WP4: Exposure

ESR4: Taylor Lane

ESR5: Anju Ayillath

ESR6: John Hader

ESR contributions

Fate and uptake of chemicals in aquatic and soil systems in the future


Development of a wastewater re-use exposure model based on produce consumption


Development of an exposure modelling framework for estimating the exposure of emerging chemicals in river basins, aquatic organisms and drinking water now and in the future

The primary goal of John’s PhD is to investigate scenarios of exposure of aquatic organisms and humans (through drinking water and aquatic organism ingestion) to chemicals of emerging concern through the year 2050 and beyond. Scenarios of chemical emissions, changes in climate variables, and changes in other environmental parameters as a result of global change (e.g., population and land use changes, changes in agricultural practices, etc.) will be incorporated into multimedia fate and transport models to investigate the dynamics of chemical fate through time and space across Europe. These modelling results will provide estimated concentrations of chemicals in different environmental media, which will in turn be used within chemical bioaccumulation modelling to estimate scenarios of human chemical exposure. Additional smaller-scale modelling will be conducted to investigate the impact of extreme hydrology changes in river basins on the fate and transport of chemicals. In all scenarios, a wide range of physical chemical properties will be investigated given the uncertainties associated with what the properties of chemicals used in the future will be.

As an additional task, John will be working with staff from one of the ECORISK2050 project partners, the Käppala wastewater treatment plant in Stockholm, to assess risks to the plant from upstream industrial chemical spills. With the help of information from the upstream industrial clients, toxicity data, and chemical fate modelling, a prioritization list will be generated enumerating the upstream facilities and associated chemicals that pose the highest risk (if they were to be accidentally spilled) to the well-being of the microorganisms utilized in the sewage treatment process. This will facilitate communication and potential mitigation strategies with upstream clients and reduce the risk of treatment plant damage, something that is critical to maintain environmental water quality.


4.1. Develop models for estimating the effects of environmental change on the fate of chemicals in the aquatic and soil environments and uptake into organisms with different traits.

4.2 Develop new models for estimating changes in human exposure to chemicals via crop items resulting from an increase in wastewater re-use systems.

4.3 Develop an exposure modelling framework for estimating concentrations of emerging contaminants in river basins, drinking water and fish/shellfish, now and in the future.

Description of Work and Role of Specific Beneficiaries / Partner Organisations

Environmental change will alter the fate and transport of chemicals in the environment which will have knock-on effects on exposure concentrations. Wastewater use practices are also likely to change. Existing exposure modelling approaches have not been designed to cope with environmental change. Therefore, in this WP, we will develop and parameterise modelling frameworks for estimating concentrations of chemicals in surface waters and drinking water and in associated food items (crops, fish and shellfish) in the future. The model parameterisation work will be performed by ESRs 4 and 5 at the UoY and HU. Work at the UoY will involve laboratory-based investigations to explore the effects of key environmental change parameters (temperature, pH, DOC and sediment TOC) on the sorption, persistence, uptake and metabolism of case study compounds in aquatic and soil systems. These data will be used to develop models for estimating the effects of environmental change on fate and uptake. Experimental work at HU, will explore the fate and behaviour of chemicals in water re-use systems. These data will be used to develop crop uptake and exposure models for wastewater re-use systems. SU (ESR6) will develop an exposure modelling framework for estimating exposure concentrations of emerging contaminants in river basins, drinking water for current and future conditions. By combining the parameterisation work with the modelling frameworks and emissions scenarios developed in WP3 (Scenarios), we will provide the exposure information required for the risk assessment work performed in WP5 (Effects).

Working Package Deliverables

4.1            Modelling approaches for estimating the effects of key environmental change parameters on the fate and uptake of chemicals

4.2            Crop uptake models and human exposure models for contaminants in water reuse systems

4.3            Exposure modelling framework for estimating effects of environmental change on chemical exposure in river basins and drinking waters.

4.4            Future ecological and human exposure scenarios for chemical contaminants