Health and Environment


The increasing use of alternative and blended water to supplement existing water supplies, can potentially lead to unpredictable exposure of humans and the environment to a growing number of chemicals in our environment.  

There is a need to measure and reliably model human exposure to existing, unregulated, and mixtures of chemicals in urban water supplies.  Researchers in the program have unique expertise in fate, transport and transformation of chemicals, and the health risk assessment of unregulated chemicals and chemical mixtures in water from diverse sources.

They are also developing exposure to existing, unregulated, and mixtures of chemicals in urban water supplies with advanced monitoring techniques based on biological activity in addition to chemistry. This enables the effective prediction and management of chemical hazards in water, and thereby ensures ecological and human health safety. Public health and safety, and community and regulator confidence in the use of alternative water sources is dependent on a clear understanding and effective management of the impact of chemical contaminants, water-borne toxins and pathogens on human health and ecosystems. 

 Smart Water Research Centre has a high level of expertise in toxicology and their effects, and assessment of water-borne contaminants of waste and recycled water. This allows effective water quality management, enabling health risk reduction within the Australian Drinking Water Guidelines and Australian Guidelines for Water Recycling water quality framework, and assists the water industry in their core business.  

Research Directions

Research Projects


  • A National Approach to the Health Risk Assessment, Risk Communication and Management of Chemical Hazards from Recycled Water Project
  • Development of 'Ecotoxicity Toolbox' to Evaluate Water Quality for Recycling

Core Team
Prof. Darryl Hawker (GSE)
Assoc. Prof. Glen Shaw (GU)
Erik Prochazka (GU)
Pamela Quayle (GU)
Jane-Louise Lampard (GU/USC)
Dr. Frederic Leusch (GU)
Dr. Nicole Knight (GU) 


The program to date comprises of individuals from the fields of ecotoxicology, environmental chemistry, microbiology, biotechnology and health risk assessment. The research is multidisciplinary in approach but has a strong focus on the safety and affordability of water supplies. Bioanalytical tools for ecotoxicology research is used to assess water safety, inform policy development and the align research, policy and regulation. The team uses a holistic approach using a range of analytical techniques (biological, chemical and modelling) and advanced methods of interpretation of complex data.

Meet a Researcher
Helen Stratton

A/Professor Helen Stratton
Executive Manager 
Smart Water Research Centre
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