Water & Health joint workshop with RSC WSF a success! Write up by Richard Luxton, chair for the day

February 15th, 2018

SWIG and the RSC WSF group held a joint workshop on ‘Water & Health’ kindly hosted by the IBST at UWE, Bristol,

on 31 January 2018. Richard Luxton, Chair for the day provides a write up of the day:

This was a well-attended event was run in conjunction with the Royal Society of Chemistry, Water Science Forum group.  It was held at the Exhibition and Conference Centre in Bristol with 12 companies and organisations taking stands.  Prof Nigel Silman from PHE set the scene for the day by giving a good overview of water borne disease and techniques used to detect these disease.  The session ended with a challenge for companies and researchers to develop a robust, low cost (bio) sensor for the rapid detection of pathogens.

The morning continued looking at technologies used for the detection of pathogens with a review of methods from Elise Maynard of The water Management Society.  Robert Pitchers of the WRc gave a talk reviewing the findings of a recent project, Aquavalens, which compared methods and noted that there are now some molecular techniques that could be used for inline detection of specific bacteria.  The morning was ended by a talk on Aquatest by Stephen Gundry of Brightwater Diagnostics which is a simple, field test for E. coli using a portable incubator.

The afternoon session started with two academic presentations, the first from Kathrine Fish of Sheffield University on biofilms and the potential problems they present in creating reservoirs of pathogen organisms in the water distribution systems.  This was followed by James Sorensen, a PhD student with the British Geological Survey.  He demonstrated the use of fluorescence mapping to detect the presence of E. coli in water sources in the developing world.

The penultimate session, from Steve Markham from Marquis and Lord, encouraged the audience to use the statistical package R and Rmarkdown as a very flexible way of presenting data.  This was already being used by some of the academics in the audience.  Ian Leahy from Palintest closed the workshop with an intriguing titled talk called” Deckchair, sun cream, bathing water test kit – screen bathing water at the point of use.”  The talk presented a simple colour based test to test the bathing water quality around our coast,  It is hoped that after going through regulatory approval the system will be released on the market in 2018.

Overall, the event was a huge success with very positive comments from attendees.