Fate and Management of Emerging Contaminants (FAME)

Owing to on-going demographic shifts, urbanization and changing life styles supported by rapid industrialization, pollution by so-called emerging contaminants (ECs) is an emerging environmental and public health concern in India, the UK and globally. Pharmaceuticals, personal-care products, pesticides & industrial compounds, are collectively known as ECs. They lead to, among other effects, increasing antibiotic resistance and endocrine disruption in aquatic animals and possibly humans. Conventional wastewater treatment plants (WTPs) have a mixed performance in dealing with such contaminants and might even be adversely affected by the ECs in treating more conventional pollutants. There is also evidence that WTPs can act as reservoirs of antibiotic resistant pathogenic bacteria. Due to limited availability of data, the fate of ECs in the environment and wastewater treatment remains under-investigated, limiting our ability to provide targeted cost effective treatment.

The research aims to study the sources and fate of ECs and their interactions in receiving waters and WTPs and develop novel and sustainable management strategies to improve water quality. To achieve this ambitious aim the following objectives are proposed: 1) Monitoring of the fate and interaction of ECs in surface water; river beds, aquatic life, groundwater and existing WWT plants; 2) Co-development of cost effective fit-for purpose solutions for the treatment of ECs in urban and rural communities using new approaches such as graphene based polymer composites, and innovations in advanced oxidation processes coupled with chemical free treatment with pulsed power and energy efficient membranes 3) Development of an "open access" novel decision support system capable of automatically generating and identifying optimal sustainable water management strategies meeting end users needs and contexts; and 4) End user engagement and impact generation

Project Category: International Research Grant
Project Status: Active
Project Period: Feb 2018-Feb 2021
Project Reference: DST/TM/INDO-UK/2K17/66(C)

University of exeter, UK

Principal Investigator: Prof Fayyaz Ali Memon
Funder: UK Natural Environment Reserach Council (NERC)
Funded Value: ≈ £ 460,000

IIT Madras

Principal Investigator: Prof Ligy Philip
Funder: Department of Engineering and Technology,India
Funded Value: INR 3 Crores


Monitor the fate and interaction of ECs in surface water; river beds, aquatic life, groundwater and existing wastewater treatment plants

Develop cost effective fit-for-purpose treatment solutions for urban and rural communities using new approaches

Develop a novel “open access” decision support system to identify sustainable water management strategies meeting end users’ needs and contexts;

Generate long term impact through end user engagement and the provision of pilot demonstration.