Professor Pierre Le Clech
"During the last 5 years, we have collaborated with Water Corporation, the main water operator in Western Australia, to address the health risk associated with the presence and growth of Legionella (a dangerous pathogen) in their groundwater treatment processes. The aeration systems commonly used for water oxidation produce aerosols capable of carrying Legionella, which can be inhaled by local operators or nearly community members. Following an extensive series of plant visits, sampling and analysis, our UNSW research team has developed an advanced risk assessment, highlighting the various risk factors and complex interactions between them. The limitations of the current aeration systems were identified and used to design a new pilot, which has been operated for more than a year. The lessons learned from this trial resulted in a new set of design guidelines for the design, operation, maintenance and cleaning of the new generation of aeration devices. Our next steps are to assess the performance of the pilot after its relocation in a new site and to study the Legionella health risk in wastewater treatment plants."