Current Projects

Project Title Engineering aspects and mechanisms of a natural pyrrhotite simultaneous nitrogen and phosphorus removal (PSNOP) biofilter technology
Duration Sept. 11 – Aug. 13
NUIG Research Team Dr. Xinmin Zhan; 1 postdoctoral researcher

Project Title Economic and technical research into the PFBR at a small Irish town
Summary Providing cheaper, more sustainable solutions for the treatment of wastewaters to acceptable standards reduces the risk to the environment and subsequently helps to ensure Ireland meets its EU directive responsibilities and avoid further convictions. A Civil Engineering research team at NUI Galway have developed and patented one such novel wastewater treatment technology that directly addresses these problems whilst maintaining an excellent treatment performance. The objectives of this proposed Innovation Partnership between NUI Galway and Molloy Precast Products Ltd. are to:
  • further develop the efficient PFBR wastewater treatment system to protect public health and the environment
  • investigate a number of novel aspects that the research team have developed to add further value to the PFBR
  • accurately quantify the costs of installation and operation of the PFBR in ‘real’ conditions
  • provide a full-scale PFBR treatment system for marketing purposes
  • optimise the operation and maintenance of the PFBR system at a full-scale village/town treatment works while meeting a stringent discharge licence
  • commercially exploit this Irish technology and open new export markets
Duration May 2011 – May 2012
NUIG Research Team Mr. Edmond O’Reilly (Co-PI); Dr. Eoghan Clifford (Co-PI)
Other Collaborators: Molloy Precast Products; Offaly County Council

Project Title Lag time: extending achievement of the Water Framework Directive water quality timelines beyond 2015 without implementation of additional programmes of measures
Summary Implementation of agricultural nutrient programmes of measures (POM) within the Water Framework Directive (WFD) by 2012 and achievement of ‘at least’ good water quality status by 2015 does not consider management legacy and hydrological/hydrogeological “lag time” processes in catchments. Lag time occurs as nutrient leaching pathways between soils, groundwaters and rivers are generally long and complex, and the pathways vary depending on soil/subsoil type, bedrock geology/hydrogeology, and climatic factors such as rainfall. For groundwater nitrate, the components of lag time are: nutrient concentration leaving the rooting zone, unsaturated zone travel time, aquifer nutrient concentration, aquifer flushing time to below the nitrate-N threshold concentration of 37.5 mg L-1, horizontal saturated travel time to a surface waterbody, travel time through the hyporeic zone, and nutrient attenuation along this pathway. In Ireland, the Nitrates Directive is the agricultural POM currently in place to achieve WFD water quality goals. Recently completed research currently under review provided initial estimation of lag time for Ireland using a range of model parameters taken from the literature and this showed that the earliest change in water quality due to measures introduced in 2012 will be 2019. Other changes will not take affect until after 2027. The proposed research will provide more Irish specific estimates of lag time and will generate internationally important methods for its estimation.
Duration April 2011 – March 2014
NUIG Research Team Dr. M.G. Healy (P.I.); Mr. T. Henry (Earth and Ocean Sciences).
Other Collaborators: Dr. O. Fenton, Dr. K. Richards, Dr. R. Creamer (Teagasc)

Project Title Determination of optimal application of municipal biosolids to tilled soils to optimize nutrient availability and minimize nutrient loss in surface runoff
Summary Biosolids are the by-product of urban wastewater treatment, which may be used as a fertiliser in agriculture. The application of biosolids to agricultural lands can have both beneficial and harmful effects. In surface runoff events, nutrients, suspended sediment, and heavy metals may be released. Due to the potential for the contamination of surface and groundwater, strict guidelines govern their application to agricultural lands. However, these guidelines are based on results carried out abroad and little information is based on Irish soils. In addition, the guidelines do not consider the relationship between biosolids application rates, soil nutrient availability, and surface runoff of nutrients, suspended sediment and metals. This study aims to determine the relationship between biosolids application rates, soil nutrient availability, and surface runoff of nutrients, suspended sediment and metals in a controlled laboratory study. The main aims of the project are: (1) to determine – in laboratory flume tests - the nutrient, metal and suspended sediment release from tilled soils when biosolids are spread on tilled soils and grassland at a range of application rates (2) to investigate the impact of biosolids on the long-term availability of nitrogen and phosphorus in soils.
Duration September 2010 – August 2013
NUIG Research Team Dr. M.G. Healy (P.I.)
Other Collaborators: Dr. O. Fenton; Dr. G. Lanigan (Teagasc)

Project Title Development of a predictive model for new wastewater technologies
Summary Mathematical modelling of wastewater treatment systems is an often underused yet vital tool in designing, operating and maintaining wastewater treatment plants. Increasingly stringent standards, requiring nitrogen and phosphorous removal along with a requirement for enhanced energy efficiency means accurate, predictive mathematical models of commercial technologies are essential. In this project, models of 2 novel technologies, the air suction flow biofilm reactor (ASF-BR) and the pumped flow biofilm reactor – (PFBR), that were developed by researchers at Civil Engineering, NUI Galway, will be designed, calibrated and optimised. Both technologies are currently undergoing commercial evaluation; thus a predictive model capable of simulating performance for both municipal and industrial strength wastewaters will add further value to the commercial offering.
Duration February 2011 – February 2015
NUIG Research Team Dr. Eoghan Clifford (PI); Mr. Edmond O’Reilly (Collaborator); Ms. Noelle Jones (PhD student)
Other Collaborators: Hydromantis Inc.

Project Title Chemical addition for the control of soluble P in runoff from grasslands amended with pig manure
Summary The application of pig manure to land, particularly when applied to the same field for many years, can increase the amount of soluble P in surface runoff waters. Soluble P is readily available for algae growth and can have a negative impact on water quality. The amount of P in surface runoff is correlated with the amount of native P in the soil and the amount of P in the slurry applied to the soil. One possible way to mitigate the runoff of P is to either amend slurry with P-binding chemicals prior to application, or to add these chemicals to land prior to landspreading. To date, in Ireland, field-scale or controlled laboratory experiments have not been conducted on the use of alum in P control in surface runoff from land-applied pig manure. The aims of the project are: (1) to determine and compare the effects of the land application of pig manure and alum-amended manure on surface runoff water quality from grasslands at laboratory and field scales (2) to quantify the gaseous releases of greenhouse gases (CH4, N2O, CO2) and ammonia-N (NH3) produced in the landspreading of pig manure and chemically amended pig manure on grassland (3) to develop best management practices in the application of pig manure to grassed soils.
Duration September 2010 – August 2013
NUIG Research Team Dr. M.G. Healy (P.I.)
Other Collaborators: Dr. O. Fenton; Dr. G. Lanigan (Teagasc)

Project Title Assessment of the suitability of co-mixed and composted separated solids of pig manure after anaerobic digestion for use as a solid fuel and compost
Summary The nitrates action plan has limited the land area suitable for landspreading pig manure. This project aims to identify effective and sustainable non-landspread options which could produce renewable energy and reduce water usage on pig units. The feasibility of anaerobic digestion using crop products/by products will be investigated. We propose to look at separated liquid and solid components of pig manure after anaerobic digestion. The solid component will be assessed for suitability as a solid fuel when mixed and/or composted with suitable materials. In other tasks the liquid component will be purified in constructed wetlands and using other technologies; sand, soil and soil amended filters; membrane filters; woodchip filter; and ultraviolet light with the aim of reaching a standard, suitable for washing. In addition, the energy balance associated with each technique will be calculated and a cost benefit analysis will also be undertaken for each process. We also propose to effectively disseminate the results from this project to enable adoption by stakeholders.
Duration September 2010 – August 2013
NUIG Research Team Dr. M.G. Healy (P.I.)
Other Collaborators: Dr. P. Lawlor; Ms. T. Nolan (Teagasc)

Project Title Numerical Modelling of Tidal Turbines
Summary This research aims to develop a three-dimensional nested tidal hydraulic model to simulate energy extraction by tidal current turbines and to investigate the resulting hydro-environmental impacts, such as changes in water levels or flow patterns.
Duration Sept 2010 - Aug 2013
NUIG Research Team Dr. Stephen Nash (PI); Darren Coppinger (PhD student)

Project Title Modelling Extreme Coastal Flood Events
Summary Development of a numerical model and early-warning system for the prediction of extreme coastal flood events resulting from a combination of tides, rivers and storm surges.
Duration Sept 2010 - Aug 2013
NUIG Research Team Dr. Michael Hartnett (PI); Dr. Stephen Nash (co-PI); Joanne Comer (PhD student)

Project Title Capital equipment to enhance existing Tuam Water Research Facility
Summary This project will enable the upgrade of the Tuam Water research Facility (WRF) that will allow for the full examination of wastewater treatment processes from the initial primary settlement to the final disinfection stages. It will provide NUI Galway with an almost unique facility internationally and greatly enhance the research, collaborative and technology development capabilities within NUI Galway.
Duration September 2010 – September 2011
NUIG Research Team Dr. Xinmin Zhan (PI); Dr. Eoghan Clifford; Mr. Edmond O’Reilly

Project Title Development of an intelligent intermittently aerated sequencing batch reactors for nitrogen rich wastewater treatment
Duration Sept. 2009 – Aug. 2012
NUIG Research Team Dr. Xinmin Zhan, Liam Henry (PhD student)

Project Title Biological nutrients removal from wastewater
Duration Sept. 2009- Aug. 2013
NUIG Research Team Dr. Xinmin Zhan; Min Pan (PhD student)

Project Title 1. Fact sheet on drip feed systems for on-site wastewater treatment 2. Office of Environmental Enforcement. Smarter enforcement small scale study 3. Relationships between dissolved inorganic nitrogen (DIN) and other nitrogen compounds in wastewaters, treated waters and receiving waters
Summary 1. Satisfactory on-site treatment of wastewater from single houses where soils have low percolation values (T-values > 50) require particular solutions. Drip dispersal systems that uniformly distribute the wastewater in the soil may provide solutions in some of these low-percolation-soil sites. This project aims to produce a fact-sheet to enable optimal design, installation and operation of these systems.

2. To enable future environmental monitoring of sufficiently high standard by the Office of Environmental Enforcement’s (OEE), new smart methods are needed to complement the existing on-going efforts. In the proposed project, a review of available and emerging technologies that may assist OEE in “smarter enforcement” will be performed. Short-listed technologies will be evaluated in terms of economic feasibility, robustness and sensing quality.

3. This small-scale study was commissioned to (i) establish if reasoned relationships exist between dissolved inorganic nitrogen (DIN) and other nitrogen components in wastewaters, treated waters and receiving waters and (ii) where relationships exist, establish these relationships for estimated DIN from the other nitrogen components.
Duration: September 2009 - Ongoing
NUIG Research Team: Dr. Eoghan Clifford; Edmond O’Reilly
Other Collaborators: Dr. Michael Rodgers

Project Title MAREN (Marine renewable Energy)
Summary This project aims to answer some fundamental questions regarding the provision of marine renewable energy. Collectively, the outcomes from the project activities will provide information on the energy extraction potential of the Atlantic Area coastal waters and enable the prediction of both the impact of marine renewable energy devices on the environment (natural and human) and the impact of the environment on the performance of these devices. The focus of the NUIG team is tidal stream devices.
Duration May 2009 - June 2012
NUIG Research Team Dr. Michael Hartnett (PI); Dr. Stephen Nash (Co-PI); Dr. Indiana Olbert (postgraduate researcher); Noreen O’Brien (PhD student)

Project Title Study on feasibility and efficacy of microbial biodiesel production from agro–industrial wastes using oleaginous fungi
Duration Dec. 2008 - Nov. 2012
NUIG Research Team Dr. Xinmin Zhan; Iniya Kumar (PhD student)

Project Title The development of a new wastewater technology: The air suction flow biofilm reactor (ASF-BR)
Summary There is a growing world-wide demand for environmental technologies that remove organic carbon, solids, nitrogen and phosphorus from municipal, industrial and agricultural wastewaters. Such technologies are required to (i) be energy efficient, (ii) have low maintenance and operation requirements, and (iii) meet increasingly stringent discharge standards such as complying the Water Framework Directive in the EU (2000/60/EC). Decentralised wastewater systems can provide a particular challenge, especially where full time operators are not continuously present. Problems with decentralised wastewater treatment systems include failure of mechanical components, high energy requirements and the requirement for a permanent onsite operative at each site. In Ireland only 24 % of wastewater systems with a population equivalent (PE) between 500 and 2000 complied with relevant standards (EPA, 2009). Thus there is a growing need for the throughput and efficiencies of wastewater plants to be improved while simultaneously decreasing maintenance and running costs. The air suction flow biofilm reactor (ASF-BR) is presented as a new and innovative technology that can meet the demands of the wastewater treatment market. Furthermore the ASF-BR reactors are sealed and as a result noxious odours and greenhouse gases generated during wastewater treatment can be captured and further treated using an ancillary treatment process. In this project the novel technology is being developed at both a laboratory scale and subsequently at a pilot scale
Duration October 2008 – October 2011
NUIG Research Team Dr. Eoghan Clifford (PI); Mr. Edmond O’Reilly (Project Engineer); Mr. Salvador McNamara (Research Assistant and MEngSc student); Mr. Paul Forde (PhD student); Dr. Michael Rodgers (previous PI); Dr. Xinmin Zhan

Project Title Assessment and mitigation of soil and nutrient losses from acid-sensitive forest catchments
Summary Forestry has been identified as one of the land-use activities posing a potential risk in terms of diffuse pollution. Among the pressures highlighted as arising from forestry are increased acidification, and sediment and nutrient releases from plantations. The whole project aims to: 1) assemble a data base of relevant Irish data on forest-surface interactions (hydrochemistry & ecology); 2) collect hydrochemical, hydromorphological and ecological data from catchments; 3) analyse data to establish controls and influences on impacts; 4) develop modelling tools to predict impacts and design control measures; and 5) predict the future impact of forestry on hydro-ecology. NUI Galway’s part of the study is focused on acidification, and nutrient and sediment releases from upland peat forested soils in the Burrishoole Catchment, Newport, County Mayo
Duration September 2008 – August 2013
NUIG Research Team Dr. M.G. Healy (P.I.); Dr. B. McCabe
Other Collaborators Prof. M. Bruen, Dr. M. Kelly-Quinn (UCD); Prof. J. O’ Halloran, Dr. S. Harrison (UCC); Dr. O. Fenton, Dr. G. Lanigan (Teagasc)

Project Title Chemical addition for the control of soluble phosphorus in runoff from grasslands
Summary It is estimated that agriculture accounts for 38% of all pollution in Ireland’s waterways. In recent years, there have been improvements of water quality in Ireland. The number of rivers in Ireland with good river status increased from 67% in 1997 to 71.4% in 2008. However, more work is needed in order to ensure that Ireland meets the targets set by the Water Framework Directive (WFD). This directive requires that all Irish rivers will have ‘good status’ by 2015. In fresh water environments, algal growth is phosphorus (P)-limited. An increase in soluble P concentrations in surface water runoff, resulting from land application of dairy cattle slurry, may result in eutrophication of rivers and fresh water lakes. The aim of this study is to identify chemicals with the potential to reduce P losses from agricultural grassland arising from the land application of dairy cattle slurry.
Duration September 2008 – August 2011
NUIG Research Team Dr. M.G. Healy (P.I.)
Other Collaborators Dr. O. Fenton, Dr. G. Lanigan (Teagasc)

Project Title Novel agri-engineering solutions for amelioration of surface and ground water at critical source areas: technology development and a decision support blueprint for Irish farmers
Summary Excess nitrogen (N) in soil, aquatic and atmospheric environments leads to the accumulation of reactive N compounds in ecosystems. The prevention of N losses from agricultural systems to a waterbody is mainly governed by legislative instruments such as the European Union (EU) Water Framework Directive (WFD). Shallow groundwater perched in a sub-soil layer, which has a low denitrification potential and a high nitrate (NO3) concentration, is a potential risk to a surface waterbody in a groundwater-fed system. Pressure to clean these waters under the WFD has seen the need for in situ remediation technologies. One such technology is a denitrifying bioreactor. This system uses heterotrophic denitrification to convert NO3 to di nitrogen (N2) and nitrous oxide (N2O) gases at different rates, utilising a variety of carbon (C) reactive media, and has been used worldwide to protect sensitive receptors.
Duration September 2008 – August 2011
NUIG Research Team Dr. M.G. Healy (P.I.)
Other Collaborators Dr. O. Fenton, Dr. G. Lanigan, Dr. T. Ibrahim (Teagasc)

Project Title Nitrogen removal from separated liquid after anaerobic digestion of pig manure by means of ANAMMOX in sequencing batch reactors
Duration Sept. 08 – Aug. 11
NUIG Research Team Dr. Xinmin Zhan, Mingchuan Zhang (PhD student)
Other Collaborators Peadar Lawlor (Teagasc)

Project Title Treatment of pig farm wastewater using woodchips
Duration Sept. 08 – Aug. 11
NUIG Research Team Dr. Xinmin Zhan, Kathy Carney (PhD student)
Other Collaborators Michael Rodgers, Peadar Lawlor

Project Title Evaluation of biogas production and GHG mitigation from anaerobic digestion of pig manure
Duration May 08 – Oct. 11
NUIG Research Team Dr. Xinmin Zhan, Sihuang Xie (PhD student)
Other Collaborators Peter Frost (AFBI), Peadar Lawlor (Teagasc), Michael Rodgers

Project Title Optimisation of a novel biofilm technology for the removal of nuisance odours using microsensors, molecular biology techniques and mathematical modelling.
Summary Recent studies both in Ireland and within the EU have identified that serious health and environmental problems can arise from nuisance and noxious gases and odours, that are generated in wastewater treatment plants (WWTPs), landfills, and agricultural processing and composting facilities. Gases such as methane, hydrogen sulphide, ammonium, nitrous oxide and carbon dioxide can cause public health and irritation issues and can contribute significantly to greenhouse gas emissions. The remediation of these gases can have public health, environmental and economic benefits. In this study, a novel horizontal flow biofilm reactor (HFBR) – comprising a stack of horizontal dimpled sheets on which biofilms grow – is used to biologically treat the following noxious gases, which are typical of those arising at a wastewater treatment plant. The HFBR performance in treating noxious gases is being investigated at a fundamental level - using mass balance analyses, microsensors, molecular biology and mechanistic mathematical modelling. Laboratory units have been designed and are operational. The ongoing laboratory studies will provide effective design parameters for a full scale site model, which will be constructed at the NUI Galway Water Research Facility in Tuam, Co. Galway
Duration April 2008 – September 2011
NUIG Research Team Dr. Eoghan Clifford (PI); Mr. Edmond O’Reilly (Collaborator); Dr. Gavin Collins (Microbiology, NUI Galway); Mr. Colm Kennelly (PhD student); Mr Sean Gerrity (PhD student, Microbiology, NUI Galway); Dr. Michael Rodgers (previous PI)

Project Title Assessment and mitigation of soil and nutrient losses from acid-sensitive forest catchments
Summary The objective of the project is to develop sustainability guidelines for forest management so that losses from forestry activities are reduced sufficiently in order not to adversely affect the biota in productive salmon in receiving waters
Duration Dec. 2007 - Nov. 2011
NUIG Research Team Prof. Padraic O’Donoghue (PI), Liwen Xiao (Project Coordinator), Mark O’Connor (Research Assistant), Connell O’Driscoll (PhD student), Zaki-ul-zamen Asam (PhD student), Michael Rodgers (Ex-PI), Mark Healy
Other Collaborators Russell Poole (Marine Institute, Newport)

Project Title Treatment and monitoring of nutrients, odour and sludge at a small-town demonstration wastewater treatment system
Summary At present, there is a huge need - mainly driven by EU environmental legislation - for sustainable, robust and economic water, wastewater and sludge treatment technologies. Furthermore these technologies are required to be increasingly energy efficient, employ new monitoring and control techniques and have reduced maintenance. This will present many opportunities for the water and wastewater industries, cognate companies and research organisations. Local authorities, universities and other stakeholders will also be required to educate and train students and staff in the use and operation of new technologies. To meet these challenges NUI Galway, with funding from the EPA, and support from Galway County Council, have developed the NUI Galway/EPA Water Research Facility (WRF). The WRF is a full-scale test bed for innovative wastewater and water treatment technologies and comprises a full scale wastewater treatment plant (treating up to 70 m3/day), a tertiary treatment facility (treating up to 2 m3/hr) capable of supporting a number of technologies such as automatic sand filtration, activated carbon systems, chlorine dosing, UV etc., and a remote operating, monitoring and control system for the main wastewater treatment process at the WRF.
Duration September 2006 - ongoing
NUIG Research Team Dr. Michael Rodgers (Previous PI); Dr. Eoghan Clifford (Project Engineer); Mr. Edmond O’Reilly (Project Engineer); Prof. Padraic O’Donoghue (current PI)

Recently Completed Projects

Project Title Phosphorous removal using a novel ion exchange resin
Summary The project was to study the performance of a new phosphorus (P) adsorption filter technology that uses a novel media. During the contract study, the P adsorption filter technology treated the effluent from a Wexford County Council secondary wastewater treatment plant with a population equivalent of about 200 persons.
Duration February 2010 – October 2010
NUIG Research Team Dr. Michael Rodgers (Co-PI); Mr. Edmond O’Reilly (Co-PI); Dr. Eoghan Clifford (Co-PI); Mr. Salvador McNamara

Project Title Development of redox-stratified membrane bioreactors for nitrogen removal from wastewater
Duration Jan. 09 – Dec. 10
NUIG Research Team Dr. Xinmin Zhan, Dr. Rongchang Wang (Research Fellow)

Project Title On-site treatment technologies for various wastewaters
Summary Treatment of high strength and municipal strength wastewaters using a horizontal flow biofilm rector.
Duration September 2008 – September 2010
NUIG Research Team Dr. Eoghan Clifford (Co-PI); Mr. Edmond O’Reilly (Co-PI); Dr. Michael Rodgers; Mr. Colum Regan (MEngSc student)

Project Title Treatment of dairy soiled water using an aerobic woodchip filter and a sand filter
Summary The milking process produces dairy soiled water (DSW) that contains variable concentrations of nutrients. The most common method of disposal is by application to land. However, this practice may result in the pollution of nearby receiving water bodies. It is proposed that aerobic woodchip filters may decrease concentrations of organic matter, nutrients and suspended solids (SS) in DSW. A laboratory-based experiment investigated woodchip as a filter medium to treat DSW. Subsequently, farm-scale filters investigated the system under normal farm conditions. The effectiveness of two types of sand filters (SF’s), single-layer and stratified, in the treatment of effluent from the farm-scale filters were compared. Laboratory filters, 0.5, 1 and 1.5 m in depth, containing Sitka Spruce (Picea sitchensis (Bong.) Carr.) treated DSW at two loading rates: 280 g SS m-2 d-1 (S1) and 840 g SS m-2 d-1 (S2). The dry matter (DM) content of S1 and S2 was 1% and 3%, respectively. Average influent chemical oxygen demand (COD), SS and total nitrogen (TN) was 12,167±1,899 mg L-1, 10,000 mg L-1 and 235 ±56 mg L-1, respectively, for S1 and 34,418±4,995 mg L-1, 30,000 mg L-1 and 542±97 mg L-1 for S2. Average COD, SS and TN decreases of 95, 99 and 88 %, respectively, were achieved and the effect of depth was negligible. Based on these findings, three replicated farm-scale 1 m-deep filters, each with a surface area of 100 m2, were constructed and loaded at 30 L m-2 d-1 for 11 months. Average influent COD, SS and TN was 5,027±1,739 mg L-1, 471±75 mg L-1 and 297±118 mg L-1 and average decreases of 65, 84 and 60 %, respectively, were achieved. Three replicated single-layer SF’s and stratified SF’s were operated for 82 days and loaded at 20 L m-2 d-1 with the effluent from the farm-scale filters. Average influent COD, SS and TN concentrations of 1991±296 mg L-1, 84±30 mg L-1 and 163±40 mg L-1 were decreased by an average of 39, 52 and 36 % for the single-layer SF’s and 56, 62 and 57 % for the stratified SF’s, respectively. These results demonstrate the potential use of woodchip as a filter medium for treating DSW to produce an effluent for re-use in washing yards or for application to land as an organic fertiliser. This would reduce water usage and the environmental risks associated with land spreading.
Duration September 2007 – August 2010
NUIG Research Team Dr. M.G. Healy (P.I.)
Other Collaborators Dr. P. French; Dr. P. Murphy (Teagasc)

Project Title Research into the status of safety and health (risk education) within construction-related courses in third level institutions in Ireland
Summary This research project is carried out in conjunction with construction and management consultancy firm, Healy Kelly Turner & Townsend (HKT&T). This research will develop a profile of safety and health programme content, teaching methodologies and learning systems in construction-related courses. It will examine the weighting that safety and health is given in such safety-critical courses, in terms of credits/overall value. It will further draw up recommendations on the most appropriate ways of ensuring that risk education is included in content of all such safety-critical courses in higher education. The project team will also analyse the challenges and opportunities facing the three main stakeholders namely: Academia, Industry and the Professional Bodies, when considering its recommendations. The team will work together to identify the potential gaps between the needs and demands of Industry, the requirements of Professional Bodies and how third level institutions can bridge this gap in the supply of their graduates.
Duration January 2009 – January 2010
NUIG Research Team Dr. Jamie Goggins
Other Collaborators Healy Kelly Turner & Townsend

Project Title Horizontal flow biofilm technology for the removal of nuisance odours from waste streams
Summary In this project, a HFBR - comprising a stack of horizontal dimpled sheets on which biofilms grow - was used to biologically treat methane gas (CH4). The project initially focused on the design and installation of an odour and gas laboratory and associated infrastructure at NUI Galway. This laboratory will provide a long-term test facility for the development of new odour and gas remediation technologies. Further research is ongoing under related Science Foundation Ireland supported research.
Duration September 2008 – October 2009
NUIG Research Team Dr. Michael Rodgers (PI); Dr. Eoghan Clifford (Collaborator); Mr. Edmond O’Reilly (Collaborator); Dr. Richard Walsh (Post doctoral researcher)

Project Title Mobile research monitoring and control (MRMC) infrastructure for on-site wastewater treatment systems.
Summary Supported by an EPA STRIVE Infrastructure grant (2007-INF-6-S5), the research team designed and developed the mobile remote monitoring and control system MRMC. The system was developed in response to future monitoring and research needs. In many cases it is difficult and expensive to carry out intensive monitoring of decentralised water and wastewater treatment systems, and on pilot scale technologies. The MRMC could be used by various interested stakeholders and could provide a template for further development of remote monitoring systems that are mobile that could be cost-effective and more accurate when compared to manual sampling methods.
Duration September 2008 – October 2009
NUIG Research Team Dr. Michael Rodgers (PI); Dr. Eoghan Clifford (Project Manager/Research Engineer); Mr. Edmond O’Reilly (Project Manager/Research Engineer)

Project Title Biofilm-Based Environmental Technologies
Summary The Horizontal Flow Biofilm Reactor (HFBR) is a novel wastewater treatment technology that has been developed and patented by the research team. In this study, a pilot-scale HFBR was installed at the NUI Galway Water Research Facility (WRF) by the NUI Galway research team. During the 80-day steady state period of the study, removals averaging 93 % suspended solids (SS), 97 % 5-day biochemical oxygen demand (BOD5), and 86 % filtered ammonium-nitrogen (NH4-Nf) were achieved at an operation cost of € 1.71/population equivalent/year.
Duration January 2008 – November 2009
NUIG Research Team Dr. Michael Rodgers (PI); Dr. Eoghan Clifford (Collaborator/Project Engineer); Mr. Edmond O’Reilly (Collaborator/Project Engineer); Mr. Colum Regan (Research Assistant)

Project Title Biosolids treatment using woodchip filters
Summary EU directive 86/278/EEC promotes the re-use of treated biosolids as a means of soil conditioning or as a fertiliser on agricultural land. This project investigated a novel cost-effective method to biologically reduce these biosolids prior to application to soils. Alternative outlets for the de-watered sludge include in-situ composting and the generation of energy. An on-site solution was proposed whereby the biosolids are treated at source by passing them through wood chip filters. Excellent solids filtration results were achieved for the optimised laboratory units and this was used to design the on-site units. During the 9 week on-site study the pilot scale filters performed excellently both in filtering solids and furthermore in treating the filtrate. Operation, and running costs are low and no maintenance has been required up to this day. The research team are continuing with the running of these on-site units and will investigate the composting of the material on-site. It is envisaged further work will continue on this project to optimise the final disposal routes.
Duration December 2007 – July 2010
NUIG Research Team Dr. Michael Rodgers (PI); Dr. Eoghan Clifford (Project Manager/Research Engineer); Mr. Edmond O’Reilly (Project Manager/Research Engineer); Dr. Aoife Keady (Postdoctoral Researcher)

Project Title Removal of nutrients from wastewater using an innovative on-site wastewater treatment technology.
Summary A pumped flow biofilm reactor (PFBR) system was installed and commissioned at Kiilmovee, Co. Mayo (population equivalent of . The PFBR comprised two reactor tanks, where the wastewater was intermittently: (i) pumped from one reactor tank to the other reactor tank during aerobic phases of the treatment cycle for nitrification and carbonaceous oxidation, and (ii) kept mainly in one reactor tank to establish anoxic conditions to facilitate denitrification. The low running costs makes the PFBR an attractive option for treating wastewater in small communities. No operating problems were encountered at the plant during the duration of the project and no breakdown periods occurred, mainly due to the fact that the only moving mechanical parts in the system were standard hydraulic pumps. The system easily achieved the required discharge limits.
Duration February 2007 – April 2009
NUIG Research Team Dr. Michael Rodgers (PI); Mr. Edmond O’Reilly (Collaborator/Project Engineer); Dr. Eoghan Clifford (Collaborator/Project Engineer); Mr. Paul Burke (Project Engineer)
Other Collaborators Envirocare/Kingspan, Mayo County Council

Project Title Nitrogen removal from slaughterhouse wastewater by means of SMD in modified sequencing batch biofilm reactor systems.
Summary This project aimed to develop an intermittently-aerated sequencing batch reactor (IASBR) and a sequencing batch biofilm reactor (SBBR) that could efficiently remove nitrogen from slaughterhouse wastewater. The IASBR was operated at laboratory-scale in the environmental engineering laboratory at NUI Galway prior to the deployment of a pilot-scale unit at a slaughterhouse in Co. Mayo. The SBBR was operated at laboratory-scale only. Dissolved oxygen (DO), pH and oxidation-reduction potential (ORP) in the reactors were real-time monitored using electrodes, and were catalogued by a LabVIEW computer programme. The pilot-scale IASBR was constructed at the Environmental Engineering Laboratory, NUI Galway, and deployed onsite at the slaughterhouse wastewater treatment plant for Western Proteins in Ballyhaunis, and was monitored over 402 days. The wastewater treatment plant collects and treats wastewater generated in the slaughterhouse and the rendering plant. The pilot-scale IASBR influent was taken from the balance tank. This research project has developed a best available technology that has potentially huge implications for industries treating high-strength wastewater.
Duration September 2006 – August 2009
NUIG Research Team Dr. X. Zhan (P.I.); Dr. M.G. Healy (CoI)

Project Title An efficient system for the disposal of and energy recovery from slaughterhouse waste
Summary The key function micoorganism culture, anammox bacteria, were successfully enriched from a 10-L laboratory-scale bio-reactor. The anammox activity was improved in a 100-L bioreactor, which was seeded with the enriched anammox biomass. The pilot-scale nitrogen removal bio-reactor system with a total working volume of 3.0 m3 was designed and build. An automatic control system was designed and build for the pilot unit. The temperature, pH, and aeration can be optimised to optimize the nitrogen performance. The pilot unit was installed, started-up and operated on site at the rendering plant, Western Proteins, Ballyhuanis, Co. Mayo. The treated influent wastewater contains NH4-N of 400-800 mg N/L. During the three-month’s start-up period, with hydraulic retention time of 1.5-3 days, the nitrogen loading rate of the pilot unit is 0.4 kg N/(m3.d), and the nitrogen removal efficiency was up to 80%. The nitrogen removal performance of the pilot unit under the stable operation period, the nitrogen loading rate is expected to be as high as 2.0 kg N/(m3.d), and the nitrogen removal efficiency was up to 85%. The continue-on research work from 01/08/2010 to 06/09/2010, and to expectied date 30/09/2010 is carried out by Mr. Jianping Li without public funding support.
Duration September 2007 – August 2008
NUIG Research Team Dr. Xinmin Zhan (P.I.); Dr. M.G. Healy (CoI)

Project Title Advanced biofilm technologies for water and wastewater treatment
Duration Oct. 05 -Sept. 09
NUIG Research Team Michael Rodgers (PI), Dr. Xinmin Zhan (Co-PI)

Project Title A GIS-Based Water Quality Modelling Tool
Summary A new software product, MarGIS_WFD was developed for modelling of marine/freshwaters with particular application to the implementation of the EU Water Framework Directive and the EU Habitats Directive.
Duration 2005 - 2008
NUIG Research Team Dr. Michael Hartnett (co-PI); Dr. Stephen Nash (co-PI); Conor Delaney (postgraduate researcher)

Project Title EUROGEL (European Gelatinous Zooplankton)
Summary A collaborative research project involving ten EU partners, the aim of which was to study the mechanisms behind jellyfish blooms and their ecological and socio-economic effects.
Duration 2002 - 2005
NUIG Research Team Dr. Michael Hartnett (PI); Dr. Stephen Nash (collaborator); Indiana Olbert (PhD student); Dr. Robin Raine (PI); Sandra Lyons (Phd student)
Other Collaborators University of Bergen; University of Aberdeen; University of Odense; University of Hamburg; Instituto Espanol de Oceanografia; Institute of Fisheries and Aquaculture – Varna; Consejo Superior de Investigaciones Cientificas - Madrid; Dept of Fisheries and Marine Biology (Norway)