Micropollutants Conference To Be Sponsored by Glan Agua

Glan Agua are delighted to be sponsors of British Water’s first Micropollutants Conference. The conference will provide an excellent overview of concerning trends of emerging contaminants and the most progressive technologies to address this shared problem. Glan Agua’s Innovation Manager, Fabio Bacci, will be chairing the event, which takes place on Tuesday the 29th of March.

Earlier this week, we spoke with Fabio about the event and his involvement in raising awareness about micropollutants.

As Innovation Manager, what do you specialise in?

While innovation for a business can take many forms, in the water industry segment where Glan Agua operates, technological progress enhancing process performance represents the standard of innovation. My role entails scouting for novel technologies and matching them to market needs. As designers, builders and operators of water and wastewater solutions, Glan Agua’s value-chain offering is two-tailed: for clients, we deliver turkey solutions underpinned by years of experience as operators; for the technology provider, we provide integration and route to market. The scope of my role places me at the technology provider end. I specialise on business development for innovation by fostering relations with the view to forming channel partner agreements and strategic alliances. Nonetheless, these decisions are invariably controlled by market needs. My area of environmental expertise revolves around two aspects of emerging chemical contaminants: emission trends and the legal framework governing these emissions. As founders of the British Water Micropollutants Focus Group, Glan Agua are recognised as championing proactive discussion on the topic to prepare the UK water industry to future market needs. My specialisation in emerging chemical contaminants provided Glan Agua with the necessary expertise to encourage British Water to form the Micropollutants Focus Group. However, it was the response from the industry that inspired British Water to launch the subsequent stage, the first dedicated conference on Micropollutants in the UK.

What topics will be covered in this event?

The programme of the conference is divided into two distinct themes. One share of the contributions will be informative and will introduce research on sources and trends of emissions. The other share will present technological solutions for the industry. The purpose of the conference is to converge water professionals to a dedicated platform where competitive collaboration can be considered as a viable solution for this shared problem.

Do you see future legislations being put in place to address the issue of micropollutants in water and wastewater?

As analytical chemistry continues to develop, scientists will be able to detect more chemical compounds at increasingly lower trace concentrations both in ambient water and in organisms exposed to it, including humans. Legislation must be substantiated by sound scientific evidence that these trace levels pose a risk to the environment or to human health based on the circumstances of potential exposure, whether acute or chronic. While regulatory agencies have the duty to protect the environment and human health, they also need to balance the potential risk of sensationalising the presence of a chemical compound without proper evidence of hazard. In essence, yes, I believe that more micropollutants will join the current annexes of the EU directives and statutory instruments governing maximum concentrations. However, the problem is exacerbated by the sheer number of organic chemical contaminants in the environment, often hundreds to thousands per class of micropollutants, and their simultaneous interaction on exposed organisms.

What are the water and wastewater treatment technologies for micropollutants?

Numerous technologies at different readiness levels have been developed to remove, either broadly or selectively, specific classes of micropollutants. While available on the market, the adoption of these technologies can be impeded by the necessary due diligence protocols of the water industry. In my view, combinations of existing technologies, and different configurations thereof, are likely to provide viable solutions for the removal of micropollutants.

This is the first Micropollutant Conference in the UK, which is a huge milestone. Do you see conferences like this becoming more common?

Yes, as knowledge on micropollutants matures, both in terms of environmental research and engineering solutions, legislation, or possibly self-regulation, will develop a market segment, thus raising the need for knowledge dissemination. Furthermore, the commitment that British Water have invested into this delicate topic have helped increase awareness for the supply chain. Micropollutants is an umbrella term encompassing many thousands of chemicals, some highly toxic but certainly not all of them hazardous. The primary aim of the British Water Micropollutants Focus Group is to raise awareness in an impartial and pragmatic fashion for its members and, through the conference, for the wider audience. I strongly believe that this first conference has the potential to become a periodic UK industry symposium on micropollutants.

For more information on British Water’s Micropollutant conference, please visit; www.britishwater.co.uk


March 23, 2022