December 14, 2020 by Adam Peters

Adam and Graham have been working with researchers from the Wilfred Laurier University and the University of Waterloo in Canada, the Centre for Ecology and Hydrology in the UK, and Unilever to investigate the speciation of silver in both wastewaters and natural waters. This is an important issue because although silver can be very toxic in the environment under some conditions it also forms very strong complexes with organic matter and this has a large effect in reducing its potential to cause toxicity. Furthermore, because there can be considerable challenges associated with measuring silver concentrations in the environment due to the low levels present, and especially those forms of silver that are of the most relevance to its toxicity, it is important to be able to make reliable predictions of the fate and behaviour of silver in the environment using common chemical speciation models such as WHAM. Although limited quantities of silver are used in a variety of household products, often for its antimicrobial properties, it does not appear to inhibit wastewater treatment processes even at relatively high concentrations. The results of this study have recently been published and can be downloaded for a limited period from the publishers website.