Imperial College London

Professor Nick Voulvoulis

Faculty of Natural SciencesCentre for Environmental Policy

Professor of Environmental Technology
 
 
 
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Contact

 

+44 (0)20 7594 7459n.voulvoulis Website

 
 
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Location

 

103Weeks BuildingSouth Kensington Campus

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Summary

 

Publications

Publication Type
Year
to

180 results found

Chon H-S, Ohandja D-G, Voulvoulis N, 2012, Assessing the Relative Contribution of Wastewater Treatment Plants to Levels of Metals in Receiving Waters for Catchment Management, WATER AIR AND SOIL POLLUTION, Vol: 223, Pages: 3987-4006, ISSN: 0049-6979

Journal article

Chon HS, Ohandja D-G, Voulvoulis N, 2012, The role of sediments as a source of metals in river catchments., Chemosphere, Vol: 88, Pages: 1250-1256

Aquatic sediments are a known source of pollutants, but their impact on the quality of overlying waters is not easily quantified. Sediments are generally considered to behave as a sink for pollutants such as heavy metals in the aquatic environment, frequently acting as a source for their presence in waters, with implications for catchment management. This study aimed to calculate the contribution of sediments to metal levels in overlying waters, helping understand their role as a source of metals in river catchments. An aquivalence mass balance approach was modified to take into account both natural and anthropogenic influences and applied to assess sediment contribution in a reach of the River Yare in the UK. The rates of total metal transport from sediments to overlying waters were estimated to be 29.89gd(-1) for cadmium (Cd), 1633.39gd(-1) for lead (Pb), 8.29gd(-1) for mercury (Hg) and 357.56gd(-1) for nickel (Ni). The results from the case study demonstrated that sediments could be a significant source of metal emissions in river catchments. The calculations proposed in the paper could be useful in developing strategies for sediment management, not only to improve and/or maintain quality of sediments but also to inform the selection of measures of pollution control for the catchment.

Journal article

Iacovidou E, Ohandja D-G, Voulvoulis N, 2012, Food waste disposal units in UK households: the need for policy intervention., Science of the Total Environment, Vol: 423, Pages: 1-7

The EU Landfill Directive requires Member States to reduce the amount of biodegradable waste disposed of to landfill. This has been a key driver for the establishment of new waste management options, particularly in the UK, which in the past relied heavily on landfill for the disposal of municipal solid waste (MSW). MSW in the UK is managed by Local Authorities, some of which in a less conventional way have been encouraging the installation and use of household food waste disposal units (FWDs) as an option to divert food waste from landfill. This study aimed to evaluate the additional burden to water industry operations in the UK associated with this option, compared with the benefits and related savings from the subsequent reductions in MSW collection and disposal. A simple economic analysis was undertaken for different FWD uptake scenarios, using the Anglian Region as a case study. Results demonstrated that the significant savings from waste collection arising from a large-scale uptake of FWDs would outweigh the costs associated with the impacts to the water industry. However, in the case of a low uptake, such savings would not be enough to cover the increased costs associated with the wastewater provision. As a result, this study highlights the need for policy intervention in terms of regulating the use of FWDs, either promoting them as an alternative to landfill to increase savings from waste management, or banning them as a threat to wastewater operations to reduce potential costs to the water industry.

Journal article

Bone J, Archer M, Barraclough D, Eggleton P, Flight D, Head M, Jones DT, Scheib C, Voulvoulis Net al., 2012, Public participation in soil surveys: lessons from a pilot study in England., Environmental Science and Technology, Vol: 46, Pages: 3687-3696

In many countries there are policies in place that impact on soils, but very few legislative or policy tools specifically for the protection of soil. Recent EU legislative proposals on soil protection have been met with opposition on the grounds of excessive cost and resource demands. With the need for evidence based policy, and recognition that involving the public in environmental monitoring is an effective way of increasing understanding and commitment, there has been growing interest in soil surveys. In addition, it is accepted that the success of environmental policies depends greatly on how effectively scientists, regulators, stakeholders, and society communicate. This paper presents the Open Air Laboratories (OPAL) Soil and Earthworm Survey as an example of public participation in soil surveys that aims to integrate the above. It is demonstrated how such surveys generate data that can be used to prioritise soil assessment, in order to address some of the concerns and objections to soil protection policies. Lessons from this pilot study in England highlight that with strategic planning of civic participation activities, this approach can deliver improvements in the quality of the evidence collected and allow for effective public involvement in policymaking and implementation, on top of direct educational benefits.

Journal article

Collins A, Ohandja D-G, Hoare D, Voulvoulis Net al., 2012, Implementing the Water Framework Directive: a transition from established monitoring networks in England and Wales, Environmental Science and Policy, Vol: 17, Pages: 49-61

Journal article

Dhaniram D, Collins A, Singh K, Voulvoulis Net al., 2012, Industrial Chemicals, Pages: 147-179

Journal article

Plant JA, Voulvoulis N, Ragnarsdottir KV, 2012, Pollutants, Human Health and the Environment: A Risk Based Approach, Pollutants, Human Health and the Environment: A Risk Based Approach

Pollutants, Human Health andthe Environment is a comprehensive, up-to-date overview of environmental pollutants that are of current concern to human health. Clearly structured throughout, the main body of the book is divided by pollutant type with a chapter devoted to each group of pollutants. Each chapter follows a similar format to facilitate comparison and discussion. For each pollutant, the authors describe the sources, pathways, environmental fate and sinks as well as known toxicological effects. Importantly, the second chapter on heavy metals and other inorganic substances deals with trace element deficiencies which can have serious problems for human health. Some rocks and soils are naturally low in some trace elements and intensive agriculture over the past half century has effectively mined many trace elements reducing their levels in soils and crops. The final chapter is a discussion about the various risk assessment frameworks and regulations covering the main pollutants. Comprehensive, up-to-date coverage of environmental pollutants of concern to human health. Clearly divided into pollutant type with each chapter devoted to a different pollutant group. Clearly structured throughout with the same format for each chapter to help facilitate comparison and discussion and enable readers to prioritise chemicals of concern. Description of the sources, pathways, environmental fate and known toxicological effect. Includes contributions from leading researchers and edited by a team of experts in the field. © 2012 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.

Journal article

Manap NB, Voulvoulis N, Zulkifli NB, 2012, The application of Driving force-Pressure-State-Impact-Response (DPSIR) in Malaysia's dredging industry, Journal of Food Agriculture & Environment, Vol: 10, Pages: 1031-1038, ISSN: 1459-0255

Dredging is an important commercial activity that takes place for different or multiple objectives, ranging from the deepening of channels for navigation purposes to the extraction of sediments for construction material. Despite having frequent application, dredging can have significant impacts to the environment and often triggers public disputes. It is therefore crucial to establish the reasons for dredging and its environmental impacts and be able to convey them in a simplest form in order to decide on necessary actions. Using Malaysia as a case study, this study aimed to investigate the issues faced by the Malaysia's dredging industry in order to establish which are the barriers and opportunities in managing the impacts of dredging. Face to face interview sessions with members of upper and middle management posts were held to identify issues of importance to Malaysia's dredging stakeholders. Port administrator, manufacturing company, a representative of Government of Malaysia, dredging contractors, the environmentalist and a head of a village were interviewed in 2008. It was found that high cost, the difficulty of assessing the impacts to the environment and the lack of management tools were the main barriers to reducing the impacts of Malaysia's dredging for most stakeholders. In addition, a set of questionnaire were distributed through an online survey. Fifty participants including marine ecologists, registered chemists, professional and chartered engineers, environmental consultants, university professors and environmental analysts responded. Analysis of the results suggests that an efficient environmental management tools and systems in practice would be necessary to strengthen the environmental legislation for dredging in Malaysia. A Driving force-Pressure-State-Impact-Response (DPSIR) Framework proposed for use by the Malaysia's dredging industry is presented. Based on this framework, the possibility of using Integrated Environmental Management (IEM) as a

Journal article

Dhanirama D, Gronow J, Voulvoulis N, 2012, Cosmetics as a potential source of environmental contamination in the UK, Environmental Technology, Vol: 33, Pages: 1597-1608, ISSN: 0959-3330

Journal article

Iacovidou E, Ohandja D-G, Gronow J, Voulvoulis Net al., 2012, The Household Use of Food Waste Disposal Units as a Waste Management Option: A Review, Critical Reviews in Environmental Science and Technology, Vol: 42, Pages: 1485-1508, ISSN: 1064-3389

Municipal solid waste (MSW) consists of a high proportion of biodegradable matter, which when disposed to landfill decomposes leading to the formation of gas and leachate. Concerns over the environmental impacts of landfill emissions have resulted in efforts to identify alternative management options for MSW. Food waste constitutes a significant fraction of MSW, and its management presents considerable challenges due to its highly putrescible nature and the environmental, public health, and amenity implications. Food waste disposal units (FWDs) were introduced to the United States in 1927 as convenient and hygienic means to grind food waste at source and dispose of it directly to the sewer for treatment with wastewater. However, although FWDs are used in many countries throughout the world, their potential as a waste management option has not been fully considered. The authors review existing literature on the potential impacts of FWD use and investigate whether there are sufficient data to ascertain the sustainability of these units. Findings demonstrate that the use of FWDs is effective in reducing the amount of food waste disposed of to landfill. However, the impacts of their use on water consumption, sewerage system, and wastewater treatment processes require further investigation before this option can be accepted as a sustainable alternative to landfill.

Journal article

Voulvoulis N, 2012, Water and sanitation provision in a low carbon society: The need for a systems approach, Journal of Renewable and Sustainable Energy, Vol: 4, ISSN: 1941-7012

In the face of climate change threatening to cause major alterations to hydrological cycles and taking into account the relationship between water, energy use, and food production, water management challenges today prove more complex than ever to address. This paper, recognising the progress made through science and engineering in the last century, reflects on the need to manage water resources more sustainably. It proposes that a change in mindsets is required in order to reconsider our approach in applying established solutions and utilising current technologies and tools to deliver them, with a renewed focus on re-assessing what the real problems are from a systems perspective. Focusing on the water-energy-food nexus, water reuse using desalination processes as a management option is revisited. Findings demonstrate that interdisciplinary, integrated and holistic solutions have the potential to deliver benefits across different sectors, disciplines, and systems, with a real potential for taking us a bit closer to sustainability.

Journal article

Koutiva I, Makropoulos C, Voulvoulis N, 2012, Modelling the combined socio-technical system to support an adaptive approach for integrated water resources management, 10th Internaional Conference on Hydroinformatics, Understanding Changing Climate and Environment and Finding Solutions, Hamburg, Germany, 14 Jul 2012 - 18 Jul 2012

Conference paper

Treadgold J, Liu QT, Plant J, Voulvoulis Net al., 2012, Pharmaceuticals and personal-care products, Pollutants, Human Health and the Environment: A Risk Based Approach, Editors: Plant, Voulvoulis, Ragnarsdottir, Chichester, Publisher: Wiley-Blackwell

Book chapter

McKinlay R, Dassyne J, Djamgoz M, Plant J, Voulvoulis Net al., 2012, Agricultural pesticides and chemical fertilisers, Pollutants, Human Health and the Environment: A Risk Based Approach, Editors: Plant, Voulvoulis, Ragnarsdottir, Chichester, Publisher: Wiley-Blackwell

Book chapter

Dhaniram D, Collins A, Singh K, Voulvoulis Net al., 2012, Industrial Chemicals, Pollutants, Human Health and the Environment: A Risk Based Approach, Editors: Plant, Voulvoulis, Ragnarsdottir, Chichester, Publisher: Wiley-Blackwell

Book chapter

Ohandja D-G, Donovan S, Castle P, Voulvoulis N, Plant Jet al., 2012, Regulatory systems and guidelines for the management of risk, Pollutants, Human Health and the Environment: A Risk Based Approach, Editors: Plant, Voulvoulis, Ragnarsdottir, Publisher: Wiley-Blackwell

Book chapter

Owen R, Plant J, Ragnarsdottir KV, Voulvoulis Net al., 2012, Conclusions: pollutants, risk and society, Pollutants, Human Health and the Environment: A Risk Based Approach, Editors: Plant, Voulvoulis, Ragnarsdottir, Chichester, Publisher: Wiley-Blackwell

Book chapter

Bone J, Barraclough D, Eggleton P, Head M, Jones DT, Voulvoulis Net al., 2012, Prioritising Soil Quality Assessment through the Screening of Sites: The Use of Publicly Collected Data, Land Degradation and Development

Emergence of policies dealing with concern over soil degradation and anthropogenic impacts to soil is likely to increase the requirement for assessment of soil quality and identification of soils at risk from degradation. An example is the proposed EU Soil Framework Directive, which features the identification of areas requiring protection from soil degradation. There have been some serious objections to such requirements on the grounds of resource and capital demands. To help to address these concerns, this work proposes a strategic set of indicators based on measured soil quality indicators. These can be used in screening locations to assess the likelihood of degradation and indicate areas for further detailed assessment. This will allow further emphasis to be placed on a smaller number of locations, which could lead to cost and resource efficiencies. Indicators have been used in the past in assessment of soil quality; they are parameters which can be measured and correspond to assessment criteria to measure and help monitor the status and changes. The study reviews the current state of soil quality assessment including methods and indicators that are used to collect data and approaches used to assess data to determine areas subject to soil degradation. Methods and practicalities for data collection and screening are discussed, including the need for further pilot testing and protocol development. Use of public data collection could allow more resource efficient protection of soils, in addition to benefits of public engagement, and raising awareness of the importance of soils and soil biodiversity. Copyright © 2012 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.

Journal article

Singh K, Ihlenfeld C, Oates C, Plant J, Voulvoulis Net al., 2011, Developing a screening method for the evaluation of environmental and human health risks of synthetic chemicals in the mining industry, International Journal of Mineral Processing, Vol: 101, Pages: 1-20

Journal article

Singh K, Ihlenfeld C, Oates C, Plant J, Voulvoulis Net al., 2011, Developing a screening method for the evaluation of environmental and human health risks of synthetic chemicals in the mining industry, International Journal of Mineral Processing, Vol: 101, Pages: 1-20

Journal article

Davies L, Bell JN, Bone J, Head M, Hill L, Howard C, Hobbs SJ, Jones DT, Power SA, Rose N, Ryder C, Seed L, Stevens G, Toumi R, Voulvoulis N, White PCet al., 2011, Open Air Laboratories (OPAL): a community-driven research programme., Environmental Pollution, Vol: 159, Pages: 2203-2210

OPAL is an English national programme that takes scientists into the community to investigate environmental issues. Biological monitoring plays a pivotal role covering topics of: i) soil and earthworms; ii) air, lichens and tar spot on sycamore; iii) water and aquatic invertebrates; iv) biodiversity and hedgerows; v) climate, clouds and thermal comfort. Each survey has been developed by an inter-disciplinary team and tested by voluntary, statutory and community sectors. Data are submitted via the web and instantly mapped. Preliminary results are presented, together with a discussion on data quality and uncertainty. Communities also investigate local pollution issues, ranging from nitrogen deposition on heathlands to traffic emissions on roadside vegetation. Over 200,000 people have participated so far, including over 1000 schools and 1000 voluntary groups. Benefits include a substantial, growing database on biodiversity and habitat condition, much from previously unsampled sites particularly in urban areas, and a more engaged public.

Journal article

Plant JA, Bone J, Ragnarsdottir KV, Voulvoulis Net al., 2011, Pollutants, human health and the environment – A risk-based approach, Applied Geochemistry, Vol: 26 Supplement 1, Pages: S238-S240, ISSN: 0883-2927

Over the last 50 a there has been mounting unease about the risk of synthetic chemicals to human health. Publication of Rachel Carson’s Silent Spring in 1962 catalyzed public concern about chemicals. There is now a vast range of synthetic substances in the environment and their potential cocktail as well as the effects of chronic exposure is of concern. Concerns about pollution are not restricted to toxic chemicals, with radioactivity being an issue that continues to be emotive, and exposure to substances such as particulates has been seen to cause health problems. Improved understanding of chemical risks to the environment and human health suggest that a precautionary approach is adopted, with new approaches demonstrating how nature uses thousands of sustainable, non-toxic processes, which can be copied by industry. Policy has evolved from the prevention of local pollution to the holistic management of environmental quality. Regulation is now increasingly underpinned by risk assessment and responsibility for understanding and managing chemical risk is being transferred progressively to manufacturers and users. There is now an increased emphasis on individual responsibilities which requires a debate about the risks and benefits of chemicals in which all members of society can participate.

Journal article

Chen DC, Maksimovic C, Voulvoulis N, 2011, Institutional capacity and policy options for integrated urban water management: a Singapore case study, Water Policy, Vol: 13, Pages: 53-68, ISSN: 1366-7017

Singapore is an exemplary model of integrated water management, according to the World Health Organization, and its experiences can be shared with others. Water security is not just the government's responsibility but has become everyone's business. Singapore has been selected as a case study for integrated urban water management (IUWM), and the methodologies used in Singapore, a developed city state, may be applicable elsewhere. An integrated regulatory framework, sound policies to control and implement programmes, public-private partnership in water services delivery, and stakeholder participation at all levels are necessary to make integrated water resource management successful. This paper demonstrates how Singapore has successfully turned its vulnerability with regard to water into a strength. Singapore can achieve greater sustainability if it promotes rooftop rainwater harvesting as a decentralized, dual-mode water supply system for non-potable use.

Journal article

Bone J, Head M, Jones DT, Barraclough D, Archer M, Scheib C, Flight D, Eggleton P, Voulvoulis Net al., 2011, From chemical risk assessment to environmental quality management: the challenge for soil protection., Environmental Science and Technology, Vol: 45, Pages: 104-110

The 40 years that have passed since the beginning of the 'environmental revolution' has seen a large increase in development of policies for the protection of environmental media and a recognition by the public of the importance of environmental quality. There has been a shift from policy in reaction to high profile events, then to control of releases to single environmental media, and to the present position of moving toward integrated management of all environmental media at present. This development has moved away from classical chemical risk assessment toward environmental holism, including recognition of the ecological value of these media. This work details how policy developments have taken place for air and water, with examples from the USA and EU, in order to compare this with policy development regarding soil. Soil, with quite different policy frameworks and distinct uses, understanding, and threats compared to other environmental media, is currently attracting attention regarding the need for its protection independent of use. Challenges for soil policy are identified and evaluated, and recommendations on how these challenges can be overcome are discussed with relevance to water and air protection policy.

Journal article

Donovan SM, Jilang Pan, Bateson T, Gronow JR, Voulvoulis Net al., 2011, Gas emissions from biodegradable waste in United Kingdom landfills., Waste Management and Research, Vol: 29, Pages: 69-76

The aim of this research was to predict the effect that the biodegradable municipal waste (BMW) diversion targets in the European Union landfill directive (99/31/EC) would have on landfill gas emissions. This is important for continued mitigation of these emissions. Work was undertaken in three stages using the GasSim model (v1.03) developed by the Environment Agency (England and Wales). The first stage considered the contribution to gas emissions made by each biodegradable component of the waste stream. The second stage considered how gas emissions from a landfill accepting biodegradable wastes with reduced biodegradable content would be affected. The third stage looked at the contribution to gas emissions from real samples of biologically pretreated BMW. For the first two stages, data on the waste components were available in the model. For the third stage samples were obtained from four different biological treatment facilities and the required parameters determined experimentally. The results of stage 1 indicated that in the first 15 years of the landfill the putrescible fraction makes the most significant contribution, after which paper/card becomes the most significant. The second stage found that biodegradability must be reduced by at least 60% to achieve a reduction in overall methane generation. The third stage found that emissions from samples of biologically pretreated BMW would result in a significant reduction in gas emissions over untreated waste, particularly in the early stage of the landfill lifetime; however, low level emissions would continue to occur for the long term.

Journal article

Voulvoulis N, 2011, Low concentrations of chemicals in the environment - Of concern to justify action?, Environmental Health: Resetting our Priorities, Salvador, Brazil, 06 Feb 2011 - 07 Feb 2011.

Conference paper

Voulvoulis N, 2011, Will Sustainable Water Use Mean Drinking Treated Effluent?, Water and Environment 2011: CIWEM's annual conference, London, 06 Apr 2011 - 07 Apr 2011

Conference paper

Burgess D, Carrabin L, Kirkman R, Gronow J, Voulvoulis Net al., 2011, A mass and energy balance multi-criteria assessment for waste management options in the UK, Thirteenth International Waste Management and Landfill Symposium, Sardinia, Italy, 03 Oct 2011 - 07 Oct 2011

Conference paper

Donovan SM, Skartsila AM, Head MK, Voulvoulis Net al., 2011, An Initial Investigation into the Use of a Flux Chamber Technique to Measure Soil-Atmosphere Gas Exchanges from Application of Biosolids to UK Soils, Applied and Environmental Soil Science, Vol: 2011, Pages: 1-10, ISSN: 1687-7667

<jats:p>While a significant amount of work has been conducted to assess the concentration of pollutants in soils and waterways near land that has been amended with biosolids, a relatively small body of research investigating emissions to atmosphere is available in the literature. Some studies have indicated that while the CO<jats:sub>2</jats:sub>emissions from soils decrease with fertiliser application, the CH<jats:sub>4</jats:sub>and N<jats:sub>2</jats:sub>O emissions might be increased, offsetting the benefit. The objective of the research presented in this paper was to address this gap, by the use of a flux chamber technique to measure soil-atmosphere gas exchanges from the application of biosolids to land. This was done by applying three different types of biosolids to soils and measuring gases at the soil-atmosphere interface. The measurements were taken on areas with three different types of vegetation. The gases were collected using a flux chamber technique and analysed by gas chromatography. The results presented here are preliminary findings of an ongoing experiment. Insignificant variation appeared to occur between different areas of vegetation; however, small variations in gas concentrations were observed indicating a need for continued monitoring of soil-atmosphere gas exchanges to determine the long-term impacts on the atmosphere and the environment.</jats:p>

Journal article

Vlachopoulou M, Iacovidou E, Ohandja DG, Gronow J, Butwell A, Voulvoulis Net al., 2011, Anaerobic Digestion Of Food Waste: Using The Model ADM1 To Simulate Its Performance And Assess Its Potential As A Waste Management Option, Thirteenth International Waste Management and Landfill Symposium

Conference paper

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