Olivia Bailey

Project: Sewer systems of the future

Supervisors: Professor Jan Hofman and Dr Tom Arnot


Rising water scarcity, pressure for sustainability and the need for water efficiency will drive down water consumption significantly. Consequently, the inflow to sewer networks will be reduced. Anglian Water strives to reduce water consumption below 80 L capita-1 day-1 and UKWIR pushes for halving water abstraction by 2050. What will be the effect for the sewer system and the way we dispose our wastewater?

Reducing domestic water use could alleviate the strain on our water resources whilst minimising the impact of new connections, extending the capacity of existing systems and enhancing the potential for resource recovery. This work will aid the understanding of the effects of a reduced, intermittent sewer flow and indicate how this could impact the operational performance of an existing sewer system. This is with the aim to develop a sewer design concept that will reduce the loading on the wastewater system by supporting water conservation and offering a greater opportunity of extracting added value throughout the system. Our sewer networks have potential to form the basis for a truly remunerating system – but how could this concept work? Could we use our sewer systems to make more of what we waste?


Olivia is a PhD researcher within the Chemical Engineering Department and the Water Innovation & Research Centre (WIRC) at the University of Bath. Her research is focused on developing a sustainable design for future sewer systems, currently focusing on opportunities for water conservation/wastewater concentration and the consequences for the sewerage system. Olivia was recently named runner-up in the IChemE Water Special Interest Group 30th Anniversary Young Process Engineer Prize, her video entry can be viewed here.

Olivia graduated in 2015 with a First Class MEng degree in Chemical Engineering. In her masters thesis Olivia undertook the design of a small-scale biorefinery aiming to recover potable water, energy and nutrients from wastewater. During her first degree she also undertook a project developing photo-amperometric algal biosensors to detect micro-pollutants, such as pharmaceuticals and heavy metals, in water sources. In the forth year of her degree, Olivia completed a year-long industrial placement at the European Centre for Nuclear Research (CERN) where she carried out a comprehensive fire and environment risk assessment of an underground facility.

Contact: O.Bailey@bath.ac.uk

Keywords: Sewer Design; Water Conservation; Integrated Water Management

WISE 2017 Summer School Presentation: Olivia_Bailey_Jun17[1]

June 2017 Poster: Olivia Bailey Jun17