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+34 93 401 18 60This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
UPC: C/ Jordi Girona 31, (08034 - Barcelona) - IDAEA: C/ Jordi Girona 18-26, (08034 - Barcelona)

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Training courses, events and seminars

Bio-electrochemical systems as a tool for the enhancement and monitoring overall heterotrophic bacterial activity in hydraulically saturated gravel-based wastewater treatment systems (constructed wetlands) 

A cargo de: Jaume Puigagut (GEMMA - Group of Environmental Engineering and Microbiology, UPC)

Fecha:jueves 11 de octubreen el Aula Cihs


Bioelectrochemical systems (Microbial fuel cells - MFCs) implemented in constructed wetlands (CW-MFCs), albeit a relatively new technology which is still under study, have shown to improve the treatment efficiency of domestic wastewater. So far the vast majority of CW-MFC systems investigated are designed as lab-scale systems working under rather unrealistic hydraulic conditions (up-flow, batch feeding) using synthetic wastewater. The main objective of this work was to quantify CW-MFCs performance operated under different conditions in a more realistic setup using meso-scale systems with horizontal flow fed with real domestic wastewater. The potential use of MFC electric signal as overall hetrotrophic bacterial activity indicator was also assessed. Operational conditions tested were organic loading rate (4.9±1.6, 6.7±1.4 and 13.6±3.2 g COD/m2.day) and hydraulic regime (continuous vs intermittent feeding) as well as different electrical connections; : CW control (conventional CW without electrodes), open-circuit CW-MFC (unpolarized – external circuit between anode and cathode is not connected) and closed- circuit CW-MFC (polarized – external circuit is connected). 
For the purpose of this work, eight meso-scale horizontal subsurface flow CWs were operated for about four months. Each wetland consisted of a PVC reservoir of 0.193 m2 filled up with 4/8 mm granitic riverine gravel (wetted depth 25 cm). All wetlands had intermediate sampling points for gravel and interstitial liquid sampling. The CW- MFCs were designed as three MFC electrodes in series along the flow path of the wetland. The a anodes consisted of gravel with an incorporated current collector (stainless steel mesh) and the cathode consisted of a graphite felt layer. The eElectrodes of closed-circuit CW-MFC systems were connected externally over a 220 Ω resistance. 
Results showed no significant differences between tested organic loading rates, hydraulic regimes or electrical connections regarding the treatment of domestic wastewater. However, on average, systems operated in closed-circuit CW-MFC mode under continuous flow outperformed the other experimental conditions, with open-circuit MFC and CW control being the worst performin experimental conditions. Closed-circuit CW-MFC compared to conventional CW control systems showed around 6% and 19% higher COD and ammonium removal, respectively. Correspondingly, overall bacteria activity, as measured by the fluorescein diacetate (FDA) technique, was higher (between 4% and to 30%) in closed- circuit systems when compared to CW control systems. Finally, in spite of hight results variability, MFC electric signal correlated well with overall heterotrophic bacterial activity (r2= 0.95), which evidences the potential use of MFC electric signal as a continuous indirect tool for bacterial activity monitoring.

Traces of Processes: Data & Stochastic Models for Improving Decisions

A cargo de: Claus Haslauer (University of Tübingen)
Fecha:jueves 4 de octubre a las 12:15h
Lugar: UPC - Departamento de Ing. Civil y Ambiental

We need to assess change in human and natural systems quantitatively. Hydrology provides suitable assessment tools for planning, design, and societal issues. The basis for these informed decisions is data. Quantitative information about the subsurface is sparse. Given the
available data (e.g., measurements of hydraulic conductivity), we should tease out as much information as possible. I demonstrate copula-based methodology to describe and model non-linear spatial dependence in hydraulic conductivity data-sets. Subsequently, the effects of this non-linear spatial dependence structure on dependent processes (e.g., solute transport behaviour) are analysed. The characteristics of data are manifold: both direct and indirect measurements are useful data. Certain kinds of data (e.g., land cover,
snow equivalents) can be measured accurately with high spatial coverage.On the other hand, direct measurements are sparse. Thus, we need techniques to combine different kinds of information (censored,categorical, real-valued) as we need to estimate at unsampled times and locations. In the second part of this presentation, I will show an example where the goal is to predict groundwater quality parameters at
regional scale in the federal state of Baden-Württemberg, Germany.

For this purpose I am employing a stochastic copula-based model that is capable to mimic the following properties that were encountered in the data: the statistical distribution of the measurements, a varying degree of dependence in different quantiles, censored measurements (e.g., measurements below detection limit), the composition of categorical additional information in the neighbourhood (exhaustive secondary
information), and the spatial dependence of a dependent secondary variable, possibly measured with a different observation network
(non-exhaustive secondary data).




Meso-Scale recharge systems to compare the efficiency of diverse Reactive Barriers accelerating water quality improvement.

A cargo de : Cristina Valhondo
Fecha: Jueves 20 de Septiembre a las 12:15h
Lugar: Departamento de Ingeniería Civil y Ambiental, Modulo D2-Aula CIHS, Planta Baja.

The reuse of impaired waters has become a required component of water resources management due to the increasing demand of quality water, especially in arid and semiarid regions. Therefore, the development of sustainable, high-efficiency, low cost technologies for water treatment is urgent.
Artificial recharge of aquifers with impaired water is a low-energy and low-cost water recycling technology which allows to improve the recharge water quality and to increase groundwater resources. One of the major concerns with artificial recharge using impaired water is the potential contamination of the underlying aquifer with pathogens and inorganic and organic chemicals present in the infiltrating water. 
The aim of this study is to test and improve reactive barriers to prevent leaching of pathogens, inorganic nutrients, and emerging organic compounds to underlying aquifers during artificial recharge of aquifers through infiltration basin. 

Mixing-limited bimolecular chemical reactions at pore-scale

A cargo de: Lazaro Perez  (IDAEA-CSIC)

Fecha: Jueves 13 de septiembre a las 12:15 h
Lugar: Departamento de Ingeniería Civil y Ambienta, Modulo D2-Aula CIHS, Planta Baja



Mixing processes control chemical transformations such as precipitation/dissolution or degradation reactions that are fast compared to mass transfer processes. Chemical
reactions are intrinsically local phenomena, while many applications require predictions at large scales. Physical and chemical heterogeneities are found at all scales and are
at the root of complex spatial concentration distributions, segregation of reactants and phenomena related to the notion of incomplete mixing.
In order to assess the impact of medium and flow heterogeneity at pore-scale on mixingcontrolled reactions, we study the bimolecular irreversible chemical reaction A + B !
C. We consider the reactive displacement of B by a continuous injection of A in a 2-dimensional porous medium characterized by a random distribution of grain size and
position. We use a reactive random walk particle tracking (RWPT) method to simulate the reactive transport problem. This approach is fully equivalent to the advection-diffusionreaction-
equation. We observe three different regimes for the evolution of the product mass mC(t). In the first regime the reaction is controlled by diffusion, in the intermediate regime
it is dominated by advective heterogeneity and characterized by incomplete mixing, in the third, asymptotic regime, mass production is controlled by hydrodynamic dispersion. We
quantify the full evolution of the product mass through the dispersive lamella model (Perez et al., 2018), based on an effective dispersion coefficient, which captures the features of
stretching, compression and coalescence of the mixing front. The effective model predicts accurately the total mass of C. The developed methodology is applied to the pore-scale
experiments reported by Jim´enez-Mart´ınez et al. (2015).


Modeling of a field diffusion experiment in granite. The GTS-LTD project at the Grimsel Test Sit

A cargo de: Josep M.Soler
Fecha: Jueves 21 de Junio a las 12:15
Lugar: Departamento de Ingeniería Civil y Ambienta, Modulo D2-Aula CIHS, Planta Baja


A first in situ diffusion experiment in non-fractured granite (monopole 1) was already performed at the Grimsel Test Site. Several tracers (3H as HTO, 22Na+, 134Cs+, 131I- with stable I- as carrier) were continuously circulated through a packed-off borehole and the decrease in tracer concentrations in the liquid phase was monitored for a period of 789 days (June 2007 – August 2009). Subsequently, the borehole section was overcored and the tracer profiles in the rock analyzed. From the modeling of the experiment it was evident that a Borehole Disturbed Zone (BDZ) had to be taken into account. HTO seemed to display large rock capacity values in the BDZ. Also, modeling of out-leaching experiments (3H, I-) using overcored rock samples from monopole 1 gave apparent diffusion coefficients one order of magnitude larger than those obtained from the modeling of the in situ experiment. Given these results, it was decided to perform a second experiment (monopole 2), which includes a second observation borehole close to the new injection borehole.
Tracer circulation in the new monopole 2 experiment started in March 5th 2014 and ended in August 22nd 2017 (1266 days). The selected tracers were 3H, 22Na+, 134Cs+, 133Ba2+ and 36Cl-. A first predictive modeling exercise (1D-radial model) was performed early in the experiment using transport and sorption parameters from monopole 1, together with laboratory results for 133Ba2+ and 36Cl-. Those predictive calculations were compared with initial monitoring data from the in situ experiment (activities in the circulation system of the injection borehole). No apparent effect from a possible Borehole Disturbed Zone (BDZ) was observed from the experimental data. The very initial drop in activities for HTO, 22Na+ and 36Cl- (non- and weakly-sorbing tracers) during the first day of tracer circulation were clearly due to initial mixing in the circulation system. The initial drop in activities for 134Cs+ and 133Ba2+ showed clearly the effect of sorption. Bulk rock parameters for 134Cs+ from monopole 1 seemed to be applicable to monopole 2. However, 133Ba2+ seemed to sorb more strongly than expected (or to diffuse faster into the rock).
The final measurements are now compared with results from the existing calculations and also from new calculations using parameters from laboratory experiments for HTO and 36Cl-. Additionally, 2D calculations have been performed to check the possible effect of advection through the rock matrix.

Artificial Recharge experiment in Palamós

a cargo de: Lurdes Martinez Landa. Investigadora UPC
Fecha: Jueves 28 de Junio a las 12:15 h
Lugar: Departamento de Ingeniería Civil y Ambienta, Modulo D2-Aula CIHS, Planta Baja


Water is essential for life, pure drinking water is a limited resource and its demand to supply ratio is increasing globally due to population growth, climate change… Development of efficient, sustainable and cost-effective techniques for water purification and reuse is therefore urgent.

Artificial Recharge is an often used technique to replenish exploited aquifers. Water of insufficient quality for drinking is infiltrated via basins or surface spreading through soils and aquifer sediments thereby improving its quality. Although managed recharge has been used for decades, the techniques is often operated as a black box without knowledge of the micro-organisms and the metabolic processes and pathways involved.

ACWAPUR project aims at developing innovative techniques to prevent leaching of pathogens, inorganic nutrients and organic pollutants to underlying aquifers during artificial recharge processes. This will be achieved by the use of advanced treatment permeable barriers, with a porosity that prevent leaching of pathogens and at the same time provide optimal conditions for microbial degradation processes. These barriers are constructed using organic layers to promote sorption of organic pollutants and facilitate the creation of different redox conditions to accelerate aerobic and anaerobic degradation processes.

In this context, we have constructed a group of 6 small recharge basins, combining different plants and barriers compositions to compare the behavior on the contaminants degradation. This seminar it would be formed by two parts: experiment design and first recharge period (lessons learned or not), and first chemical results. Waiting for the analytical results, we left the second part for summer comeback.

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