Two new videos for the Sullied Sediments project

We are delighted to share with you two new videos produced especially for the Sullied Sediments project.

We worked with the amazing team at Nova Studios in Hull to create two films which together provide an overview of the Sullied Sediments project and profile two people who are part of our international, multidisciplinary partnership.

In ‘Sullied Sediments Explained‘ we show how the Sullied Sediments team is working to better assess, treat and prevent chemical pollution in our waterways. The video explains that we have determined that certain chemicals, including those on the European Union’s Watch List, are present in our rivers and canals at concentrations that may be harmful to wildlife. It shows how new treatment methods, which have been developed in the lab, are now being tested in wastewater facilities. In addition, the video explains how our RiverDip citizen science programme is raising awareness about river pollution and helping people to take action to prevent it.

Dean and Emma from the University of Hull

In our ‘People in Focus‘ video, we introduce Els and Tim, both of whom are actively involved in the Sullied Sediments project. Els works for the Flanders Environment Agency as a water quality expert. A trained biologist, Els speaks passionately about the health of our waterways and why it needs to be improved for the benefit of wildlife, people and our communities. Tim is our most dedicated citizen science volunteer. He talks about his concern for the state of the environment and about what we are passing on to future generations and explains why he decided to get involved in the project.

Els talking about why the health of our waterways is so important to her.

In addition to helping us communicate about the project, these videos have been entered into the North Sea Region’s video competition. Our funder will announce the winners of this contest at the North Sea Region conference in November so we are eagerly awaiting the results.

Both videos can be accessed on the Sullied Sediments You Tube channel, where we have other videos that you may be of interest. Visit: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCUmQeGzXk0zKHIlQxKK48Fg

River Dip Workshop Now Fully Booked!

After an eight month hiatus due to Covid-19, we are pleased to announce the continuation of our volunteer training workshops as part of our RiverDip citizen science programme.

Our colleagues at the Flemish Environment Agency have organised a workshop for up to 25 participants in Aalst on Monday, 12 October 2020.

The workshop will be delivered in English by Professor Mark Lorch from the University of Hull. Mark has been heading up the development of the RiverDip programme, which has included the design of an easy-to-use dipstick that measures phosphate levels in water samples and the RiverDip app which is used to transmit sample data to the project. Broadcasting from Hull (UK), Mark will be giving a demonstration of how the dipstick and app work and then participants will get the chance to test them out in the field.

As of 24 September, the workshop was fully booked. We will make an announcement if any places become available.

RiverDip Citizen Science Programme resumes!

After an eight month hiatus due to Covid-19, we are pleased to announce the continuation of our volunteer training workshops as part of our RiverDip citizen science programme.

Our colleagues at the Flemish Environment Agency have organised a workshop for up to 25 participants in Aalst on Monday, 12 October 2020.

The workshop will be delivered in English by Professor Mark Lorch from the University of Hull. Mark has been heading up the development of the RiverDip programme, which has included the design of an easy-to-use dipstick that measures phosphate levels in water samples and the RiverDip app which is used to transmit sample data to the project. Broadcasting from Hull (UK), Mark will be giving a demonstration of how the dipstick and app work and then participants will get the chance to test them out in the field.

The workshop will run from 13:30 to 16:30. The full programme is provided below:

13:30 – 14:00 | Registration

14:00 – 14:15 | Welcome and introduction to Sullied Sediments

14:15 – 14:30 | Phosphate in Flanders (Stijn Overloop, VMM)

14:30 – 15:00 | The technique behind the RiverDip sticks (Prof. Mark Lorch)

15:00 – 15:10 | Question round

15:10 – 15: 20 | Coffee

15:20 – 16:30 | The RiverDip app: do it yourself!

You can register until Wednesday September 30 via the link below:

Register here: https://mailing.vmm.be/m-a44bdc6fdf445e8da48e9e1521ab9d072ed3a705f298305d

If you wish to cancel your previous registration due to the changed location, please contact us via projectsupport@vmm.be.

Summer Update 2020

20-07-14 Emma Working on Sample Extractions

As we are all learning to adapt to the Covid-19 ‘new normal’, the Sullied Sediments team is resuming some of the activities that have been on hold for the past four months, albeit with changes to ensure that we are prioritising safety and wellbeing. An extension granted by the Joint Secretariat has enabled us to do this and we are now focused on completing our project by 31 December 2020.

At the University of Hull, one of the key laboratories has re-opened under the supervision of our Project Lead, Jeanette Rotchell. She and her team are now building on the analysis of Watch List chemicals (WLC) in sediment samples completed earlier this year. The results of this analysis have been added to a massive database that we have been compiling over the past three years. This database holds chemical, ecological and toxicological information for dozens of samples collected from nine sites across the North Sea Region. Once complete, this database will provide water managers and regulators with new data that will be invaluable for decision making around water quality and sediment management.

Now that lab work has resumed, we are also analysing the real-world sewage trial samples with the sporopollenin capsules, as well as the organismal uptake work as part of a bioavailability study.

Our partner, VMM (Flanders Environment Agency), has re-organised the RiverDip volunteer training workshop that was planned for March. This workshop – called “Use of the RiverDip app for determining phosphate” – will now take place on Monday, 12 October 2020, at 13:30 in Ghent. Mark Lorch, who leads our Citizens Behaviour work package, will be explaining and demonstrating how volunteers can use our RiverDip “dipsticks” and app to measure phosphate levels in their local watercourse and share the data with the project. Anyone interested in attending this free event can register using the link below:

https://mailing.vmm.be/f-e3da4442b3da3bc1153a7668921850a4ada073df5a71a181

In addition to this, we are in the process of organising various webinars for the autumn that will enable us to share the project results and achievements. Details of these online events will be announced in our newsletter and on our web space in the coming weeks.

Although many of our dissemination plans for this spring and summer have been disrupted by Covid-19, we have pulled together as a partnership to consider and plan how we can deliver them differently, and possibly better. Using technology will give us the ability to reach more people, which in turn will hopefully allow us to create more impact through our project.

If you are interested in keeping up to date on our project, especially in this exciting final stage of delivery, please contact Annabel Hanson, Project Coordinator, to subscribe to our newsletter (annabel.hanson@eastriding.gov.uk).

5th edition of the Sullied Sediments newsletter published

We have just published the fifth edition of our Sullied Sediments newsletter:

Sullied Sediments Newsletter – July 2020 – Issue 5

In this issue, you will be able to read the following:

  • A message from our Project Lead, Jeanette Rotchell, talking about the resumption of some activities that were put on hold due to Covid-19
  • A report on our project outputs
  • Information about our sampling database and a profile of the Scheldt catchment (one of three river catchments where our partnership is active)
  • Details of the upcoming RiverDip workshop in Ghent in October
  • Coverage of our project in the Interreg North Sea Region Programme Annual Report Summary 2019
  • A communications update
  • Notification of webinars being organised by the NuReDrain project this autumn

Three more newsletters will be published in September and November 2020 and after our project ends in early 2021. If you would like to receive issues directly, please email our Project Coordinator, Annabel Hanson, at sullied.sediments@eastriding.gov.uk.

We have recently refreshed our web space and blog so please take a moment to browse through them. You can also follow our project on Twitter (@SulliedSediment).

We hope you enjoy reading our latest news!

 

What is the Sullied Sediments RiverDip volunteer training and sampling programme? 

20-02-20 WP5 Volunteer Training Mark and Sam

One of the ambitions of the Sullied Sediments project is to reduce the levels of certain Watch List chemicals entering the water system by raising awareness about what we, as citizens and consumers, are releasing into the environment through the use of common drugs and household products.

So, what is the RiverDip volunteer training and sampling programme? 

As part of our awareness raising campaign for the project, the Sullied Sediments team has developed a ‘citizen science’ programme called RiverDip. The programme involves training volunteers to take samples from their local waterways and measure the levels of phosphate in them. Phosphate is a chemical that you would expect to find in rivers and canals because it is commonly used in fertilisers, manure, and organic wastes in sewage and industrial effluent. It is an essential element for plant life. However, when there is too much of it in water, it can cause algae and aquatic plants to grow in abundance, thereby choking up a watercourse and using up large amounts of oxygen needed by other organisms.

The main tools that our RiverDip volunteers use to gather water samples and measure and record the phosphate levels have been developed by the University of Hull with support from the other project partners. These tools are:

• a paper device (PAD) that uses a colour change process to detect and visually represent the level of phosphate in a water sample (working very much like a pregnancy test)
• a bespoke app called RiverDip, which volunteers use on their smart devices to record the results from the PAD and share them with the project researchers (downloadable for free from the Apple app store and Android Play Store)

There are three main aims of the RiverDip citizen science programme. First, we use the training as an opportunity to talk to volunteers about some of the other substances present in our rivers and canals that are adversely affecting water and the sediment accumulating in these freshwater systems. In particular, we are focusing on Watch List chemicals, which are new or emerging substances, such as diclofenac (anti-inflammatory drug) and triclosan (antibacterial and antifungal agent), that are not yet subject to environmental regulation. Secondly, we use the training to inform volunteers about ways that they can avoid using these chemicals and manage their impact on the environment. And thirdly, in carrying out the sampling, the volunteers are collecting valuable data about phosphate levels in watercourses from a wide range of locations. This data is being collated and presented via an online map (https://northsearegion.eu/sullied-sediments/tools-and-resources/) and shared with those who can use the information.

How can I get involved?

The RiverDip volunteer programme was suspended due to the Covid-19 situation earlier this year. We are delighted to announce now that it will be resume with a free workshop held in Ghent on Monday, 12 October 2020, from 13:30 to 16:30. We are grateful to our project partner, VMM (Flemish Environment Agency), for organising the event and to Professor Mark Lorch from the University of Hull, who will be leading the training. To register, please visit:

https://mailing.vmm.be/f-e3da4442b3da3bc1153a7668921850a4ada073df5a71a181

Please note that registration is limited to 35 participants and will close on 30 September 2020. The event will be delivered in English.

Sullied Sediments has been has been co-funded by the European Regional Development Fund through the Interreg VB North Sea Region Programme with equivalent match funding from the partners involved. The project partnership includes public, private and third sector organisations based in the United Kingdom, Germany, Belgium and the Netherlands.

Read our Winter Newsletter Now

The Winter 2019-2020 edition of our Sullied Sediments newsletter has just been published. In this issue, you will find:

  • Information about our Third (and Final) Annual Partnership Meeting in Antwerp
  • Details of Upcoming Roll-out and Dissemination Events (13 and 15 January 2020
    in Antwerp)
  • A profile on Professor Jan Hendriks, Radboud University, whose team is involved in Work Package 3 – Sediment Assessment
  • An article from VMM (Flanders Environment Agency) called “Sullied Sediments helping Flanders to Better Understand Watch List Chemicals”

To view this edition, please use the following link:

Sullied Sediments Winter 2019-2020 Newsletter (No. 4)

20-01-06 VMM PhotoAlso in this issue, our Sullied Sediments Project Lead, Professor Jeanette Rotchell of the University of Hull, talks about the added value, quick wins and potential legacy of our project in her regular message to readers and we have included the usual news and media round-up.

Over the next two issues, we will continue to report on the impact of our project and update readers on the annual meeting and dissemination events. In addition, we will reflect on the challenges we were tackling at the start of the project and talk about how we have conquered them. We will also include a short portrait of each of our three catchments (Elbe, Humber and Scheldt). 

We hope you enjoy reading about our project and we encourage you to share this newsletter with any colleagues or contacts who may wish to find out more.

If you would like to receive our newsletter directly in your inbox, please contact the Project Coordinator, Annabel Hanson, via email at sullied.sediments@eastriding.gov.uk.

Photo courtesy of VMM

3rd Sullied Sediments Newsletter Just Published!

Socotec Lab Technician

The third edition of our Sullied Sediments newsletter has just been published. In this issue, we have featured the following:

  • Message from the Sullied Sediments Project Lead
  • Profile on Dr Andrew Boa, Lead for Work Package 4 – Clean Up
  • Consultancies Involved in Sediment Analysis
  • Hamburg’s Summer of Science
  • Update on Outreach and Dissemination
  • In the News (media highlights)

To catch up on all our news, please click on the link below:

Sullied Sediments Newsletter Issue 3 (Autumn 2019)

If you would like to subscribe to our newsletter, please email the Project Coordinator at:

sullied.sediments@eastriding.gov.uk

Or, why not send a copy to a colleague who may be interested?

The next edition will be published in late November, followed by two issues in the New Year.

Photo courtesy of SOCOTEC UK Ltd

Report from PhD researcher Sonja Faestch on SETAC 2019

19-05-29 SETAC 2019 HAW Hamburg.JPG

Sonja (above, left) is a researcher at Hamburg University of Applied Sciences and in this post she reflects on her experience at this year’s SETAC conference:

This year’s SETAC Europe Conference was held at the Helsinki Convention Centre, ‘Messekeskus’, from Sunday 26 May to Thursday 30 May. The theme was ‘One Environment. One Health. Sustainable Societies’. There was a full programme of platform and poster presentations over four days. It provided many new impulses and incentives on topics relevant for my research activities within the Sullied Sediments project and my PhD.

I had the chance to present and discuss my poster on endocrine disruptors in the auqatic environment with the international ecotoxicological community. On Sunday I attended the SETAC Training Course, ‘The Endocrine System: Presenting Global Perspectives on Testing Methods and Evaluation of Endocrine Activity’. Also from the Sullied Sediments project, Susanne Heise (Hamburg), Hanne Hetjens (University of Antwerp) and Sebastian Hoess (Ecossa) attended the conference and we used the opportunity to sit together and update each other on our research findings and challenges.

We also took time to discover the city and its lively vibe so close to midsummer when it never gets dark completely. We visited the maritime fortress of Soumenlinna, a UNESCO world heritage site just outside Helsinki, which evidences the changing ownerships of Finland over the past centuries. We also took the opportunity to experience the national passion of singing Karaoke at a truly genuine Karaoke bar downtown and enjoyed the breathtaking view over the city from the roof terrace at Hotel Torni.

— Sonja Faetsch

Second edition of our newsletter now available!

EA YDCP Training

We are pleased to announce that the second edition of our Sullied Sediments newsletter has just been published. In this summer issue, you will be able to read the following articles and more:

  • Our Project Lead, Professor Jeanette Rotchell (University of Hull), talks about the core values that underpin the project partnership
  • A general update on the project
  • A profile on our lead for Work Package 3 – Sediment Assessment, Professor Susanne Heise (Hamburg University of Applied Sciences)
  • A round-up of the conferences, events and meetings where partners have been presenting and discussing the project

To download or view the newsletter, please click on the link below:

Sullied Sediments Newsletter Issue 2_Final

The next four issues of our newsletter will be published in September, November and next year in February and April. They will report on our progress as we work towards completing the project in March 2020.

In the September edition, we will focus on the ‘better treatment’ work package and profile its lead, Dr Andrew Boa (University of Hull).

If you would like our newsletter delivered directly to your inbox, please email Annabel Hanson, Project Coordinator, at annabel.hanson@eastriding.gov.uk.

Photo: One of our volunteer training sessions (left to right: Vanessa Barlow, Yorkshire Derwent Partnership; Duncan Fyfe (formerly of the Environment Agency); Mark Lorch (University of Hull and ‘better prevention’ work package lead); and Samantha Richardson (University of Hull PhD candidate).

Society of Environmental Toxicology and Chemistry in Helsinki

19-05-29 SETAC 2019 HAW Hamburg

Sebastian Hoess from Ecossa and Susanne Heise and Sonja Faetsch from the Hamburg University of Applied Sciences attended the 29th annual meeting of the Society of Environmental Toxicology and Chemistry (SETAC) Europe in Helsinki in May.  The theme of this year’s conference was ‘One Environment * One Health * Sustainable Societies’.

Over five days, scientists, assessors, regulators and managers from academia, business and government, representing over 60 countries, met to take advantage of a wide variety of training, networking and learning opportunities available at the event. This event is considered essential if you are interested in emerging research, regulatory developments and the latest methodologies in environmental toxicology and chemistry.

‘Sullied Sediments’ was given a strong showing with three posters presented by Susanne, Sonja and Sebastian, which can be viewed below:

Microbiological Biotests for Sediment Risk Assessment – A Question of Reproducibility and Reliability

Endocrine Disruptors in the Aquatic Environment – Is it Enough to Screen for Estrogens Only

Reducing Uncertainty in Sediment Contact Testing by Considering Natural Variability and Harmonizing Control Sediments

For more information about SETAC Europe, please visit their website: https://helsinki.setac.org/

 

For more information about SETAC, please visit their website: https://www.setac.org/

 

Aimilia goes West

Aimilia Meichanetzoglou of work package 4 has a busy summer ahead of her as she has been accepted for a poster presentation at the 14th International conference on materials chemistry (MC14) in Birmingham and then an oral presentation of her work at the prestigious American Chemical Society national meeting and expo for chemistry and water (ACS) in sunny San Diego.

MC14 is an internationally renowned symposium that has been running since 1993. Organised by the Royal Society of Chemistry, materials chemistry division; the conference will take place this year from the 8 – 11 th of July in Birmingham. This event will be a point of interest to material chemists both nationally and internationally with speakers from around the world. The themes this year will include magnetic, electronic & optical materials, energy and environment, nanomaterials and porous materials and soft matter and biomaterials.

mc14

ACS is the world’s largest scientific society and hosts arguably one of the biggest international conferences in chemistry, with 150 years of history, tens of thousands of attendees each year and speakers including Nobel Laureates. This year’s focus is on “chemistry and water” from 25 – 29 August in San Diego, making it a fantastic environment for Aimilia to present her talk “Pollen solutions: novel and green approach to water treatment”.  She has also been contacted by the ACS press team ahead of her talk to give an interview for their press release, about her work and upcoming presentation.

san d

Expect further updates on these events soon.

Volunteers Now Collecting Samples

 

A Report from University of Hull PhD Student Samantha Richardson

Over the last few months, volunteers from the Canal and River Trust’s Towpath Taskforce and Pocklington Canal Amenity Society have been busy carrying out sampling activities in the Humber Catchment (UK) and testing our measuring devices in the field. And so we now have some results to share with you.

But first a bit of a recap… over the last two years I’ve been beavering away in the lab making paper analytical devices (or PADs, see what we did there 😉 ). These PADs have various compounds embedded within them, which means they go blue when they come into contact with phosphates.

Meanwhile, we’ve also launched a mobile app, which allows our volunteers to record the results from their PADs. The app is downloadable from the iTunes and PlayStore:

https://itunes.apple.com/al/app/riverdip/id1300219001?mt=8
https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.natural_apptitude.riverdipper

Now remember phosphate is an essential nutrient needed by everyone in small amounts. However if too much phosphate is present in the waterways algae quickly grows on the surface of the water, blocking out sunlight and reducing plant growth below the surface.

So on to our results…

This map shows where our diligent volunteers have been out and about using our PADs:

https://drive.google.com/open?id=1Lb-f0thmOxFGvkaBXCOm7VgdPsH89bGe&usp=sharing

Understanding our results:

We use 5 different categories on our map to show the results from the sampling: none, low, medium and high. We also show measurements that failed for one reason or another.

Many of the results we have seen indicate low levels of phosphate or levels below what we can measure (shown as none on the map). We do see some areas where medium or high levels of phosphate are detected too! More often than not, these higher levels occur when sediment has been disturbed. The reason for this is because phosphate sticks to the sediment and can then get trapped for a long time. However, if the phosphate hasn’t bonded very tightly to the sediment, the phosphate comes off once disturbed and goes back into the water giving a temporary area of high phosphate concentration.

On our map we also show a number of ‘failed devices’: these are tests that have not yielded any useful results. This can occur for a number of reasons, for example water may not have been able enter the PAD, a shadow across the image could distort the image analysis or the image could be obstructed by debris in the sample. In developing anything new we always find problems but we can learn from these as we develop the sampling further. That’s all part of research!

If you would like to get involved in any our sampling activities please contact Annabel Hanson at sullied.sediments@eastriding.gov.uk.

Hull Science Festival 2018

IMG_1240

At the Hull science festival in September 2018, we used wax crayons, food dye and filter paper to demonstrate how we make the paper analytical devices that we are developing for river water analysis. The devices we make in the lab make use of a wax barrier, which when heated, provides a barrier in paper which can contain liquid.

Using these barriers we can add liquid reagents to the paper devices where they can be dried and stored until they are needed to perform the tests on river water (see photos below).

At the festival we used wax crayons to draw these barriers onto filter paper circles and then used a hot plate to heat the wax allowing it to melt through the paper creating the barrier. This enabled people to understand the process that we follow in the lab where we use a commercial printer with wax ink and a laminator to create our devices. Once we have created the barrier we test the effectiveness with food dye. A good barrier will contain all the food dye in the patterned area and no food dye will leak.

Over the course of the two-day festival on the University of Hull campus, we engaged with over 770 children and adults.

Written by Samantha Richardson, PhD Student at the University of Hull

18-10-18 PAD Unused

Top: PAD ready for use as a river water analysis tool. Bottom: PAD showing the presence of phosphate after testing.

The Deep after Dark (part of British Science Festival)

A Blog Post by Samantha Richardson and Aimilia Meichanetzoglou, PhD students at the University of Hull (UK)

On Wednesday, 12 September 2018, we took part in the British Science festival event, ‘The Deep after Dark’. It was a great event showcasing some of the work we have done as part of the Sullied Sediments project to better understand and reduce our release of watch list chemicals in the water environment. We talked in-depth to over 120 people, explaining how we will use paper devices to look for pollution in river water and how we use a plant extract (sporopollenin) to remove some of these chemicals from the water.

Lots of people were particularly interested in how we will use sporopollenin (a bio-polymer found in plant pollen) to capture and remove watch list chemicals from river water. We explained the ways we extract this polymer, clarifying that the material is non-allergenic, and we showed microscope photos to give visitors an idea of how small the particles are. We demonstrated how the particles are suspended in water and the procedure of filtration to remove them and leave purified water behind. The audience were fascinated in the iron loaded particles since they were allowed to play with them using a magnet and see how easier their removal from water can be. To conclude the demonstration, we analysed the purified water with audience members using the paper devices and confirmed that the water was clean.

For more about the British Science Festival in Hull, please visit their blog:

https://www.britishscienceassociation.org/Blogs/bsa-blog

Site Visit in Leeds to Develop Sullied Sediments Volunteer Water Sampling Activity

Sullied Sediments partners from the Canal and River Trust, University of Hull and East Riding of Yorkshire Council start to develop the volunteer water sampling activity

On Tuesday, 4 September 2018, partners from the Canal and River Trust, University of Hull and East Riding of Yorkshire Council meet in at Knostrop Lock in Leeds, UK, to start to develop the volunteer water sampling activity for the Sullied Sediments project.

PhD student Samantha Richardson (pictured in the middle) presented the dipsticks that she has been developing in her lab at the University of Hull. These dipsticks will enable volunteers to detect certain chemicals found in household products in samples collected from their local waterways. This was the first time that the dipsticks were used in the field and they worked really well!

Now that Lizzie Dealey (left) and Becca Dent (right) from the Canal and River Trust have seen the dipsticks in action, they can create an engagement activity in which volunteers will learn about how their use of certain products might be having an adverse impact on the environment and help us to collect and map data about the presence of Watch List chemicals in our rivers and canals.

This was a great start to the development of this key activity, which is part of Work Package 5: Changing Citizens’ Behaviour.

Sullied Sediments at the British Science Festival

18-07-17 British Science Festival Logo

Sullied Sediments PhD students at the University of Hull will be giving demonstrations at this year’s British Science Festival. On Wednesday, 12 September 2018, the students will be at the Deep in Hull to showcase their research and innovations for the project. Their demonstrations will relate to the catchment sampling campaign, the clean-up of waste water using adsorbent plant-derived material and the detection of compounds in water using a simple paper-based device. If you are in the area, drop by the Deep between 18:00 and 22:00.

Sullied Sediments ‘dipstick’ presented at pathogen workshop

University of Hull PhD student, Samantha Richardson, has presented her work on the development of a dipstick that can detect the presence of certain compounds in water samples at a symposium focused on pathogen point-of-care analysis. This event took place at the University of Hull in June. Samantha’s presentation explored how paper-based devices can be deployed for environmental analysis. If you would like to know more, please contact us.

18-06-27 Pathogen Point of Care Conference (S Richardson)

newsletter dip test

Sullied Sediments creates innovative ‘dipstick’

We have designed a ‘dipstick’ that can easily detect phosphate in water and we are now adapting it to detect the watch list chemical, triclosan.

10 ppm
The Sullied Sediments team has busy in the lab and we now have a ‘dipstick’ that can detect phosphate in the water environment. The dipstick is actually a paper analytic device, or PAD, which has been developed to record the presence of phosphate in water samples using a colorimetric reaction. Having been tried and tested in the lab, later this year we will be working with our colleagues from the NuReDrain project to deploy the PADs in the field and test their efficacy in an agricultural setting.

With the proof of principle now established, our Sullied Sediments team is looking at how the PAD can be engineered to detect triclosan – an antibacterial and antifungal agent found in some consumer products, including toothpaste, soaps, detergents and toys. Triclosan is a watch list chemical which means that it is being monitored as a substance that could have an adverse impact to the aquatic environment.

We are developing the PAD as part of our work package called ‘Changing Citizens’ Behaviour’. While other aspects of the Sullied Sediments project are exploring ways of better assessing and treating contamination from the watch list chemicals in our waterways, this work package is focused on better prevention. We will be mounting a public awareness raising campaign in hopes of making citizens aware that they may be inadvertently releasing unwanted substances into the water environment through their use of certain products and that a few simple changes in their consumer habits can make a big difference.

In addition, we are creating a programme of volunteer sampling workshops, which will be rolled out in the three river catchments where the Sullied Sediments project is active. In the workshops, volunteers will be trained to collect samples from their local waterways; test them using the PADs for the presence of triclosan; and interpret and register the results. At the same time, workshop leaders will be encouraging these volunteers to become water champions in their local communities.

The volunteer sampling progress will be piloted in the UK’s Humber catchment this autumn. We will report on how the pilot goes later this year.

Sediment research from HAW Hamburg presented at SETAC 2018

Rome-website-logos-banner-v3

Sonja Faetsch, a PhD researcher in the Department of Applied Aquatic Toxicology at the Hamburg University of Applied Sciences (HAW Hamburg), attended SETAC 2018 in Rome to present research she has been doing as part of the Sullied Sediments project. Sonja is working under the supervision of Professor Susanne Heise, who is leading on the ‘Sediment Assessment’ work package. This work package is collecting a wide range of data on sediment samples from the Humber, Elbe and Scheldt river catchments in the North Sea Region. The sampling sites all face individual but severe management problems related to polluted sediments. Sonja’s SETAC poster presentation focused on the various criticisms of the implementation of ecotoxicological data in sediment quality assessments in environmental decision making. Sonja’s poster can be viewed below:

Sonja Faetsch’s SETAC 2018 Poster

Sullied Sediments research from the University of Antwerp presented at SETAC 2018

SETAC, or the Society of Environmental Toxicology and Chemistry, is an international, not-for-profit professional society that was established in 1979 to provide a forum for individuals and institutions engaged in education, research and development, ecological risk assessment and life-cycle assessment, chemical manufacture and distribution, management and regulation of natural resources, and the study, analysis, and solution of environmental problems. Hanne Hetjens, a PhD student at the University of Antwerp, recently presented research that she has been carrying out on behalf of the Sullied Sediments project at SETAC’s 28th annual meeting held in Rome this May.

Hanne’s poster presentation was focused on assessing the bioavailability of metals in natural sediments using passive sampling and bioaccumulation. Hanne’s poster can be viewed here:

Hanne Hetjens’ SETAC 2018 Poster

Hanne is a member of the University of Antwerp’s research group, ‘Systemic Physiological and Ecotoxicological Research’, or SPHERE. More information about SPHERE’s research mission can be found on their website:

https://www.uantwerpen.be/en/research-groups/sphere/about-us/about-sphere/

18-06-12 Hanne Hetjens at SETAC 2018

How the Interreg North Sea Region Programme is tackling climate change and supporting the long-term sustainable management in the environment

 

17-11-02 Sustainable NSR Web ImageOur funder, the Interreg North Sea Region Programme (@NorthSeaRegion), has published a great interview with the project advisors working on their ‘Sustainable North Sea’ priority, Axel Kristiansen and Jenny Thomsen. The Sullied Sediments team is very proud to be co-funded under this priority as we working towards making an important contribution to the long-term sustainable management of the North Sea Region. Read about our project and other great work funded under this priority in this wide-ranging interview with Axel and Jenny:

https://northseablog.eu/spotlight-on-priority-3-interview-with-axel-kristiansen-and-jenny-thomsen/

Sullied Sediments Project Lead nominated for award for contribution to the environment

18-05-14 Chairmans Awards Dinner (cropped)

Earlier this month, the Sullied Sediments project lead, Professor Jeanette Rotchell, was recognised at the 2018 Chairman’s Awards, organised by East Riding of Yorkshire Council, UK. At a presentation ceremony on 8 May 2018, Jeanette was named as one of three nominees for the Environment Award. In particular, she was commended for her leadership of the Sullied Sediments project and her role as Chair of the East and North Yorkshire Waterways Partnership. Jeanette’s nomination at this prominent regional event has helped to shine a light on the aims and ambitions of the Sullied Sediments project partnership.

Jeanette is a Professor of Aquatic Toxicology at the University of Hull and her research is in the area of environmental toxicology, specifically genotoxicology and endocrine disruption. In addition to Sullied Sediments, other current projects are focused on cancer in fish, endocrine disruption and photoperiod in bivalves and micro-plastics in seafood supply chain and pharmaceuticals in the Humber Estuary.

Jeanette’s recent research accomplishments include securing funding for this project, Sullied Sediments. She has also supervised many PhD students and has been a Visiting Professor at the University of Hawai’i and the State Key Lab for Coastal and Estuarine Research in Shanghai, China. Her work is highly applied and impactful at a European level, and she has a strong track record in interdisciplinary working with colleagues from chemistry and biomedical as all as being stakeholder and end-user driven.

Newsflash! The first edition of our newsletter has been published

We are delighted to announce that the first edition of the Sullied Sediments newsletter has been published. You can view it using the link below:

Sullied Sediments Newsletter Issue 1 (May 2018)

We hope you find this an interesting read. This is the first of six newsletters that we will be producing over the life of the project. Our next issue will be published in October 2018 following the Sullied Sediments second annual meeting, which will be held in Hamburg, Germany, this year.

We would like to share our project news with as many people as possible. Please could we encourage you to pass the link to our newsletter onto any colleagues who may be interested.

If you or any of your contacts would like to subscribe to the newsletter, please email Annabel Hanson, the Sullied Sediments project coordinator, using the following email:

Email: sullied.sediments@eastriding.gov.uk

In addition to our newsletter, the Sullied Sediments partnership is active on Twitter @SulliedSediment. Please follow us us on either or both of these platforms to stay informed and keep in touch.

Four simple ways you can reduce pollution in your local river

18-05-14 The Conservation Article Screen Capture

Samantha Richardson, one of our PhD students, has published an article outlining four ways we can all help to reduce pollution in our waterways in The Conversation.

Samantha works on our ‘Changing Citizens’ Behaviour’ work package and is currently developing a tool that we will use with volunteers to check for the presence of certain Watch List chemicals in selected waterways. As part of this work package, we are also running a communications campaign to raise awareness about about how our consumer choices could be having an impact on the health of our rivers and canals. This article is the first major element of this campaign.

Please help us to broadcast the important messages in Samantha’s piece by sharing it on your social media platforms.

https://theconversation.com/four-simple-ways-you-can-reduce-pollution-in-your-local-river-95385

Another aspect of Hanne’s work

In addition to performing bioassays at the University of Antwerp, I will work with new and state of the art devices called passive samplers to measure the amount of bioavailable contaminant fractions (I will mainly focus on metals) in the sediment. Passive sampling devices are a promising new tool for future sediment evaluation processes as they have the potential to increase our understanding of contaminant bioavailability over time (which provides several advantages over established monitoring techniques such as grab- or spot sampling) and are less destructive on animal and plant tissue than conventional methods. In June 2018 a big field and laboratory study is planned in which the suitability of these devices for future sediment risk assessment will be further evaluated. Over a period of 28 days and at six locations with different contamination backgrounds, benthic invertebrates will be deployed in the field (water and sediment) and the bioaccumulation within the tissue of the organisms will be compared to metal concentrations measured by diffusive gradient in thin film (DGT) passive samplers. The same will be done in the laboratory.

In October 2017 a pilot study at one sampling site has been performed with the aim to verify our choice of test organisms as well as to routinize the general procedures. At the moment we are still waiting for some results, but we can already say that the pilot study served its purpose and we are really looking forward to performing the big experiment.

The photo below captures the processing of the sediment probes 24 hours after deployment.

18-05-09 H Hetjens Lab Tests

Introducing Hanne Hetjens from the University of Antwerp

Hallo, my name is Hanne Hetjens and I am a PhD student at the University of Antwerp, working on Work Package 3. In my work I am focus on the evaluation of the toxicity of contaminated natural sediments on related organisms such as benthic macroinvertebrates and rooted plants.

More specifically we are working with the worm Lumbriculus variegatus, the amphipod Gammarus spp. and the plant Myriophyllum spicatum. These organisms live in or on the sediment and are therefore in close contact with the sediment and highly dependent on its quality. As plants, herbivores and detritivores form the basis of each food web, toxicological effects such as altered feeding rates, grow rates, reproduction or survival found here, can propagate through the whole food web (cascade effect) and have widespread effects on the biological status and health of related species communities, the surrounding ecosystem and eventually also for us. Contaminants that are less strongly bound to the sediment can accumulate in the tissue of organisms and accumulate in predators feeding on those organisms. Through this, contaminants that are stored in the sediment can end up in high concentrations in top predators such as fish, birds and mammals, even though they are not in direct contact with the sediments. Studying the effects and the bioaccumulation of sediment-bound contaminants on the chosen organisms can therefore give important information about the ecotoxicological risk and remediation necessity of natural sediments.

Together with other project partners, different bioassays will be performed and a test battery developed, with the aim of facilitating and improving sediment evaluation processes. I am interested in the results that we will get within the next two years and I am glad that my work can help to improve sediment evaluation and management in the near future. As sediments are located at the receiving end of all processes going on within an aquatic ecosystem, they surely deserve more attention in aquatic ecosystem management than they got so far.

18-04-24 Hanne Hetjens Portrait

January 2018 Project Update

We are currently working with partners to complete our first project report. A review of our first six months (January-June 2017) has shown that we have been busy setting up the project and starting work on our three core areas of activity: better assessment, better treatment and better prevention.

Period 2 (July-December 2017) has been equally busy for the whole team. In September 2017, we hosted our first annual meeting in Hull, UK, where 40 delegates attended over the two days. The project management team led discussions on finance and reporting and the work package leads gave full updates on their activities to date. It was two days of healthy discussion and debate!

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Immediately following the annual meeting, one of our advisory partners, the East and North Yorkshire Waterways Partnership, held a conference entitled ‘Catchment-Level Partnership Working at its Best’. This event was organised as the first dissemination event for the Sullied Sediments project. Members of both partnerships were brought together to exchange knowledge and ideas transnationally, share best catchment management practice and broaden their networks. It was a great way to showcase our project at a regional level.

Other notable activity includes a special meeting of our ‘Work Package 3 – Sediment Assessment colleagues, which is being held in Mechelen, Belgium, this month. The purpose of the meeting is to discuss how the first sediment sampling campaign, which was carried out in October 2017, went. Colleagues are also making plans for the second sampling round and reviewing initial findings.

Proposed River Basin Sites 25 June 2015

The Humber, Elbe and Scheldt River Catchments

Additionally, colleagues working on Work Package 5 – Citizens Behaviour are running a communications planning workshop in Manchester, UK, this month. This meeting is an opportunity for project beneficiaries and advisory partners to discuss the challenges we face with project communications in general and in particular with Work Package 5. Using the Theory of Change model, we will work through the issues and identify ways to address them effectively.

Although we have been in a period of reflection, we are also looking forward and starting to plan for our second annual meeting, which will be held in Germany in 2018. We are expecting to have lots to progress on our project objectives and outputs to report. Details of this meeting will be announced in due course.

Call for abstracts for SETAC Europe 2018

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Two of our Sullied Sediments partners, Susanne Heise from the Hamburg University of Applied Sciences and Sebastian Höss from Ecossa, are chairing a session on ecotoxicological sediment and soil assessment with two additional chairs at the SETAC EU meeting in Rome next May. From today, they are inviting abstracts for their session. The deadline for submission is 29 November. For more information, please click on the link below:

https://rome.setac.org/programme/scientific-programme/call-for-abstracts/

Samantha Richardson: Introduction

17-06-28 Samantha Richardson in the LabHello, I am Samantha and I am working to develop a dipstick devise to test from everyday waterway pollutants. This device will be used by members of the public with guidance from scientists to help collect information regarding the pollution level across a wide area.

 

 

Test for phosphates carried out in solution using test tubes

Test for phosphates carried out in solution using test tubes

I am working to develop a quick and easy to use dip test that can be used to determine what pollutants are present in a river. These devices will test for a series of pollutants, many of which can be found on the EU’s ‘Watch list’. Using a simple colour change to identify when a chemical is present, these devices will help us gain a wider understanding of the water quality across our rivers.

Whilst out with volunteers using this technology I will also be working on a plan to help engage with people to allow them to take ownership of their waterways. The aim of this work is to help reduce the levels of pollution that enter our waterways through education and engagement of the population.

Phosphate test carried out on a paper dip test device

Phosphate test carried out on a paper dip test device

 

Introducing Hull’s Sullied Sediments PhD Students

At the University of Hull (UK), we have three PhD students – Wayne, Aimilia and Samantha – who are working on the Sullied Sediments project. Each of the students works within a team of people; these teams are known as work packages (WP) 3, 4 and 5. These work packages each focus on different aspects of the project.

WP3 focuses on what is in the sediment in our waterways and WP4 is looking at a way of removing Watch List pollutants from the water as it enters selected waste water treatment plants.

WP5 aims to engage with and inform the public to help them to reduce the levels of some of the pollutants entering our waterways.

The next few blogs will focus on the work Wayne, Aimilia and Samantha are doing in more detail…in their own words.

RiverDip Volunteer Training Website Launched

Volunteers can now find out how to get involved in our RiverDip citizen science programme online!

One of the ambitions of the Sullied Sediments project is to reduce the levels of certain Watch List chemicals entering our waterways by raising awareness about what we, as citizens and consumers, are releasing into the environment through the use of common drugs and household products. As part of our awareness raising campaign for the project, the Sullied Sediments team has developed a ‘citizen science’ programme called RiverDip. The programme involves training volunteers to take samples from their local waterways and measure the levels of phosphate in them.

Phosphate is a chemical that you would expect to find in rivers and canals because it is commonly used in fertilisers, manure, and organic wastes in sewage and industrial effluent. It is an essential element for plant life. However, when there is too much of it in water, it can cause algae and aquatic plants to grow in abundance, thereby choking up a watercourse and using up large amounts of oxygen needed by other organisms.

The main tools that our RiverDip volunteers use to gather water samples and record the phosphate levels are: a paper device (PAD) that uses a colour change process to detect and visually represent the level of phosphate in a water sample (working very much like a pregnancy test) and a bespoke app called RiverDip, which volunteers use on their smart devices to record the results from the PAD and share them with the project researchers (downloadable for free from the Apple app store and Android Play Store).

The new RiverDip training website is aimed at volunteers who are interested in taking part in RiverDip. The website explains what is entailed in the sampling activity and includes a video and step-by-step guide. There is information about how volunteers can register to get involved and what to expect. The website also provides key messages about the presence of chemicals in our inland waterways and some of the simple changes that we can make to reduce our impact on the environment.

We were initially planning to deliver the RiverDip training in-person through a series of workshops across the North Sea Region. Given that this is no longer an option, we decided that it would be best to create digital training resources that volunteers can access safely and securely online.

The RiverDip training website and video are now available here:

https://riverdip.com/

Our aim is to reach as many people as possible in as many locations across the North Sea Region (and beyond) as possible.

If you have any questions or comments about the RiverDip website and video, please do not hesitate to contact Annabel Hanson, Sullied Sediments Project Coordinator, at annabel.hanson@eastriding.gov.uk.

BBC reports on Sullied Sediments volunteer campaign

In August, the Sullied Sediments team and a group of volunteers associated with Pocklington Canal met with BBC Look North’s Environment Correspondent, Paul Murphy, to demonstrate how volunteers are being trained to take water samples and share their findings with the project. Volunteers are equipped with paper devices that have been specially designed to measure phosphate levels in river water samples. The results of each device are sent using a bespoke app called RiverDip, which can be downloaded for free from any app store. The sampling data that the volunteers are gathering all adds to a vast repository of information that is helping researchers to better understand how healthy our waterways are and inform how they are managed. All of the volunteer data is available online, a link to which has been provided in the Resources section of our website: https://northsearegion.eu/sullied-sediments/tools-and-resources/

The BBC’s coverage of the Sullied Sediments volunteer programme conveys how a large, multi-national project can have an impact at the local level. Not only are we amassing data about water quality from areas that are not routinely monitored, we are also raising awareness about the importance of valuing and caring for our local waterways and encouraging people to get outdoors and volunteer. So, the benefits are myriad.

If you would like to watch the BBC’s story on our volunteer activity, please follow the link below and let us know what you think:

https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCUmQeGzXk0zKHIlQxKK48Fg/

We are grateful to Paul for his interest in our project and to the BBC for providing us with footage of this coverage.