Following major upgrades to the Avoca water treatment plant, located 180km northwest of Melbourne, Veolia enlisted the expertise of an APR.Intern to investigate some unexpected issues with the plant’s performance.

Specifically, the system was achieving lower recovery rates and higher levels of fouling of the reverse osmosis membranes than expected – based on the original design specifications.

APR.Intern Davide Ciceri, a PhD student at The University of Melbourne, conducted a four-month investigation into the water quality at each stage of the treatment process. At the end of the project he produced a report providing options for addressing contamination issues, ongoing monitoring of water quality and changes to process operations to improve performance.

“The APR.Intern internship provided a great opportunity to apply my background in chemistry to an industrial problem, share ideas and gain real insight into commercial practices,” said Davide.

“Veolia Water enjoys working with APR.Intern. The program gives us the ability to provide opportunities for professional development of students, whilst furthering our studies into water quality optimisation,” said David Both, Compliance and Risk Manager, Veolia Water.

APR.Intern provides an affordable avenue for Australian businesses to access the vast research expertise at Australia’s universities. All interns are postgraduate university students and receive support from an academic mentor at their university.

Importantly, the program is designed so that all intellectual property remains with the business. Projects are typically four to five months in duration, with some businesses offering long-term employment to the intern following the conclusion of the project.

Industry Partner: David Both and Kathy Northcott, Veolia Water International
Intern: Davide Ciceri, The University of Melbourne
Academic Mentor: Professor Geoff Stevens, The University of Melbourne