Recent project collaborations with Thames Water have been examining the health risks associated with recycled wastewater at the UK’s largest community wastewater recycling scheme at London’s Olympic Park. The Old Ford Water Recycling Plant (WRP), located next to the main site of the London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games, treats 600,000 litres of wastewater every day, which is then used to flush toilets and irrigate parkland at the Olympic site.
Ongoing collaboration between scientists from both the School of Environment and Technology and Thames Water has focussed on the plant’s ability to remove groups of viruses known as bacteriophages. The project has involved monitoring water quality at different stages in the treatment plant and over a 12-month period to look at seasonal fluctuations in virus removal. The results of this collaboration are shedding light on the mechanisms by which microorganisms are removed from wastewaters, and improve our understanding of human health risks. As such the findings of this research will help to ensure that Thames Water is able to meet strict water quality guidelines designed to protect human health in the years ahead.