Development of monitoring and mitigation technologies for improving microbiological urban surface water quality 

The microbial quality of urban surface water bodies is important for urban quality of life and citizen health. Exposure to microbiologically contaminated water can result in many severe illnesses like gastroenteritis; fever; skin, ear, and eye complaints and respiratory disease. Currently, expanding uses for urban surface water such as undesignated swimming, intensified recreation, and other unregulated uses require a high water quality, which is not currently covered in existing regulation.

The aim of this project is to develop an understanding of microbiological urban surface water quality and develop mitigation technologies. This research is based in comprehensive screening and mechanistic understanding of microbiological
quality of urban surface water.

Technological challenge

• Screening current microbiological water quality
A comprehensive monitoring campaign will be conducted at several vulnerable urban surface water locations in Amsterdam and Toronto. Sampling is performed monthly to investigate pathogens concentration (using qPCR combined with cultural method) and basic physio-chemical water parameters (pH, temperature, salinity, etc.) to look into the factors that influence microbiological urban surface water quality temporally and spatially.

• Mechanistic study of selected pathogens
Several important pathogens will be selected as indicators for research on their behavior in urban surface water bodies. Expriments are performed under highly controlled indoor tanks to understand the growth and/or die-off of selected fecal and opportunistic pathogens effected by environmental factors.

• Mitigation technology development
Nature‐based technologies will be developed on laboratory and small-pilot scale that harness photodegradation in wetland or retention pond systems to mitigate point‐source releases of pathogens, substrates and particles, and growth of opportunistic pathogens.

• Piloting monitoring strategy
The monitoring scheme and mitigation technology will be piloted in Amsterdam and Toronto to assess the effectiveness on improvement of microbiological water quality.

Fig 1 Research approach
Fig 1 Research approach