Detection of Environmental Sources of Infectious diseases in Groundwater Networks

Project AttributeProject Details
Project TitleDetection of Environmental Sources of Infectious diseases in Groundwater Networks
EPA Project Code2018-W-DS-31
Lead OrganisationUniversity College Cork (UCC)
CoordinatorJean O’Dwyer
EPA Research 2014 – 2020 Theme(s)Water: Theme 1: Safe Water
EPA Research Pillars
Project Start and End DatesStart: 01/03/2019
End (if applicable): 29/02/2020
Revised End Date (if applicable): 31/05/2021
EPA Project TypeDesk Study
EPA Award TypeSTRIVE – Project Based Awards
Current Project StatusGrant Awarded
Total Funding Amount99937.37
Project Abstract/DescriptionThe aim of the DESIGN project is to identify the state of the art and best practice in the effective (high sensitivity, high specificity) detection and identification of pathogen (VTEC and Cryptosporidium) sources and assess what methods can be used to understand the contamination pathways of waterborne infectious diseases. Building on existing research from project partners on groundwater source susceptibility, a stochastic QMRA and Environmental Fate Model will be created for (i) the relative risk of the contamination of private wells with VTEC (using a newly derived pathogenicity ratio) and (ii) the seasonal distribution of likely VTEC contamination. Furthermore, a preliminary sampling regime will be developed to explicitly assess the presence of Cryptosporidium in Irish groundwater and identify sources and transport mechanisms; one of the first studies of its kind. DESIGN has a stakeholder focus, and aims to create non-technical research summaries to improve communication with policy makers, local authorities and the general public. Through the utilisation of past and ongoing complimentary research and the expertise of project partners, this frontier research represents added value for money and will provide a stepping stone towards the development of bespoke groundwater management strategies to move towards a Healthy Ireland. The following outputs are expected from DESIGN, at a minimum: – 1 Final Report for dissemination on the EPA website – 3 peer reviewed research papers, 1 peer-reviewed review paper. – Non-technical summaries are a specified outcome of the DESIGN project in order to allow for impactful stakeholder interaction – A strong social media presence, and increased exposure through the utilisation of ‘The Earth Story’; a hugely popular (~1 million followers), award winning blog which is ran by Jean O’Dwyer (PI). – Research capacity building is a direct outcome of the DESIGN project by create a symbiosis between the Environmental Institute (ERI), UCC, the Environmental Sustainability and Health Institute (ESHI), DIT and the Department of Microbiology, NUIG. – Oral and poster presentations at national and international meetings and conferences. – Project webpage, media publicity, online blogs – Calibrated predictive multivariate statistical and empirical base models for real-time and future sampling frame inclusion. – Novel incidence ratio of VTEC to non-VTEC derived from Irish private water wells.
EPA Scientific OfficerRachelClarke

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