Monday 19 March 2018

Water research post for Wexford academic

Dr Blánaid White, from Ballycullane
Dr Blánaid White, from Ballycullane

David Tucker

A Wexford-born academic is to co-ordinate a multi-million EU funded water quality monitoring project at Dublin City University (DCU), which will gather information on the level of chemical contaminants in coastal and transitional waterways.

Dr Blánaid White, is a native of Ballinruane, Ballycullane, and is Assistant Professor at the School of Chemical Sciences, DCU.

Funding of almost €2 million has been provided by Interreg Europe for the three-year project, which will be directed by Dr White and DCU Water Institute in collaboration with research partners across Europe.

'Metals are essential nutrients for marine life off our coasts, but too high a concentration can be toxic. This project will allow us to monitor these metal concentrations in coastal waters by using Diffusive Gradient Thin films (DGT), so that if contamination occurs, we will be able to detect it,' said Dr White. The findings will be used to evaluate the risk of pollution to environmental health and also inform updates to the EU Water Framework Directive (WFD).

Detecting and monitoring the level of contaminants, particularly chemicals and substances of emerging concern in seawater and inland waterways is a key element of the WFD, a directive to ensure national governments in the European Union take action to improve the quality of their water in rivers, lakes, estuaries and coastal waterways.

At present, testing for contaminants in coastal waters and ensuring detection of a wider range is extremely challenging.

The Monitool project has been devised in response to this.

Dr White said Monitool will create an expert marine lab network for DGT sampling which spans the Atlantic coast from the Scottish Highlands to the Canary Islands, and DCU are delighted to be at the heart of this network.

The Environmental Protection Agency and the Marine Institute will partner with DCU Water Institute on the Monitool project.

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