Aerial view of the environmental technology field station

Our Environmental Technology Field Station (ETFS) is a teaching and research facility that allows our students and researchers to study, research and improve our drainage systems, the detection of contaminants in our soil and water, short-term and long-term management of waste, and the development of more sustainable ways of managing the impact we make on the planet.

Developed in partnership with Southern Water, the ETFS enables our students, researchers and staff to work with equipment, information and samples that are actively-used in the UK waste management system.

Students can use this facility to familiarise themselves with running a treatment plant, conduct tests using professional standard equipment and measure their hypotheses and results using samples currently in the ecosystem.

Our Environmental Technology and Management researchers work collaboratively with Southern Water in an environment using samples from a live treatment plant, and regularly engage in cross-disciplinary research with the University's School of Civil EngineeringSchool of Biological Sciences and School of Environment, Geography and Geosciences.

We regularly partner with external organisations to support technology and environmental research supporting the public and private sector, from expert consultation, environmental monitoring and laboratory analysis, through to training provided to water industry professionals.

Aerial view of the environmental technology field station

Our Environmental Technology Field Station (ETFS) is based in a fully-operational waterworks in Petersfield, 15 miles from our main campus

Equipment and rooms

This station has access to water and sludge at all stages of the treatment process, and students and researchers have access to:


  • Microbiology laboratory for the analysis of total coliforms, faecal coliforms, viral load and bioremediation media analysis
  • Green house and plant growth facilities
  • Experimental test beds and hydroponic testing apparatus
  • Hard-standing experimental rig testing zones
  • Teaching laboratories
  • Meeting and conference facilities

The station also has an environmental chemistry laboratory with equipment to run the following tests and analyses.


  • Waste water treatment tests such as BOD, COD, pH, total suspended solids, settleable solids and volatile suspended solids, % total solids, LOI, conductivity
  • UV/V spectrophotometry analysis for organic and inorganic analytes
  • Nutrient auto-analysis for nitrite, nitrate, ammonium and phosphate
  • Microsensors and electrodes for fine-scale oxygen and pH tests
  • Gas chromatography-mass spectrometry tests to find organic pollutants in water, soil and sediments including total petroleum hydrocarbons, polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons, organometallics and pesticides
  • Total concentrations and in-situ measurement metal testing in water, soil and sediment

Public health facilities

Discover the infrastructure that manages our water systems.

Dr Fay Couceiro

People often wonder what public health and civil engineering has to do with one another. Well, the answer is a lot.

When you think about water, whether it be potable or dirty water, all of that is managed by infrastructure and civil engineering. And that is what you would learn about in this lab here.

If I begin with some of the things you might learn about drinking water, you would learn about the chlorination and disinfection of it and its potability and also how it's distributed.

Within the university we have an amazing facility up in Petersfield, which is an onsite sewage treatment works. This belongs to Southern Water and we have laboratories there. So we do an awful lot of work looking at sewage treatment and when you think about the implications between sanitation and human health, you can see how civil engineering plays a large part here.

The sorts of things you might learn when you look at sewage or you study sewage and civil engineering, it would be around biochemical oxygen demand, chemical oxygen demand and ammonia. Each of these things has a real impact on the environment around us.

Things like bio chemical oxygen demand indicate how many microbes are in the water and can give us an understanding of the health of rivers where they are released to and ammonia is, of course, toxic to fish. So it's very important that we understand how to remove that from the sewage before it is released into the environment.

This lab is also used by PhD students as well as undergraduate and master students for their projects. The types of projects we might run in here and are currently running are micro plastics, contaminated land and end of waste policies and products.

I hope you enjoy looking around our virtual lab tour here and hopefully we will see you soon.


The Field Station is often used for cross-disciplinary studies by the Environmental Technology Research Group. Projects that have been conducted at the centre include:

  • The development of a chemical free water treatment system
  • The development of constructed wetlands for wastewater treatment
  • Phytoremediation of contaminated soils and sediments
  • Investigations into sustainable drainage systems
  • The evaluation of novel package sewage treatment systems
  • Investigations into the fate of pharmaceuticals in wastewater processing

Where to find us

Environmental Technology Field Station

Southern Water Wastewater Treatment Works
GU31 4EP