Four USF students present research at 2013 Water and Health Conference at UNC

Nathan Manser, Colleen Naughton, Matthew Verbyla, and Meghan Wahlstrom-Ramler presented their research at last week’s conference hosted by the Water Institute at the University of North Carolina, entitled Water and Health 2013: Where Science Meets Policy (http://whconference.unc.edu/).

Bench-scale anaerobic reactors

Nathan Manser presented results which indicate that Ascaris eggs may survive longer in bench-scale anaerobic reactors optimized to produce biogas from swine waste than they do in control reactors subjected to the same incubation conditions.

Nathan Manser’s presentation focused on the inactivation of Ascaris eggs in bench-scale anaerobic reactors that have been optimized for biogas production. Preliminary results indicate that the ideal conditions for biogas production in anaerobic reactors may actually enhance the survival of Ascaris eggs. Nathan plans to defend his Ph.D. proposal and advance to candidacy at the end of this year or beginning of next year.

Colleen Naughton, a Ph.D. candidate, also presented research results from a three-year study of a hand-washing intervention in Mali, using innovative techniques to monitor the use of soap and water. Results indicate that seasonality, gender, and proximity to a water source, among other factors, significantly influence whether or not communities continue to practice hand-washing.

Colleen Naughton presents her research on the factors that influence hand-washing in rural Mali. One notable finding from this study is that there was a 29% decrease in soap usage during the rainy season, which is when diarrheal and upper respiratory infections are most common.

Colleen Naughton presents her research on the factors that influence hand-washing in rural Mali. One notable finding from this study is that there was a 29% decrease in soap usage during the rainy season, which is when diarrheal and upper respiratory infections are most common.

Ph.D. student Matthew Verbyla presented a study comparing virus-particle association and virus removal in two stabilization pond systems in Bolivia: one consisting of three ponds in series, the other consisting of an anaerobic reactor followed by polishing ponds. Results suggest that a greater percentage of viruses in the anaerobic reactor effluent are associated with particles, which may protect them from sunlight disinfection in the subsequent ponds.

Meghan Wahlstrom-Ramler presented results from a study in Madagascar measuring the concentration of fecal indicator bacteria in shallow wells of different depths andĀ at different distances from pit latrines. Meghan, who served two years in the Peace Corps through USF’s Master’s International Program in Civil & Environmental Engineering, will defend her Master’s thesis this Spring.

UASB Reactor

Matthew Verbyla presented data that suggests that norovirus and pepper mild mottle virus present in the effluent of this upflow anaerobic sludge blanket reactor may be more associated with particles than those same viruses in the effluent of a conventional stabilization pond system.

The abstract presented by the USF PIRE researchers about virus-particle association and virus removal in stabilization ponds was recognized with an Abstract Award, given to severalĀ groups the top submissions for the conference. USF PIRE student Erin Symonds, the lead author for this study, also presented the results of this study at the 2013 Water Micro Conference held this past September in Florianopolis, Brazil (http://www.hrwm2013.org/)

 

 

An anaerobic lagoon within a system consisting of several anaerobic, facultative, and maturation lagoons, some in series, others in parallel, in Bolivia. This lagoon had been nearly non-functional after more than a decade of no sludge removal, but was restored to working order after sludge was removed by the municipality (Photo Credit: Erin Symonds)

An anaerobic lagoon within a system consisting of several anaerobic, facultative, and maturation lagoons, some in series, others in parallel, in Bolivia. This lagoon had been nearly non-functional after more than a decade of no sludge removal, but was restored to working order after sludge was removed by the municipality (Photo Credit: Erin Symonds)

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