Proactive optical monitoring of catchment dissolved organic matter for drinking water source protection

Project AttributeProject Details
Project TitleProactive optical monitoring of catchment dissolved organic matter for drinking water source protection
EPA Project Code2019-W-MS-43
Lead OrganisationUniversity College Cork (UCC)
CoordinatorJohn Weatherill
EPA Research 2014 – 2020 Theme(s)Water: Theme 1: Safe Water
EPA Research Pillars
Project Start and End DatesStart: 04/11/2019
End (if applicable): 03/05/2022
Revised End Date (if applicable): 02/08/2022
EPA Project TypeMedium Scale Project
EPA Award TypeSTRIVE – Project Based Awards
Current Project StatusGrant Awarded
Total Funding Amount343248.90
Project Abstract/DescriptionIreland has more than double the number of regulatory exceedances for trihalomethanes (THMs) in drinking water than the next highest EU member state. THMs are one class of at least 700 potentially harmful disinfection byproducts (DBPs) produced after chlorination of drinking water containing dissolved organic matter (DOM). The overall aim of PRODOM is to develop an integrated catchment-level understanding of the spatiotemporal dynamics of DOM precursors and associated DBP formation risk in a representative catchment with a range of physiographic conditions found in Ireland. The proposed research will explore the relationship between optically-active DOM precursors and laboratory formation potentials for key DBPs including emerging classes of potentially more harmful nitrogenous DBPs. Through high-resolution spatial sampling we will develop geospatial DBP formation risk maps and identify risk-driving catchment attributes and land use types. We will evaluate the potential of state-of-the-art UV fluorescence sensor technology to act as an early warning tool for proactive management of source water at sub-catchment scale. Using high-frequency time series monitoring of fluorescent precursors, we will identify high-risk periods in the catchment hydrograph and evaluate critical precursor sources and pathways to inform a series of catchment management measures designed to reduce DBP formation risk. The outputs of PRODOM are summarised as follows: 1) A dedicated project website with regular updates made by the project team. 2) Interim reports (6 monthly frequency) and a Final Report synthesising key stakeholder messages and insights for policy makers. 3) A minimum of three peer-reviewed research papers in high-impact journals in compliance with open access policy. Target journals will include Water Research, Environmental Science & Technology and Chemosphere. 4) Feature articles in the EPA’s catchments newsletter and website detailing research project objectives and interim results including sample datasets (after prior approval from the EPA). 5) (a) A database of georeferenced organic carbon, nitrogen and hydrochemical variables to be made available via the EPA Research Data Archive (SAFER), (b) a database of time series hydrological, water quality and FDOM available via SAFER and (c) an inventory of disinfection byproducts formed in batch studies available via SAFER (after prior approval from the EPA). 6) A dedicated research conference to communicate key research messages to stakeholders with invited contributions from international researchers involved in DOM optical technology research. 7) Oral or poster presentations at key national conferences (IAH, Engineers Ireland and Environ) and major international meetings (EGU and AGU)
EPA Scientific OfficerRachelClarke

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