Sina Moradi - UNSW Global Water Institute Research

In Profile: Sina Moradi, Postdoctoral Research Associate

Sina Moradi grew up in a town in Iran with a small river running through it. As a child, he often swum in the river during the summer holidays and wondered whether the clear water meant it was clean—or whether there may have been something invisible in the water that could make it harmful to swim in.

Later in life, Sina completed a Bachelor of Science in Chemical Engineering at Iran University of Science and Technology, and a Master of Science in Chemical Engineering-Process Design at Sharif University of Technology in Iran. During his bachelor and master studies, his environment-related courses and the lecturers who taught them gave Sina the opportunity to learn more about water issues and possible solutions to current challenges in water research.  He credits one of his lecturers, Dr. Behzadi, for encouraging him to complete a Ph.D. overseas, which is how he found himself at UNSW Sydney.

Sina completed his Ph.D. through UNSW’s School of Chemical Engineering, where he worked to develop new knowledge and understanding of the key factors that impact residual disinfectant levels in drinking water.

To produce safe drinking water and reduce the risk of hazardous pathogens, disinfection treatment is necessary. Maintaining an acceptable level of disinfectant residuals in water distribution systems has long been a challenge for water utilities, and one of the most commonly used disinfectants, chloramine, provides higher stability and longer lasting disinfection effects than chlorine, which is mainly important in drinking water distribution systems.Sina and his colleagues at a site visit from a water filtration plant in Sydney, May 2018, Credit: Sina Moradi

However, using chloramine as a disinfectant can cause concerns such as nitrification and the formation of disinfection by-products which are unpleasant in drinking water. Nitrification is a microbiological procedure that produces nitrite and nitrate consecutively as a result of ammonia oxidation. Nitrification in water distribution systems needs to be kept under control for several reasons. The nitrite produced through nitrification will cause further chloramine decay, which in turn increases the possibility of microbial regrowth events in water distribution systems. Therefore, chloramine decay management and prevention of nitrification are crucial and of utmost importance for water authorities.

Sina’s research was about assessment and modelling of chloramine residual decay in drinking water, and through his Ph.D. he was able to collaborate with the research team at SA Water (Adelaide) on different strategies to manage chloramine decay in water distribution systems.

“The outcomes of this collaboration have the potential to be used by water treatment operators as decision-making support tools that could lead to significant improvements in control and operation of disinfection dosing through responses to changing water quality,” said Sina.

Sina chose UNSW to do his Ph.D. because it is one of the world leading universities in water-related research studies—and because of the strong reputation of his supervisors, especially Professor Rose Amal.

“I’m really glad that I made this choice,” said Sina.

“Doing research in a multi-cultural university with people from all over the world was incredibly impressive.”

Sina has since continued his career with UNSW, and is currently a Postdoctoral Research Associate in the School of Chemical Engineering. His current research builds on his PhD, with a focus on adapting catchment monitoring and potable water treatment to climate change.

“Doing research in a multi-cultural university with people from all over the world was incredibly impressive.”

Sina Moradi, Postdoctoral Research Associate, UNSW School of Chemical Engineering

A growing amount of research is suggesting changing climatic conditions are influencing variations in the concentration and character of natural organic matter (NOM). Evidence for this change has been noted by the water industry through decreases in operational efficiency and capacity of existing treatment processes and infrastructure.

Sina’s multi-disciplinary project investigates possible climate and catchment state dependencies of NOM events and aims to develop new techniques to detect and characterise changes in NOM properties both in situ and in real-time. The project provides an opportunity to develop and translate fundamental knowledge on climatic conditions that trigger NOM events, and new analytical techniques to characterise NOM and adjust treatment accordingly.

The breadth of this multi-disciplinary project spans many disciplines including catchment hydrology, satellite monitoring, advance water quality treatment and analysis.

Share this