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Partner Profile: Savonia University of Applied Sciences

Partner Profile: Savonia University of Applied Sciences

Savonia University of Applied Sciences

Savonia UAS activities include education and research, development an innovation (RDI) offering high-quality services and solutions tailor-made to regions needs. Co-operation, networking and internationalisation are the crucial factors. The School of Engineering and Technology belongs to a competence network “Energy, the Environment and Safety”, whose main focus is on water safety and bioprocesses. Savonia UAS acts as the lead partner and as a responsible partner for Management thus ensuring the smooth internal management of WaterPro as well as being the main contact between other partners and the Joint Secretariat. In Communication Savonia will actively produce materials and disseminate results in Norh Savo and other NPA regions in Finland as well as through wide “water expertise” networks and education. Savonia UAS will participate actively in other work package activities and will be the leader for North Savo pilot site demonstrations and regional and international “Advisory Board”.

 

Partner Updates:

Savonia started their phosphorus trapping tests in the LUKE (Natural Resources Institute Finland) research station in Maaninka at the beginning of August 2017. It is a field test that tests potential easily spreadable materials which can prevent phosphorous leaking into waterways. In Finland, majority of the phosphorus in the farmland ends up in the waters in the springtime when the snow melts, runoff is large and plants can not bind nutrients to the ground. In WaterPro project, good practices for prevent the nutrient leaching are being sought and one solution could be the substance to be spread on the grassland in autumn. Some of these substances have been somewhat studied but many environmental factors (e.g. soil type) influence phosphorus and how it reacts in different circumstances. Before the best trappers were chosen into field tests, Savonia made a literary review about different trappers and potential trappers were also tested in the laboratory. Six materials were selected for the actual field trials: four aluminum-based (one of these is the foam of aluminum-based precipitation chemicals used in the water treatment plant), wood-based fly ash from a district heating plant and GeoTrap, which differs from these other compounds and represents more minerals. It is not so reactive but its “special feature” is the ability to bind moisture and nutrients to itself.

 

Natural Resources Institute Finland has developed a pilot scale tool for comparing materials to each other in adjustable environmental conditions (temperature, radiation, precipitation, snow cover depth).  With this tool it is possible to adjust diurnal rhythm in temperature and radiation and possible to monitor closely the formation of surface runoff. This tool called SIMU (Surface runoff simulator) is a container which is locating in Maaninka next to test fields.

 

Promising nutrient trappers has now been spread in to the grassland. Before the end of the growing season, the top soil (soil layer 0-5 cm) from each plot will be lifted by a turf grass cutter and frozen. Then the grass mats will be placed individually on the sloping SIMU devices and possibly covered with snow. Infrared heaters will be used to melt the snow and ice and the melt water is collected. This melt water sample represents the runoff water during the spring time. Water samples will be analyzed after the tests and the results from the plots treated with phosphorus trappers are compared to the results from the reference area where no manipulation has been done. Many factors are completely adjustable: the treatments on the field (substances and the spreading amount), the slope of the grass mat, the duration of melting period and the amount of snow that produces the surface runoff.

Waterpro Partners Visit Iceland For Collaborative European Water Quality Improvement Project

Waterpro Partners Visit Iceland For Collaborative European Water Quality Improvement Project

Nine partners from Northern Europe, including the lead partner Savonia University of Applied Sciences (Finland) as well as partners from Sweden, Iceland, Faroe Islands and Northern Ireland recently attended an international conference looking at Oligotrophic and ultra-oligotrophic waterbodies and their sensitivity to pollution.

WaterPro Seminar in IcelandThe conference, which was hosted by Agricultural University of Iceland, is part of an innovative EU funded project called WaterPro which aims to develop sustainable systems to protect water quality from agricultural and mining pollution.

The project partners attended a seminar to hear a range of presentations from loss of nitrogen (N) and phosphorus (P) from agricultural soils in Iceland to recent water quality deterioration in Finnish lakes, finding the root cause in a changing climate as well as good practice guidelines for agriculture and their implementation.  The seminar also looked at measurements of runoff and nutrient losses and integrated bio-solutions for treatment of Landfill Leachate.

Conor Jordan Chairperson from the Lough Neagh Partnership, one of the project partners commented “WaterPro is a fantastic opportunity for partner organisations to collaborate and share knowledge on a range of practical water quality improvement projects.  The application of proven methods to improve water quality can have a real positive impact on our waterways”

Waterpro dairy farm visit in IcelandFollowing the seminar, the project partners were taken to the region of Borgarfjörður in West Iceland, where they visited two dairy farms, one sheep farm and a horticultural station growing cucumbers.  There they saw practical examples of how new technology can be used in the housing of animals and the management of slurry and potential run off.  Cucumber farm Iceland Icelandic farmers provided advice on how slurry was stored through the winter and the particular difficulties in operating in such a cold environment and informed the visiting party on Icelandic regulations on storing and managing the animal waste product.  It was particularly fascinating see the use of geothermal technology particularly in heating winter cattle sheds and in heating greenhouses for the horticulture industry.

The next WaterPro seminar will take place in the Faro Islands in May 2018.

WaterPro Partner Update: AFBI

WaterPro Partner Update: AFBI

Despite the implementation of EU regulations controlling the use of fertilisers inImage 1 AFBI agriculture, reserves of phosphorus (P) in soils continue to pose a threat to water quality. Mobilisation and transport of this legacy P from soil to surface waters has been highlighted as a probable and likely cause of many water bodies continuing to fail to achieve targets under the Water Framework Directive. Over recent decades, the CENIT grassland site (Fig 1) in AFBI Hillsborough has provided some insights into these concerns. From 2000 these grassland plots received P fertiliser amendments and from 2005 P applications ceased and subsequently P losses in runoff and drain flow from each plot were monitored closely until 2012. Unexpectedly, the concentration time series of losses across the plots were almost identical infact the control plot which received no P additions from 2000, and remained at Olsen P index 2 for the duration of the study, lost as much P as those plots receiving heavy applications of P until 2005.

 

The majority of agriculture in N.Ireland is grass-based with the production of dairy and Image 2 AFBIbeef cattle being prevalent and as such, methodologies to protect environmental water quality from agricultural runoff are of utmost importance if the region is to meet its goals under the EU Water Framework Directive. This is recognised in the recently published Department of Agriculture, Environment and Rural Affairs “Sustainable Agricultural Land Management Strategy report and Executive summary” where there are recommendations for woody riparian strips, populated by plants such as willow which can withstand wet conditions and can be coppiced regularly for biomaterials (fuel or further processing). It is suggested that these strips, or bio-filtration blocks, will slow the flow of surface water, collect the sediment and absorb the Phosphorus before it enters the watercourse.

 

AFBI refurbished and planted riparian strips of SRC willow on 3 of 6 CENIT blocks in Image 3 AFBIMay 2016 and has been continuing with automatic overland and drainage water sampling since them. Within the cycle of SRC willow establishment are phases of land preparation, planting, establishment and cutback. Through these stages a number of issues have been dealt with including herbicide spray drift, insect and slug infestations and unexpected frosts. These let to the requirements for vigilance and some gapping up. Strong regrowth can now be seen (Fig 2). Even though there are some signs that both soluble and particulate loads are reducing as a result of the SRC willow intervention, these are not statistically significant at this stage however the plantations have been in their early days.

WaterPro Partners Visit Ireland

WaterPro Partners Visit Ireland

EU PARTNERS VISIT IRELAND FOR COLLABORATIVE EUROPEAN WATER QUALITY IMPROVEMENT PROJECT – WATERPRO

Nine partners from Northern Europe, including the lead partner Savonia University of Applied Sciences (Finland) as well as partners from Sweden, Iceland, Faroe Islands and Northern Ireland recently attended an international conference in Letterkenny looking at bioremediation methods to manage runoff from agriculture, mining and landfills.

WaterPro Partners

WaterPro Project Partners

The conference, which was hosted by Donegal County Council, is part of an innovative EU funded project called WaterPro which aims to develop sustainable systems to protect water quality from agricultural and mining pollution.

GER_8277-2One of the highlights of the conference was a site visit to Churchtown Landfill site in Lifford, which has been capped and covered.  This uses a combination of an irrigated willow plantation and integrated constructed wetlands to treat leachate before it enters the River Finn.  The River Finn is one of Europe’s best salmon and sea trout rivers and Donegal County Council is committed to protecting this wonderful resource by ensuring that all leachate is treated effectively.

GER_8250-2The Council has introduced a plant based leachate treatment system at Churchtown and as part of the WaterPro project, the Council will, in close consultation with the Environment Protection Agency, will provide data and methodological information with a view to ensuring that similar systems can be replicated elsewhere.

The visiting delegates also attended their own project management meeting on Tuesday in Inishowen and was followed by a visit to Ireland’s most northerly point at Malin Head.

WaterPro visit to Lough NeaghThe delegates were then transported to Lough Neagh, where they visited two potential pilot sites at Washing Bay and Oxford Island.  The focus was on the eco services benefits from the management of water quality on these sites.  This was followed by a presentation from the Northern Ireland Environment Agency Water Management Unit, highlighting the main aspects of water quality improvement associated with the Neagh Bann Catchment Management Plan.

IMG_4106IMG_4113

Ville Matikka from Savonia University of Applied Sciences stated “it is fundamental to meet with other partners throughout Europe who have been involved in practical water quality improvement projects.  WaterPro is an excellent opportunity to learn best practice and transfer knowledge to and from other areas.”

WaterPro is funded through the Northern Peripheries Transnational Interreg Programme

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Bioremediation to manage runoff from Agriculture, Mining & Landfills

Bioremediation to manage runoff from Agriculture, Mining & Landfills

You are invited to an international seminar on

‘Bioremediation to manage runoff from Agriculture, Mining & Landfills Seminar’ 

Wednesday 10th May 2017
Clanree Hotel, Letterkenny
From 9am – 1pm

Donegal County Council are partners in the Interreg VB Northern Periphery and Arctic Programme WaterPro Project which will develop eco-efficient tools and models for water and storm runoff management practices and environmental protection.

As part of the exchange of knowledge on the project Donegal County Council are hosting a free to attend seminar: Bioremediation to manage runoff from Agriculture, Mining & Landfills.

Presentations will focus on sustainable methods of treating runoff and polluted waste waters.

There will also be a site visit to Churchtown Landfill site, Lifford which has been restored and uses a combination of an irrigated willow plantation and integrated constructed wetlands to treat leachate before it enters the River Finn. Please note PPE is required for the site visit.

This event is free of charge and those with an interest in the environment, agriculture or mining are most welcome.

Click on this link to view the agenda and register today for the seminar.

(For those travelling the Clanree Hotel will offer a special price of €72 B&B single occupancy, reference WaterPro at time of booking)

Welcome Message from Lead Partner of WaterPro

Welcome Message from Lead Partner of WaterPro

Welcome to Water pro

I am happy and proud to present to you the first WaterPro project newsletter, which allows us to share project related information across partner organisations. The project started 1st June 2016, and I believe that each partner is fully committed to the project goals and objectives by now.  The project has started in such a way that each partner finds out the national laws, regulations and good water management practices relating to the nutrient loadings of agriculture and extractive industries. Partners have started to design the pilot sites for testing and developing the practices for runoff management. Project communication such as logo, brochure and website are also the first efforts of the project. I’m sure that in upcoming newsletters, we’ll have a number of interesting results to report as well. I Hope you’ll enjoy this first issue.

Ville Matikka, Project Manager

Project Partners

WaterPro is made up of a variety of partners spread through the Northern Periphery area, each bringing their own experience and expertise in researching and managing agricultural and mining run off.

The project is being overseen and managed by the lead partner Savonia University of Applied Science, Finland, who have extensive experience in developing and managing similar European programmes.  The lead manager from Savonia is Ville Matikka.  Other main work packages associated with the project include communication activities, best practice pooling and pilot and innovative site actions.

The main WaterPro partners include:

  • Savonia University of Applied Sciences, Finland
  • Geological Survey of Finland
  • Agricultural University of Iceland
  • Luleå University of Technology, Sweden
  • Lough Neagh Partnership, Northern Ireland UK
  • Agri-Food and Biosciences Institute, Northern Ireland UK
  • Heriot Watt University, Scotland UK
  • Donegal County Council, Republic of Ireland
  • Búnaðarstovan, The Faroe Islands
The first formal meeting of the WaterPro project kicked off in the Agri-Food and Biosciences Institute (AFBI), Hillsborough, Northern Ireland on the 8th June 2016.  As expected, the first meeting focused on the agreement of the main roles and responsibilities of each the partners and putting together an agreed work plan for the three-year duration of the project.
Each of the partners gave a presentation on the main agricultural and mining sites associated with their own area and highlighted the particular run off problems and research based solutions.

 

WaterPro site visit at AFBI

 

Chris Johnston from AFBI gave a tour of the facilities of the Hillsborough Research Farm and in particular demonstrated the research associated with growing willow. The benefits of a Short Rotational Willow Coppice System were explained and the key mitigation measures of the system were identified, including environmental protection for streams, rivers, lakes, environmental compliance, and biomass energy production.

 

Second Project Meeting

The WaterPro WaterPro meeting will take place in Luleå /Kiruna Sweden in the end of Nov 2016 and will be hosted by Luleå University of Technology.  This time, the focus of the project will turn to the mining industry and the impacts of mining run off on water quality.  The Luleå team will hold a full seminar for partners and an invited audience of Swedish stakeholders, together with a presentation of their specific mining run off research projects.  Site visits to the local mining industry will also be included.

 

Kiruna Sweden
Welcome to WaterPro

Welcome to WaterPro

What is WaterPro?

Water Pro is part of the Northern Periphery and Arctic Programme which attempts to help peripheral and remote communities on the northern margins of Europe to develop their economic, social and environmental potential.  WaterPro is a new transnational cooperation project which will attempt to find new ways to address shared environmental challenges of pollution and nutrient runoff from agricultural and mining practice and explore new ways to address these problems.

WaterPro Lough Neagh

Through collaboration, the WaterPro Project wishes to improve environmental protection and reduce the impact of runoff from agriculture and mining extraction. This will be done through the development of a tool-box of good management practices, and a communication platform together with implementation of several innovative low cost practices at a variety of pilot sites.

The ultimate goal of WaterPro is to help protect the water quality of the NPA region’s coastal and freshwaters, protect human health and ecosystems and stimulate sustainable economic growth and development in the Northern Periphery Area.

Launch of New Research Partnership on Water Quality at AFBI

Launch of New Research Partnership on Water Quality at AFBI

The Agri-Food and Biosciences Institute recently hosted the Launch Event for a major new Interreg VB research project which aims to develop sustainable systems to protect water quality from diffuse agricultural and mining pollution. AFBI is a major partner in this EU funded Interreg VB – Northern Periphery & Arctic project which has an overall value of approximately €2m. The project is led by the Savonia University of Applied Sciences in Finland and other partners include: the Finnish Geological Survey; the Agricultural University of Iceland; Luleå University of Technology Sweden; the Lough Neagh Partnership; Heriot Watt University in Scotland; Donegal County Council; and the Agricultural Agency of the Faroe Islands.

WaterPro PartnersThe Agri-Food and Biosciences Institute recently hosted the Launch Event for a major new Interreg VB research project which aims to develop sustainable systems to protect water quality from diffuse agricultural and mining pollution. AFBI is a major partner in this EU funded Interreg VB – Northern Periphery & Arctic project which has an overall value of approximately €2m. The project is led by the Savonia University of Applied Sciences in Finland and other partners include: the Finnish Geological Survey; the Agricultural University of Iceland; Luleå University of Technology Sweden; the Lough Neagh Partnership; Heriot Watt University in Scotland; Donegal County Council; and the Agricultural Agency of the Faroe Islands.

WaterPro site visit at AFBIAFBI’s contribution to the project will focus on the use of Short Rotation Coppice (SRC) willow to reduce nutrient export from agriculture.  SRC willow is a fast growing hardwood that takes up large volumes of water and can also utilise the nutrients found in runoff from agricultural sources.  If these nutrients enter lakes and rivers they can result in deterioration in water quality. In addition, SRC willow also provides farmers with an economically viable crop and sustainable source of biomass for energy production on-farm and elsewhere. This project aims to build on previous work carried out by AFBI on SRC willow (see www.afbini.gov.uk) by demonstrating the contribution that SRC willow can make to the sustainable intensification of agriculture in Northern Ireland by reducing nutrient export and lowering the carbon footprint while maintaining farm profitability.

AFBI Farm visit, WaterProFuture growth in the local agri-food sector as projected under the Going for Growth strategy increases the requirement for sustainable recycling and management of wastes. In addition, the EU Water Framework Directive sets stringent targets for water quality across the region. The use of SRC willow provides a solution that can help achieve these dual objectives.

For further details contact Chris Johnston (chris.johnston@afbini.gov.uk)

 

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