Anthony Agostino presents at European Geosciences Union Annual General Assembly

Anthony Agostino, PhD student from the UNSW Algae and Organic Matter (AOM) laboratory and recent delegate of the European Geosciences Union Annual General Assembly 2019 (EGU19), has been exploring a catchment to treatment plant approach to natural organic matter in potable water supply systems.

Natural organic matter, which adds a tea-like brown colour to water as well as contributes towards the formation of potentially toxic disinfection by products, is naturally contained within surface waters. Much of the infrastructure within potable water treatment is aimed at removing natural organic matter to meet regulatory health and aesthetic guidelines for potable water quality. This is becoming increasingly difficult as global surface water natural organic matter concentrations are rising as a response to changing climatic conditions.

Anthony’s research looks towards cataloguing not only the concentration of natural organic matter, but also its physical and chemical properties across an entire Sydney based catchment system. On this theme, Anthony presented an oral presentation at EGU19 in Vienna, detailing “A multi-technique assessment on the flux of natural organic matter across an Australian water supply catchment”.

The centrepiece of the work is an ongoing two-year intensive catchment wide sampling, where he is employing a suite of state-of-the-art analytical techniques for natural organic matter quantification and qualification. Widespread application of multiple NOM characterization techniques has yielded novel insight into the spatial and temporal responses to climatological events within the catchment.

“Fundamentally, water sits at the heart of the environmental continuum and finding novel solutions, adaptive measures or mitigation techniques to solve key issues around water are inherently multidisciplinary research exercises,” says Anthony.

He was among 16,273 delegates from 131 countries to attend EGU19, a showcase of the latest cutting-edge research from the global earth and planetary sciences community.

Anthony’s PhD falls under the Australian Research Council linkage project, “adapting catchment monitoring and potable water treatment to climate change”, in collaboration with WaterNSW and Sydney Water.

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