Current Research Interests
Applying for a postgraduate degree
In the first instance please contact the member of staff whose research interests
are most closely allied to your own. He or she will then discuss potential research
ideas with you and depending on funding then they may be prepared to act as
your supervisor. Following agreement with a potential supervisor, a formal
application to register must be made through Graduate Studies. Please read the
application procedures. Funded research studentships are widely advertized in
the press and also via the Graduate Studies Office
website. Those interested in
the research areas listed above should contact Professor Nick Gray by

  • The control of Gordona mediated  foaming in activated sludge
Foaming is an increasingly problematic operational problem with the activated sludge process. There
have been a number of projects in this area including a survey to assess the distribution of
filamentous bacteria in Irish activated sludge plants and foaming assessment. Current PhD projects :
Foaming control using metabolic control funded by Science Foundation Ireland. more information

  • The role of protozoa in activated sludge treatment
This is a key area of research with special emphasis on the evolution of community structure within
the activated sludge process and also their use as indicators of plant performance. The importance of
protozoa in treatment systems is poorly understood, especially in terms of pathogen control and the
removal of nanostructures. Current  PhD project:
The effects of anoxia on protozoan communities in
activated sludge
. Funded by Science Foundation Ireland. more information

  • The use of plants for nutrient removal and tertiary treatment
While plants have been widely employed in the treatment of a wide variety of wastewaters in tropical
areas less success has been made in their use in temperate zones including Ireland.  Two PhD
projects are currently under way one is the utilization of
duckweed and the other the use of submerged
plants such as
Lagarosiphon major for the treatment of high nutrient and industrial wastewaters.

  • Optimization and management of activated sludge treatment
A key aspect of our work is putting research into practice.  This is done through consultancy but also
through active research on optimization of the process. Current PhD project:  
The effect of wastewater
characteristics on activated sludge operation
. Funded by Trinity College  Dublin and Water Technology
more information

  • Upgrading septic tank systems

  • Biofilm processes

  • Sewage sludge
The disposal of sewage sludge in Ireland has been a core research theme over the years. Detailed
studies have focused on metal concencentration in sludge and their variability. Specific studies
Metal variability and signatures in biosolids.

  • The Assessment and control of acid mine drainage
Work on the impact of acid mine drainage generated from the mines at Avoca in County Wicklow has
been ongoing since 1991. Work has included chemical and biological assessment of the impacted
river, studies on the adit chemistry and also various studies on the mines and tailing ponds
themselves. Current work is focussed on new treatment and assessment methods.  Current PhD  
The treatment of acid mine drainage in admixture with domestic wastewaters. Funded by the
Irish Research Council for Science and Technology.
more information      The potential of duckweed in
acid mine drainage impact assessment and detoxification
. more information

  • The effect of horticultural and agricultural pestides on freshwaters
Although there is now much regulation in plcae to control the use of chemicals in horticulture and
agriculture there is still very little understanding about the effects of such chemicals on freshwater
ecosystems.  A PhD project to look at the impact of a range of these chemicals on the different trophic
levels in surface Irish waters is currently under way.
more information

  • Drinking Water Quality
A new project is underway reviewing the existing water disinfection methodologies and exploring the
impact of climate change on waterborne diseases and the disinfection technologies that we will need
to tackle any emerging problems.
  • Water Treatment sludge
Large quantities of chemical sludge are produced at water treatment plants during the clarification and
filtration stages of treatment.  These pose significant disposal challanges.  Current MSc project:
Characterization and Reuse of Water Treatment Sludge. more information
  • Water supply sustainability
Understanding water use patterns is critical in achieving more sustainable water supplies.  This
information is used in conjunction with water demand management techniques to optimize water
usage and so make the most of existing supplies. Current PhD project:
Domestic water use patterns
and the use of water demand management in water sustainability
. Funded by Trinity College  Dublin
and Water Technology Research.
more information

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 Water Technology Research Group
 Trinity College Dublin
   1980-2010 thirty years of research, training and consultancy
Wastewater Treatment
River Pollution and its Control
Drinking Water Treatment