Key Laboratory of Water and Sediment Sciences, Ministry of Education

The Key Laboratory of Water and Sediment Sciences, Ministry of Education, was established in 2000. It is to serve the social and economic development by focusing on international frontier technologies and is characterized by combining basic sciences and applied sciences together. In recent years, the lab has established preliminary theoretical system for science of sediment disaster and developed various advanced water treatment technologies. Meanwhile, several high level research and development platforms have recently been established. For instance, Engineering Technology Research Center of New Technologies for Waste Water Deep Treatment, Beijing Municipal Government (since 2012), Drinking Water Safety Joint Research Centre with Ministry of Water Resources (since 2006), and Environmental Engineering Certification Laboratory at Peking University, China Metrology Accreditation(CMA) (since 2008). To meet the scientific and technological needs of the nation, a lot of research work has been pursued in the subjects of sediment movement, sediment disasters, municipal and industrial wastewater treatment, municipal landfill leachate treatment, special wastewater treatment, drinking water processing and security, development of microbes for special environmental conditions, solid waste disposal and recycling, water environment improvement and river rehabilitation. So far, many technology bottlenecks have been solved and more than 50 national invention patents have been achieved and parts of them have been applied to some important pilot projects, made significant social, economic and environmental benefits. Due to these remarkable achievements, the key lab was highly accredited by the Ministry of Education in 2002, 2007, and 2012.

The lab (of Peking University) now has 23 fulltime faculty members, including winners of award from National Science Foundation for Distinguished Young Scholars, New Century Excellent Talents selected by the Ministry of Education of China, distinguished fellows of the Hundred Talents Program and stars of Beijing science and technology and so on. Currently, the lab also has over 100 doctoral candidates and master students.

Figure 1 Water and Sediment Sciences

There are four main research areas in the key lab: (1) water and sediment movement process; (2) water and sediment disaster prevention and control; (3) water and sediment movement and their environmental effects; and (4) water pollution control and remediation. These research fields are of interdiscipline of water and sediment sciences, environmental sciences and engineering.

Since 2007, the lab has chaired more than 50 most prestigious research projects in China including the National Water Pollution Control and Treatment Major Science and Technology Projects, Major Project of National Natural Science Foundation, the Major Basic Research Program project (973 program) etc. The lab has published more than 200papers in internationally renowned journals such as Environmental Science and Technology and Water Research, five monographs and obtained more than 40 invention patents. The lab has won dozen of national or provincial awards including the second prize of National Science and Technology Progress Award, the first prize of Natural Science Award for Higher Colleges and Universities, the first prize of Science and Technology Progress , Ministry of Education, Beijing Invention Patent Award and other patent invention awards at provincial and ministerial levels, gold award of National Invention Exhibition, gold award and special award of Geneva International Exhibition of Inventions.

The lab has obtained a series of innovative achievements and laid solid foundation for the academic leadership in this field. With respect to the water and sediment movement and their macro effects, systematic innovative achievements in “formation mechanism and key technologies for prevention and control of water and sediment disasters” have been obtained. Base on these achievements, systematic monograph with more than one million words has been published and the second prize of National Science and Technology Progress Award has been awarded. As for the water pollution control and remediation, bottleneck problems of water nitrogen pollution control and management, removal of refractory organics in wastewater etc., have been solved and novel technologies have been developed.

The recent research has focused on the following subjects and made significant achievements: (1) formation mechanism, prevention and control of water and sediment disasters: preliminary theoretical systems on sediment disasters in rivers have been established, rapid assessment model for soil erosion of a basin has been developed, and comprehensive assessment systems based on risk level of flood disaster and sustainable development have been established; (2) municipal sewage treatment and wastewater treatment processes updating: a series of heterotrophic nitrification and aerobic denitrification microorganism strains, carbon and phosphorus simultaneous removal strains, have been successfully isolated and cultivated. As a result, the conventional bottleneck for simultaneous removal of nitrogen is broken. Under conditions with low C/N and DO, high-efficient treatment with simultaneous nitrification and denitrification, sludge reduction and digestion can also be achieved by using the novel strains. The wastewater treatment plant can be upgraded with more cost-effective, energy-efficient, land-saving and environment-friendly ways by merging the novel microorganisms with different conventional wastewater treatment systems. (3) bioaugmentation and advanced treatment technology for industrial wastewater: high-efficient bacteria for a series of industrial wastewater treatments have been isolated and cultivated, new coagulants with high efficiency have been developed, the macroporous functional carriers, which could enhance the microbial tolerance to toxic substances and high ammonia nitrogen, have been fabricated. The immobilized microbial systems suitable for industrial wastewater treatment have been developed. These techniques can apply to the efficient treatment of wastewater with high concentrations of bio-refractoryorganic pollutions.(4) safe treatment of landfill leachate: bioaugmentation techniques to efficiently treat landfill leachate have been developed, key breakthroughs in electrochemical treatment have been made, including the technology to reduce the concentrated solution and to fabricate the large electrodes, the combined treatment process with biology, electrochemistry and membrane techniques have been optimized. After treatment, landfill leachate can meet the national discharge standard.(5) drinking water safety and disinfection: the interaction between the organic matters and microorganism during disinfection process have been elucidated, the formation mechanism of disinfection by-products has been proposed, techniques on precursor of disinfection by-products control and disinfection effect improvement and so on have been developed, these techniques can be applied to improve the quality of water for households; (6) watershed system management: rapid assessment system for watershed water environment and disasters has been established, river biology monitoring system and biological evaluation reference have also been developed. In order to support the sustainable management of numerous rivers nationwide, efforts have also been devoted to establish the national rapid assessment system for river environment.

The faculty, staff, and students in the key lab are very active in international exchange, and have participated in a wide range of international academic activities or conferences. In recent five years, 6 keynote speeches have been given and faculties have often served as chair persons in international conventions. 25 members have attended meetings both at home and abroad. In addition, many important international cooperation R&D projects such as NSFC-JST have also been led by the faculty members of the key lab.

The lab has instruments and equipments, software and hardware for various research interests, including 20 sets of large instruments and equipments, such as liquid chromatograph mass spectrometer (LC-MS), gas chromatograph-mass spectrometer (GC-MS), inductively coupled plasma mass spectrometry (ICP-MS), total organic carbon analyzer/total nitrogen analyzer, ion chromatograph, graphite furnace atomic absorption analyzer, current meter, photosynthesis measuring instrument, portable soil moisture analyzer and artificial climatic reactor, high-speed camera, rapid interpretoscope for analyzing particle movement, large geographic information analysis software, FLUENT software for simulation of water and sediment movement, HPZ800 workstation and GAMS software for multiple-objective decision-making analysis. These equipment or facilities guarantee the teaching and scientific research in the key lab.

Looking ahead especially in the next five years, the key lab will aim at the international frontiers and key national requirements, focusing on the innovative development on the basic theories of water and sediment movement, water and sediment environmental effects, new technology for water pollution treatment, efficient utilization of basin water resource and water ecosystem management, and endeavor to become a key scientific research platform in international arena of water and sediment science. Particularly, based on the current urgent requirements for national development and requirements for the establishment of national innovative system, the faculties, staffs, and students in the key lab will continue to work hard and try to make more international first-class scientific research achievements in the interdisciplinary fields of water and sediment sciences and environmental sciences. Moreover, through effective application of research findings to pilot projects, socio-economic and eco-environmental benefits will be achieved.