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Global warming could starve rivers of oxygen

CLIMATE CHANGE could starve rivers of oxygen and force water companies to spend more on wastewater treatment, researchers warned this week.

Britain's inland rivers may already be warming up as a result of climate change. This could worsen the effect of wastewater discharges, warned Halcrow researcher Elliott Gill.

'When water gets warmer, it holds less dissolved oxygen and sustains less life, ' he said.

Wastewater discharges also reduce the amount of oxygen in rivers and could endanger their health, increasing the need to raise treatment standards.

This would place water companies under more pressure to spend on wastewater treatment.

Gill is investigating the issue as part of a £3M research contract for UK Water Industry Research (UKWIR). He is looking at the effects climate change may have on water quality in the UK.

Gill hopes to highlight which issues will need further research for water companies keen to predict what work may be needed to minimise the effect of climate change effects on treatment processes.

Concerned water companies are part funding Gill's research as a result via UKWIR.

A Thames Water spokesman said, 'The standards for wastewater treatment are set by the Environment Agency. If it decides oxygen levels demand a different standard of discharge we will have to comply.'

The research contract is in partnership with HR Wallingford. It wants to know if climate change is encouraging the growth of toxic blue-green algae as this can also disrupt water treatment.

Investigations will be complete by the end of the year.

Nina Lovelace Information on UKWIR's ongoing research into climate change is on www. ukwir. org. uk

IT'S A GAS: The first self installing mobile offshore gas production unit has been successfully installed on an existing field in the West Natuna Sea, 360km north east of Singapore.

Named Hang Tuah, the platform is the first example of the award winning ACE concept developed by Arup Energy. Its jacking system allows the base to be lowered to the seabed and the deck raised to final elevation within 48 hours. Designed to be relocated twice during its projected 25 year working life, the Hang Tuah will leave no remains on the seabed when it moves on. Getting the 13,000t platform into position involved a 4,000km journey on board a submersible barge from the Hyundai fabrication yard in South Korea. Gas produced from the field will be exported by pipeline to Singapore

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