalcification. By developing the understanding of these mechanisms it may be possible to more effectively control FOG deposits, especially when combined with promotion of behavioural change. © 2012 Elsevier Ltd.

Zhang H.,University of Nottingham | Zhang H.,WRc Plc | Zanchetta P.,University of Nottingham | Bradley K.J.,University of Nottingham | Gerada C.,University of Nottingham
IEEE Transactions on Industry Applications | Year: 2010

This paper presents a novel low-intrusion load and efficiency evaluation method for in-service induction motors based on vibration measurements. This method enhances the traditional vibration analysis by providing motor load and efficiency information in addition to the mechanical health information. The application is in multimotor plants, where individual motor monitoring is too expensive to implement yet where motor operating conditions need to be known to work at improved plant efficiency. The vibration signature of the machine, measured by an accelerometer and processed by fast Fourier transform (FFT) is used to extract frequencies defining shaft speed and the supply frequency. This data, in conjunction with the basic motor performance data, enables the determination of the actual load and indirectly, the efficiency which the motor is operating at. For motors supplied form a variable-speed drive (VSD), the loss segregation method is used to yield the motor losses indirectly and thus, the efficiency. © 2010 IEEE.

Agency: GTR | Branch: Innovate UK | Program: | Phase: Feasibility Study | Award Amount: 47.08K | Year: 2012

Water supply companies are challenged with reducing leakage and are slowly renewing their pipes, but in the short term they need to find, and fix, leaks. The quicker that they can find a leak the less water is lost. This feasibility study will look at bringing together technologies from the water, oil and military sector to enable leaks in small diameter water distribution pipes to be found much quicker and more accurately than currently possible. The device would be deployed into live networks, without disruption to customers, where it would listen for leaks and then mark these on to an accurate map of the pipes. This project is being undertaken by the UK based WRc, and would be of immediate benefit to the UK water companies, but it has world-wide application with signifcant export potential. If successful the developed technology could, in one year, save more water than is needed every day for a city the size of Sheffield.

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