Environmental proteomics: A new method to identify pollution in coastal waterways


The objective of this research is to maximise the efficiency of stormwater remediation by infiltration processes.This project is part of a larger research programme, which aims to remediate and harvest urban stormwater and to reduce contaminants being discharged to Sydney Harbour estuary.


Associate Professor Gavin Birch

Research Location

School of Geosciences

Program Type



Urbanisation and industrialisation of catchments have had a detrimental effect on water and sediment quality in adjacent estuarine waters, especially in high-population capital cities of the world. Pollution from land-based activities is one of the most serious threats to sediment and water quality and biological productivity in the marine environment and accounts for 77% of all marine pollution in Australia. Port Jackson is the most degraded estuary in New South Wales due mainly to stormwater runoff. The current project aims to remediate stormwater being discharged to Port Jackson for the dual purpose of improving the estuarine environment and to harvest stormwater for urban reuse. Three processes to be examined in the remediation of water using infiltration are
(1) the removal of nutrients by microbial metabolic activity,
(2) the retention of heavy metal ions, and
(3) the maintenance of adequate flow. The optimisation of these processes will be investigated using laboratory column experiments.

Additional Information

This project is funded (ARC Grant LP0455486) for a period of two years and supports a scholarship for a MSc degree. However, it is expected that the project will be completed within 18 months (this may be extended to a 3-year, PhD program depending on the success of the project and additional funding becoming available).

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Stormwater, infiltration, recycling, water harvesting remediation, Sydney Harbour, Port Jackson, runoff, urbanisation, sediment quality

Opportunity ID

The opportunity ID for this research opportunity is: 956

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