Kathryn Hassell, University of Melbourne, Victoria, Australia

The WiOW: What’s in Our Water 2018 Symposium was recently held at the CSIRO Discovery Centre from 29 October–1 November in Canberra, Australia. It was the sixth event in a series that has been running since 2004 in conjunction with CSIRO and SETAC Australasia. There was representation from several countries including Australia, New Zealand, Japan, USA, Canada, Austria, The Netherlands, China and Korea, contributing to a total of around 120 delegates. The popular single-track format ensures an inclusive atmosphere and great networking opportunities for researchers, managers, policy makers and others interested in the identification and management of micropollutants in the environment.

This year, there was a strong focus on per and poly-fluorinated substances (PFASs), with sessions that covered exposure, fate, effects and remediation of PFASs in the environment. There were also sessions on antimicrobial resistance (AMR), microplastics, endocrine disrupting chemicals (EDCs) and other emerging contaminants, treatment processes and technologies, and risk assessment, management, regulation and policy.

Annegaaike Leopold

Plenary speaker Annegaaike Leopold entertaining guests at the conference dinner with anecdotes on Dutch cultural matters.

The four invited speakers presented fantastic plenaries that perfectly encompassed the conference theme, covering everything thing from the research, policy and social needs for managing emerging contaminants in the environment:

  • David Sedlak, UC Berkeley, USA: Lessons Learned from the Last Two Decades of Emerging Contaminants
  • Annegaaike Leopold, Calidris environment BV, The Netherlands: Research to Policy on Emerging Contaminants – The EU Perspective
  • Ed Topp, Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada: Environmental Dimension of Antimicrobial Resistance Development
  • Virginia Baker, Institute for Environmental Science & Research, New Zealand: What’s in Our Water, and What Can We Do About It? Science at the Interface of Policy, Community and Sustainable Change

As always, student participation was excellent, and the quality of oral and poster presentations was outstanding. Congratulations to all students who participated in the conference. The judging panel had a tough time allocating prizes to the top presentations. Here are the lucky winners:

Best Student Poster

Ki Ying Kim, Pusan National University, Korea: Spatial and Seasonal Variability and Removal Efficiency of Perfluoroalkyl Compounds in Drinking Water Treatment Plant, with Distribution Changing Trend from Short-Chain PFASs

Runner Up
Maita Subba, University of Melbourne, Australia: Establishing Standard Acute Test of Metals and Pesticides for Potamopyrgus antipodarum

Tim Coggan

PhD student Tim Coggan receiving an award for his oral presentation.

Best Student Oral Presentation

Winner 1
Tim Coggan, RMIT University, Australia: Investigation of the levels of PFAS in aqueous matrices from nineteen Australian wastewater treatment plants

Winner 2
Jon Dominic Habito, University of Melbourne, Australia: The potential of sediment-bound bifenthrin to induce stress responses in flathead gudgeon (Philypnodon grandiceps)

Runner Up
Phil Choi, University of Queensland, Australia: Assessment of Population Histamine Burden by Analysing a Histamine Metabolite in Wastewater

A special thanks to our conference sponsors PM Separations, TECO bio, Water Research Australia, Sydney Water, Urban Utilities Queensland, CSIRO and SETAC Australasia, and to our local and international organizing committees.

Authors’ contact information: khassell@unimelb.edu.au

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