Selection and management of groundwater arsenic remediation approaches in Northern India

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Please note applications are no longer being accepted for this position

This is one of two research projects developing new systems for remediating groundwater pollution in India. The University of Manchester is the home institution for this project. To view the Melbourne-based partner project, click here.

Globally, the contamination of groundwater from naturally-occurring arsenic is a major public health threat impacting the health and livelihoods of millions of people, particularly in South/Southeast Asia. In India, groundwater arsenic is a major problem particularly in shallow, reducing aquifers of the Gangetic Basin where groundwater reliance is increasingly high.

Despite the prevalence of a number of remediation strategies, effective and sustainable implementation of these strategies remains very challenging for a number of technical and non-technical reasons.

Further, rapidly developing urban areas (including northern India for example in Patna, Bihar) create unique challenges such as high groundwater pumping rates (which may impact the hydrogeochemical controls on arsenic mobilisation), the presence of potential competing water quality risks such as emerging organic contaminants and highly variable socio-economic conditions, all of which may vary greatly on the local or regional scale.

There is a clear need for improved decision support tools for the selection and management of arsenic remediation strategies, particularly in this context.

Project goals

The goal of this project is to:

  1. Contribute to the development and validation of a robust and effective toolkit for the selection and/or management of groundwater arsenic remediation strategies in arsenic-impacted areas of the Gangetic Basin in northern India (such as Patna).

Example research questions include:

  1. How can remediation selection be optimized for the geochemical (including groundwater composition, remediation targets) and socioeconomic settings typical to this region?
  2. What are the best selection criteria for determining the optimal strategy/strategies for the removal of groundwater arsenic in this context?
  3. How can selection strategies for arsenic remediation be adapted to other types of contaminants of contrasting geochemical behaviour (e.g. uranium, boron, emerging contaminants) and which may also be present in groundwater sources used for drinking?

Supervision team

The University of Manchester: Doctor Laura Richards

The University of Melbourne: Associate Professor Meenakshi Arora

*Click on the researcher's name above to learn more about their publication and grant successes.

Who we are looking for

We are seeking a PhD candidate with the following skills:

  • Strong background in (Masters or Honours I) in environmental/chemical/geological sciences, environmental/chemical engineering or similar.
  • Demonstrated experience in data analysis, fieldwork, laboratory work.
  • Be highly motivated, independent, hard-working and curious, with a strong interest in research.
  • Demonstrated ability to work independently and as part of a team.
  • Demonstrated time and project management skills.
  • Demonstrated ability to write research reports or other publications to a publishable standard (even if not published to date).
  • Excellent written and oral communication skills.
  • Demonstrated organisational skills, time management and ability to work to priorities.
  • Demonstrated problem-solving abilities.

Further details

The PhD candidate will benefit from the combined expertise of the project supervisors, and the embedding into two research environments. Numerous researcher training and development opportunities are available and encouraged. There will be multiple opportunities for collaboration, presenting research and (co-)authoring scientific publication(s).

This PhD project will be based at the University of Manchester with a minimum 12-month stay at the University of Melbourne. The candidate will benefit from world-leading academic expertise and excellent research facilities available within the Williamson Research Centre for Molecular Environmental Science. The Manchester Analytical Geochemistry Unit provides access to analytical facilities including ICP-MS, HPLC-MS, ICP-AES, IC and TOC. Professor Anne-Marie Glenny contributes extensive expertise to health risk evaluation including with respect to water fluoridation (e.g. Iheozor-Ejiofor et al, 2015). Dr Majid Sedighi contributes expertise related to geochemical and reactive transport modelling.

The candidate will be enrolled in the PhD program at the Department of Earth and Environmental Sciences at the University of Manchester and in the PhD program at the Department of Infrastructure Engineering at the University of Melbourne.

Please note applications are no longer being accepted for this position

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