Hull Science Festival 2018

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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.

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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.

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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

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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

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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.