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WATER ENGINEERING & ENVIRONMENTAL HEALTH

     
We are an association of independent scientists and engineers specialising in the water environment.  We have built up a substantial portfolio of expertise over the last 45 years in providing investigative reports where problems have been experienced with water systems and related aspects of public and environmental health.  Since 1984 that experience has been translated into expert evidence for for legal cases and public enquiries. We report on engineering standards and causes of failure or flooding in drainage and sewerage systems, wastewater treatment plants, soakaways and private groundwater supplies.  We undertake structural surveys of buildings to assess causes of dampness or water ingress. We specify damp remediation works and decontamination. We investigate the nature of microbiological agents and illnesses associated with water systems, and the moulds and fungi that thrive in damp living conditions.  We investigate causes and consequences where health problems have arisen from domestic and industrial water systems including coolant & scrubbing systems, domestic swmming pools, spas, hot-tubs and in waters managed for watersports and recreational activities. We provide a unique blend of capabilities that bring together skills in water systems specification, costing and design testing, with specialist microbiological and toxicological expertise.   We act independently of any product or service and provide truly impartial advice relating to the management of healthy water systems and damp protection in the built environment.    

 

 

Analysis of rainfall and flood events

Domestic sewage treatment & disposal

Floodplain and channel modelling

 

WATER SYSTEMS, AUDITS AND RISK MANAGEMENT

We undertake compliance audits and risk assessments of domestic and industrial water systems, coolants and re-circulating fluid systems.  We advise on best practice for management of water quality and water related diseases.  Where domestic water systems or water contact recreational and sports facilities have been implicated in the transmsission of diseases we assess the adequacy of system design and risk management practices.  We combine engineering and biological expertise and have undertaken specific studies of problems arising from respiratory agents in water systems including Mycobacterium species and Legionella sp.  In bathing pools and spas we have investigated specific agents responsible for folliculitis and swimmers ear (Pseudomonas aeriginosa) and Hot-tub lung (Mycobacterium avium).  

Where suppliers and contractors are employed to construct or manage water systems, we provide independent third party advice on the suitability of equipment, engineering standards and performance of those services.  We advise on water quality standards and owner obligations in respect of water supply regulations, the Health and Safety at Work Acts and other relevant water legislation.

 

MICROBIOLOGY

Our case experience has involved studies on the microbial ecology, health implications and control of waterborne agents reponsible for a range of respiratory, allergenic and gastro-enteric illness.

In the home and working environments we undertake sampling to assess microbial contamination of polluted drinking water supplies.  We report on the cause, extent and identification of of damp-induced moulds and the nature of respiratory and allergenic complaints often associated with them.  These assessments have included common household and damp related mould species as well as those that occur naturally in the outdoor environment.  In cases where there is excessive dampness in buildings we provide independent advice and specifications for third party contractors to deal initially with the underlying moisture problem and, where necessary to deal with residual material.

 In cases where illness is believed to have arisen from water supplies or water contact activities, we have screened for pathogens including Campylobacter species, Cryptosporidium, E.coli and Giardia.  We have investigated the epidemiology of agents responsible for Weils disease (Leptospira), swimmers ear (Pseudomonas aeriginosa) and Hot-tub lung (Mycobacterium avium).  

In addition to using microbiological and chemical tests to assess drinking and bathing water quality, we also apply these tests as diagnostic tools in design testing for correct loading and management of wastewater treatment plants.

 

 

 

 


 

 

DRAINAGE, SEWERAGE & FLOOD STUDIES

We undertake engineering surveys of drainage and sewerage systems in order to assess performance and standards of construction.  With the aid of modelling sofware we are able to test the design, loading and capacity of sewerage systems.  We undertake shallow borehole and trial-pit surveys to assess groundwater and soil conditons and their capacity for drainage and infiltration.

Hydrosurveys have reported on causation and liability where residential and commercial properties have been affected by flooding, failure of treatment systems, or where water supplies have become contaminated.   In cases where property or water supplies have become polluted from neighbouring groundwaters, we have undertaken shallow borehole studies to assess directional groundwater flow and identify contaminant sources.

We assess requirements in respect of private sewage treatment facilities and package plants. We provide independent advice on siting, installation and construction standards.

  • Analysis of storm and flood events
  • Testing of sewage treatment & soakaway systems
  • Groundwater infiltration modelling
  • Soil permeability and runoff studies
  • Design and condition surveys of piped supplies
  • In-situ flow testing and monitoring
  • Floodplain & river profiling
  • Channel flow/depth/width modelling
  • Groundwater and pollution surveys

 



Water audits of industrial and commercial premises

 

 







Microbial assessment of a healthy activated sludge (left) and filtrate from a private water supply containing Cryptosporidium cysts (right).  Phase contrast microscopy and coloured stains are applied to assist in identifying harmful or potentially infective agents.


 

 

ENVIRONMENTAL TOXICOLOGY

. ~  Harmful substances in piped or private water supplies
  ~  Moulds and fungi in the built environment
  ~  Environmental toxicology of water pollutants.

We have undertaken original research on the environmental fate, sub-lethal toxicity and rates of natural degradation of pesticides and other pollutants in wetlands and water systems. More recent and current work includes post-incident assessments and monitoring of fisheries and aquatic fauna in waters affected by accidental or chronic historic pollution.   These studies have examined population effects and recovery rates of fisheries affected by heavy metals, petroleum hydrocarbons, industrial solvents, sterilants and flocculants.         

 

 

 



 

 

 

 

     


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