Managing the emerging contaminant paradigm

March 19, 2019

A workshop was held on 27th February at the University of New South Wales in Sydney to discuss better ways to manage the issue of emerging contaminants and learn how to use the tool developed within the Global Water Research Coalition (GWRC) project led by Prof Stuart Khan to prioritise research on contaminants.

Stuart started the workshop by providing an overview of contamination, its history and the complexity of the problem.  He then discussed the GWRC project that was borne from the ‘Emerging Contaminants and Pathogens’ workshop at Karlsrue, Germany in 2015 when they realised there was no means to determine which contaminants should be prioritised for future research.  From this discussion came the need to develop a means to prioritise research to improve decision making, provide justification for research and inform policy making, while still considering each organisation’s own values.  Stuart’s project team developed a tool using Bayesian Network to rank different contaminants based on 11 predefined criteria which was trialled during our workshop.

Discussion then took place around how the water industry can work together to better manage this issue.  Attendees decided there was scope to develop a management process that shares the knowledge and assessments regarding emerging contaminants, as well how the prioritisation tool would support this process. A summary of the workshop is available here (member only) and project scope is available here.

If you are interested in participating in the project please contact Claire McInnes by 12th April 2019.