Alea Rose will use the latest molecular techniques to study the microbiology of waste stabilisation ponds in Darwin. This study will address ongoing questions about what bacteria enter the system, including pathogens and faecal indicators, and their fate in the ponds. Bacteria convert wastewater nutrients to levels and forms that comply with acceptable water quality standards.
However, we know little about the identities and activities of microbes that drive this conversion in our local ponds. Alea will determine which bacteria are responsible for each step in this cycle, and where there may be bottlenecks preventing optimum pond function.
Alea has won a Federal Government scholarship that provides a living allowance, but a highly technical project like this also requires significant project support. Power and Water Corporation’s (PWC’s) contribution of $70,000 gives Alea access to the latest molecular tools which are the only way to track bacterial community structure and function over a large area like a waste stabilisation pond system.
Alea is supported by a team of supervisors from Charles Darwin University (CDU), PWC and the Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation (CSIRO - Hobart) each of whom have complementary expertise to help Alea navigate through this challenging and exciting project.