Cemaes Bay achieves ‘good’ status using Acclimatize predictive model

In 2017, Cemaes Bay was at risk of de-designation after failing EU bathing water standards. Following the development of the Acclimatize predictive model, the beach passed in 2018 and 2019 and was officially rated ‘good’ in 2020. Achieving good status brings benefits to the community and visitors, helping to support the local economy, associated sea based activities and public health.

In the media:

Scientists help improve bathing water quality at Anglesey beach | Aberystwyth University

https://www.aber.ac.uk/en/news/archive/2020/11/title-238304-en.html

Cemaes Bay now rated as good for bathing water | North Wales Chronicle

https://www.northwaleschronicle.co.uk/news/18882955.cemaes-bay-now-rated-good-bathing-water/

Cemaes Bay classed as ‘good’ in latest bathing water quality results | angleseymonnews.com

https://angleseymonnews.com/cemaes-bay-classed-as-good-in-latest-bathing-water-quality-results/

Gwyddonwyr yn helpu i wella ansawdd dŵr ymdrochi ar un o draethau Môn | lleol.cymru

https://www.lleol.cymru/blog/gwyddonwyr-yn-helpu-i-wella-ansawdd-dr-ymdrochi-ar-un-o-draethau-mn.html

Scientists help to improve bathing water quality at Anglesey beach | InYourArea

https://www.inyourarea.co.uk/news/scientists-help-to-improve-bathing-water-quality-at-anglesey-beach/


SARS-CoV-2 water surveillance project findings published

Levels of SARS-CoV-2 RNA in the influent of Dublin’s Ringsend wastewater treatment plant

The SARS-CoV-2 surveillance of sewage and water bodies project was launched in June 2020. Since then, weekly composite samples provided by Irish Water from the influent of Ringsend (Dublin), Shanganagh-Bray and Enniskerry wastewater treatment plants are analysed in Prof Wim Meijer’s laboratory. 

To measure the levels,  250 ml of each 24h-composite sewage sample is concentrated until a volume of 250 µl – 1 ml is obtained. After viral RNA extraction,  RT-qPCR assays for three viral markers are performed to detect the presence of the virus. This process takes around seven hours. Weekly reports are provided to NPHET, the Irish Epidemiological Modelling Advisory Group, the National Virus Reference Laboratory (NVRL) and Irish Water. 

In recent weeks, the levels of SARS-CoV-2 RNA have significantly increased compared to levels during the summer, and close match clinical data from the same period. Thus, wastewater offers an aggregate sample from an entire community and combined with clinical data allows critical monitoring of SARS-CoV-2 transmission within a community. This wastewater surveillance project is of immediate benefit to public health and our community  in identifying early COVID-19 warnings outbreaks.

This research is part funded by the European Regional Development Fund through the Ireland Wales Cooperation Programme as part of the Acclimatize operation and by Science Foundation Ireland (20/COV/0159).

In the media

Since the publication of his team’s findings on the SARS-CoV-2 water surveillance project Prof Wim Meijer has been interviewed extensively on local and national media outlets

Below are links to Professor Meijer’s recent interviews:

RTE Radio 1 News at One 29/9/20

https://www.rte.ie/radio/radioplayer/html5/#/radio1/21842032

98FM News 

https://www.98fm.com/news/ covid-19-rise-sewage-early- warning-outbreaks-1083046

Recent news paper articles:

Irish Independent 29/9/20

https://www.independent.ie/ world-news/coronavirus/rising- levels-of-virus-in-sewage- could-be-early-warning-of- surge-39571218.html

Sunday Times 27/9/20

https://www.thetimes.co.uk/edition/ireland/save-our-sea-swimmers-in-wave-of-protest-over-superbug-checks-5b9pcq29t

Irish Independent 23/8/20

https://www.independent.ie/ irish-news/news/sewage- samples-and-saliva-tests-to- fight-virus-39470633.html

Other media articles include:

Irish Times 12/6/20

https://www.irishtimes.com/news/science/ucd-scientists-receive-funding-to-develop-covid-19-early-warning-system-1.4277402

Irish Tech News 11/6/20

This article originally appeared on the UCD SBBS website at UCD School of Biomolecular and Biomedical Science | SARS-CoV-2 water surveillance project


EU funding boost for climate change research


Water mark rises for Cemaes Bay


Cemaes Bay moves into compliance for the first time in three years

We are delighted to say that Cemaes Bay has achieved compliance with the EU Directive in 2018.  The modelling system provided by the Acclimatize team is not required under EU legislation, but its use will enhance the bathing experience of visitors to Wales and add resilience to the local economy, which is heavily reliant on visitors to the Welsh coastline and its bathing waters.

Cemaes Bay was the first site sampled by the Welsh team working on the Acclimatize project during the 2017 bathing season.  This effort has resulted in: (i) a quantitative source apportionment of faecal indicator bacteria movement into the bathing water (see Cemaes QMSA comp 05_11_18.pdf); and (ii) a predictive model used to drive advisory signage at this site, which had failed the EU Bathing Water Directive (2006) in 2016 and 2017.  The new model was calibrated using half hourly sampling for 12 hours during 60 bathing season days in 2017.  This gives accurate prediction of water quality at the bathing water, with explained variance over 70%, using hydrological, tidal and meteorological predictor variables.  Model predictions (blue line) and actual 2017 data (orange circles) are presented in Figure 1 below.  Importantly, the high bacterial counts responsible for beaches failing Directive standards are correctly predicted by the new modelling system provided by the Acclimatize project.  This allows such ‘at-risk’ bathing waters, with a history of non-compliance, to be more resilient to natural causes of poor water quality such as rainfall events.

Figure 1: Prediction of Water Quality at Cemaes Bay bathing water in Anglesey, Wales (Click on image to enlarge)

To view the full presentation, click here Cemaes QMSA comp 05_11_18


Visit to UCD by Mark Drakeford AM, Cabinet Secretary for Finance, Welsh Government

The Acclimatize team, together with research teams from Interreg projects CALIN and Ecostructure, welcomed Minister Drakeford and his colleagues to UCD as part of their visit to Dublin on 21st February 2018.  The Acclimatize team was delighted to showcase the project and answer questions about its impacts so far.  The Minister showed great interest in all three projects and highlighted the importance of research collaborations between Ireland and Wales.

L – R Prof David Kay, Dr Bat Masterson, Prof Wim Meijer, Prof Orla Feely (UCD VP for Research Innovation and Impact), Minister Mark Drakeford, Dr John O’Sullivan, Prof Gregory O’Hare, Dr Laura Sala-Comorera, Dr Liam Reynolds


Surfers three times more likely to have E. coli in their guts than non-surfers


Minister Officially Launches Acclimatize – UCD 12th October 2017

Minister Launches €6.7 million Climate Change Research Initiative Led by University College Dublin

The Acclimatize team together with Professor Andrew J. Deeks, President, UCD were delighted to welcome Seán Kyne TD, Minister of State for Community Development, Natural Resources and Digital Development to officially launch the 5-year Acclimatize project (www.acclimatize.eu/). The €6.7 million climate change research initiative has been part-funded by the European Regional Development Fund through the Ireland Wales Programme 2014-2020.

The overall objective of the project, led by UCD in partnership with Aberystwyth University, is to improve the quality of coastal waters in both Ireland and Wales, boosting local tourism and supporting marine industries, such as shellfish harvesting.

The goal of the Acclimatize project is to identify pollution streams and their impact on coastal waters, in both urban and rural settings, and the impact of climate change on pollution.

With this data real-time models will be developed to inform the effects of climate change through altered weather patterns which impact the quality of water in coastal areas. The project aims to develop a range of practical management methods, including smart real‐time predictive tools, to improve the quality of such coastal waters to ensure compliance with regulations to protect human health and the marine environment.

Seán Kyne TD, Minister of State for Community Development, Natural Resources and Digital Development, said, “I am delighted to launch the Acclimatize research initiative. This week with Budget 2018 we have secured a 43% increase in funding for energy and climate action initiatives to help us on our journey to a low carbon economy. Research initiatives such as Acclimatize are very important in assisting Government and other stakeholders in making informing decisions which maximise the effectiveness of the funding available. Acclimatize is also a very positive example of how EU funds are being are being used to support local economies to address pollution in our coastlines and mitigate the impacts of climate change.”

Professor Andrew J. Deeks, President, UCD said, “University College Dublin is delighted to be taking part in another collaborative partnership with Aberystwyth University. The ability to sustain our environment, to use natural resources wisely and to manage waste is central to our society and economy. In this regard the Acclimatize research project, which we are officially launching today, will help to bridge the knowledge gap in relation to the pollution of at-risk bathing waters in Dublin Bay, and in a number of bays around Wales, by identifying and quantifying the pollution streams entering these bays and determining the impact on these waters through a dynamic period of climate change.”

The Acclimatize project will focus on designated and ‘at-risk’ bathing waters in two complementary environments, a large scale urban and a rural agricultural environment. The large scale urban environment is represented in the project by ‘at-risk’ bathing waters in Dublin Bay (Sandymount, Merrion and Dollymount strands), whereas the rural agricultural environment will focus on the main ‘at-risk’ bathing waters commencing with Cemaes Bay in Anglesey which formed the focus of environmental sampling and instrumentation in 2017.

Initial fieldwork at Cemaes Bay in Anglesey was successfully completed in the 2017 bathing season and provides an excellent platform on which to build predictive modelling. This has already been presented to the international science and policy communities with an invited keynote talk in New Zealand in September 2017. It was also presented in a report to the WHO and EU on the science-base supporting revision of the WHO and EU water quality criteria for bathing waters which will be considered by international experts in early 2018.

Professor Wim Meijer, Head, UCD School of Biomolecular and Biomedical Science, who is leading the Acclimatize project said, “Climate change is predicted to produce more weather extremes and, in particular, storminess in North West Europe including the Irish Sea. This will have negative impacts on coastal water quality in the period to 2100 which will threaten the sustainable use of coastal waters which form the economic basis of coastal tourism and shellfish harvesting industries.”

He added, “Improvement of bathing waters is often complicated, or prevented altogether, by a lack of knowledge of the pollution streams that contribute to non-compliance. Climate proofing of regulatory and infrastructural decisions affecting bathing water quality is therefore a policy challenge urgently needing the policy evidence-base which we will provide in the Acclimatize project.”

Professor David Kay, Centre for Research into Environment and Health, Department of Geography and Earth Sciences, Aberystwyth University, who is leading the project in Wales said, “The first year of Acclimatize in Wales is progressing well with excellent support from relevant local authority and resource agency partners.”

“The Acclimatize Cemaes Bay study location was chosen to assist with sustainable compliance of this site against the EU bathing Water Directive using the latest real-time modelling strategies to protect public health through cutting-edge modelling and management approaches.”

“The work has generated significant international interest already and early field data have been communicated to the WHO and EU policy and scientific communities including a presentation to the UK inter-agency bathing waters biennial conference in November 2017 in Wrexham.  Follow-on work at additional sites, together with an examination of climate change impacts, will commence with our project partners in the autumn of 2017.

Professor William Gallagher, Director of the UCD Conway Institute in which Professor Meijer is one of over 90 Conway Fellows, commented, “The Acclimatize project builds on years of hard work by Professor Meijer and his colleagues and I am delighted that a Fellow from our Institute is co-leading on such a key European initiative with obvious and tangible impacts on people’s daily lives.”

At UCD Professor Meijer is collaborating with Professor John O’Sullivan, UCD School of Civil Engineering and Professor Gregory O’Hare, UCD School of Computer Science on the Acclimatize project.

Acclimatize launch – presentations


Buoys to monitor environment around Dublin bay


Avoca and Tolka among Irelands six most polluted rivers


DCU leading new €2m investigation into canal and river pollution


Water quality back to normal at two of three Dublin beaches


X

This project has been part funded by the ERDF though the Ireland Wales Programme 2014 -2020.
www.irelandwales.eu