Willow evapotranspiration systems as nature-based solutions for on-site wastewater treatment in low permeability areas (EVAPOTREAT)


The research project, EVAPOTREAT, will evaluate the applicability of nature-based, on-site wastewater treatment systems in areas with low soil permeability where solutions specified in the current legislation (i.e. the 2021 Code of Practice for Domestic Waste Water Treatment Systems (PE ? 10)) involving soil percolation will not work. The main focus will be on carrying out full-scale field trials using willow evapotranspiration (ET) systems in an Irish climate in areas with representative low permeability soils in order to provide data from which robust design guidelines can be developed for zero discharge wastewater treatment systems. The project will be completed over a 36-month timeframe.

A PhD student will be recruited in this project to carry out the main field work (setting up the monitoring instrumentation, downloading dataloggers, collection and analysis of water samples, quantifying water balances etc.) on the six full-scale study sites. Three of these sites are existing open systems that have been operating for several years and then three new novel design systems will be constructed in collaboration with Leitrim County Council to be monitored over the period of the project. The data from the fieldwork studies, as well as simulations from numerical models that will be developed in parallel, will then be used to produce robust design guidelines for low / zero discharge solutions for different geographic locations across the country. In addition, fieldwork will be carried out to assess and quantify the water pollution impact from the existing systems with respect to local receiving water quality in their low permeability soil areas.


Applicants should have a good primary degree (First or Second Class Honours) or M.Sc. in an appropriate discipline (Civil/Environmental Engineering, Environmental Science, Hydrology etc.). Candidates with a background in expertise in hydrology and/or on-site wastewater treatment are desirable. Evidence (scanned document) of a full driving licence is required. Applications without this will not be considered.


The student will be based in Trinity College Dublin will work under the supervision of Prof. Laurence Gill and Assoc. Prof. John Gallagher. The Fellowships will start as soon as possible after the most suitable candidates are selected - ideally for a start date on April 1st 2022.

The fellowship has a duration of 3 years and provides a stipend of €18,500 in addition to €5750 per annum which will used to pay EU University fees.

Further Information/Application Procedure

Prof. Laurence Gill, Civil Engineering, Trinity College Dublin
Phone +353 (0)1 896 1047. email: laurence.gill@tcd.ie

Closing date: 18th February 2022.

posted: 24 January 2022     Please mention EARTHWORKS when responding to this advertisement.