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For Good

Are bioaugmentation and aeration tablets a viable alternative to traditional silt dredging techniques in canals?

Student: Georgina Buffham
Status: Completed
Dissertation: Are bioaugmentation and aeration tablets a viable alternative to traditional silt dredging techniques in canals?
Dissertation category: Engineering
Dissertation theme:
Short summary: I investigated the effectiveness of using a tablet-based treatment in canals to remove silt, as opposed to the traditional expensive and time-consuming dredging. I carried out a laboratory experiment at the University but also the product was trialled in the dock at Ellesmere Port. Although the treatment was found to be an unsuitable alternative, my research helped to understand how the treatment affected the canal environment, and why the treatment failed to work.
Detailed summary: How did your research partnership happen? (i.e. How did you find out about Dissertations for Good and how was the partnership established?)
I found out about Dissertations for Good when I was undertaking my placement year at the Canal & River Trust, as someone had just completed a project looking into marketing strategies for the Trust. Whilst working there, I also came up with the idea for my research and when it came to doing my final year research project, I got back in touch with my former colleagues and the Dissertations for Good representative at the Trust, to find out if there was scope to undertake the project I had in mind.

Why did you decide to get involved with DfG? What did you hope to get out of it?
I wanted my dissertation to be useful to someone, and by working at the Trust I came to appreciate how useful an alternative to dredging would be, and the product I was looking into had the potential to completely revolutionise how the Trust approaches dredging. I also knew that I had the time and resources available to look into the treatment, while everyone at the charity was already working hard just to keep on top of the work they have.

Have your experiences matched your original expectations?
Everyone was far more supportive than I thought they would be; I never thought that I would be allowed to trial the tablet treatment in an actual canal, and there was a team of volunteers and staff that kept on top of the trial because I couldn't get to the trial site frequently.

What skills have you developed through completing a project with DfG?
The research was a lot more science-based than anything I'd done before; I learnt a lot about how to work in a lab and the process of undertaking a scientific investigation.

What knowledge have you gained as a result of completing a project through DfG?
I learnt a lot more about silt and dredging operations, particularly, how silt is sampled and analysed and what properties are important.

What was your highlight of doing a DfG dissertations?
I was able to carry out research into a project that I had come up with by myself and thought was interesting. It felt great to be doing something no-one else had done before, and knowing that my research would be used and would help the Trust make future decisions.

University: University of Leeds
Course: Civil & Environmental Engineering (MEng)
Partnered with: Canal and River Trust

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