20 June, 2019
Concern about nitrates in Canterbury municipal water supplies emphasises the need for new ways to solve the nitrate problem, and Dr Anna Garden might be the scientist to do it.
Dr Anna Garden is not your typical chemist. You won’t find her in a laboratory. She sits at a computer imitating experimental conditions unachievable in a lab. This theoretical approach allows her to fast-track chemical research without expensive and time-consuming lab experimentation – and allows her to solve problems fast.
Last week concerns were raised about the links between nitrate levels in Canterbury’s drinking water and an increased risk of bowel cancer. Garden, together with Ph.D. student Caitlin Casey-Stevens, are working on research to address the nitrate problem in New Zealand’s drinking water, and her alternative approach to experimentation means results can happen much sooner.
“Cleaning up a municipal water supply is a different problem to cleaning up a river, and does give us the opportunity to address it in a different way. It’s actually potentially a simpler problem to solve than removing nitrates in groundwater.”