AMR: Benchmarking of wastewater products and risk assessment for the water industry

AMR: Benchmarking of wastewater products and risk assessment for the water industry

The issue of antimicrobial resistance (AMR) is both globally-significant and evolving. It has been designated by the World Health Organisation as a “global health emergency” in which all sectors have a role to play.


Wastewater treatment plants are increasingly highlighted as ‘hotspots’ of AMR propagation and transfer, and wastewater products (biosolids and recycled water) have been consistently shown to contain resistant organisms and resistance genes.  The Australian water industry is uncertain of the nature and level of AMR risks associated with their wastewater treatment effluents and products.  The industry needs further information to assess the potential risk of AMR to wastewater operations and customers.  This project will investigate the relative contribution of wastewater AMR to facilitate the Australian water sector to assess relative risk (compared to other industries, such as agriculture) and to guide future strategies for mitigating AMR releases and managing AMR-associated risks.

The project hypotheses to be tested are:

  1. That AMR organisms and genetic components pass through wastewater systems and represent an unknown level of risk to the water cycle and the environment.
  2. That different WWTP processes have varying impact on the survival and persistence of AMR organisms and genetic components.

This project will use standardised sampling and analysis methods for the analysis of antibiotics, antibiotic resistant bacteria and genes in Australian (waste) water and related environmental matrices. We will align our efforts with other AMR One Health initiatives in the Asia-Pacific region, and beyond to ensure that all sampling is directly comparable with existing work already underway.

WaterRA Contact

Carolyn Bellamy

Amount being sought


Due Date

28th Feb, 2020