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Case studies

Case studies

On this page you′ll find some detailed examples of the ways that we assist our customers with their analytical problems.

AP Newman - Stormwater quality performance of a pavement car park installation

NWSS were contacted in March 2011 by Alan Newman and asked to quote for a job testing effluent samples and sludge samples for a number of parameters including metals, total petroleum hydrocarbons (TPH) and BTEX (benzene, toluene, ethylbenzene and xylenes). Working as an independent environmental consultant and part-time as a lecturer at Coventry University, Professor Newman required the services of a UKAS accredited lab to perform the analysis of the effluent which was part of a monitoring project at Perth Prison and chose to use Northumbrian Water Scientific Services.

The aim of the monitoring project was to determine the effectiveness of an installation of a macro-pervious pavement system that was installed as part of the visitors car park at the prison. The system diverts rainwater into a previous sub surface storage/attenuation zone that has a network of oil/silt separation devices and a further pollution retention/degradation area. Samples of the stormwater were collected by the client from various points of the system and submitted for analysis at the NWSS laboratory at Howdon throughout 2011 and 2012 until enough data had been collected.

In 2013 the results and analysis of the data were published in the Water Research journal (issue 47 pages 7327-7336). It was concluded in the paper that macro pervious pavement system was producing effluent of a standard that is acceptable for release into a surface water interceptor and that it had retained significant amounts of hydrocarbons and heavy metals (Newman et al 2013). The author suggests that this type of system should be considered for broad areas of the built environment.

A further study is now being conducted to see if the water is suitable for recycling and potentially being used as crop irrigation water. A copy of the paper can be accessed here.

Newman, A.P., Aitken, D. Antizar-Ladislao, B, 2013. Stormwater quality performance of a macro-pervious pavement car park installation equipped with channel drain based oil and silt retention devices.
Water Research 47, 7327-7336.

Procter and Gamble - Metals in female scalp hair and its impact on perceived hair health

Northumbrian Water Scientific Services have a long working relationship with Procter and Gamble and frequently analyse samples from both their local research and development lab in Newcastle (the Newcastle Innovation Centre) and their nearby production site at Seaton Delaval.

As well as analysing water samples and detergent samples from various projects the NWSS Howdon laboratory also analyses hair samples that are often sent from other Procter and Gamble technical centres in the south of England and from Germany.

NWSS were contacted in 2009 by Will Staite and Simon Godfrey from Procter and Gamble and asked to quote for the elemental analysis of hair samples as part of a study into the contamination of hair with metals after the use of hair dyes.

Over 600 7cm tresses of hair were collected from 300 individuals from 9 different countries; the hair was taken from both sides of the subjects heads after treatment with hair colouring and washed using their domestic water supply. The tresses were then sent to NWSS for analysis. Upon arrival the samples were booked in and the hair samples were digested using a mixture of concentrated nitric acid and hydrochloric acid, refluxed then analysed by ICP-OES for the elements Calcium, Magnesium, Copper and Iron.

In 2013 the results of the study were published in the International Journal of Cosmetic Science in the paper ‘Metals in female scalp hair globally and its impact on perceived hair health’ and concluded that individuals that perceived that their hair was in poor health had higher metals levels on their hair (Godfrey et al, 2013). The journal is available for download from the Wiley Online site here.

Godfrey, S., Staite, W., Bowtell, P. and Marsh, J. (2013), Metals in female scalp hair globally and its impact on perceived hair health. International Journal of Cosmetic Science, 35: 264–271. doi: 10.1111/ics.12033

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