Workshop on passive sampling for emerging water pollutants using Chemcatcher®

Key Speakers

Graham Mills, Professor of Environmental Chemistry, University of Portsmouth

Graham is part of the original team at the University of Portsmouth who developed and patented Chemcatcher® for monitoring a wide range of pollutants, including non-polar and polar organics and metals, in water.


Graham has over thirty-five years of experience of the use of chromatographic and spectrometric techniques for measuring pollutants in environmental matrices and his research work has been supported by a number of bodies, including the European Union Research Framework Programmes, UK Research Councils (BBSRC, EPSRC, NERC), industry (Atomic Weapons Establishment, AstraZeneca, Unilever), CEFAS and regional development agencies.

He has published widely on analytical methods and monitoring water quality, with over 150 articles in leading scientific journals, and he regularly presents his work at international symposia. He is a member of the Royal Society of Chemistry’s Separation Science Group and the Water Science Forum.

Ian Townsend, Evidence and Engagement Officer, Westcountry Rivers Trust

Ian recently joined the Westcountry Rivers Trust, having worked for over 25 years with South West Water, where he played a prominent role in developing Chemcatcher® passive sampling procedures to monitor acid herbicides and metaldehyde in surface waters.


During his time with South West Water,  Ian managed the company’s  Trace Organics and Radiochemistry facility; provided wider scientific support to colleagues in the water & wastewater functions; and contributed to many water industry forums,including UKWIR technical groups, Mutual Aid, and Royal Society of Chemistry groups.

At this workshop, Ian will explain his role in developing Chemcatcher passive sampling procedures for monitoring acid herbicides and metaldehyde in surface waters in his R&D role with SWW. These techniques  are widely used within the industry, including in SWW’s Upstream Thinking project.

Having recently joined the Westcountry Rivers Trust, Ian is now part of a team that provides monitoring data in support of a wide range of environmental projects. He also provides general chemical expertise to a diversity of colleagues across the organisation and contributes to monitoring-related R&D.

Sandra Lacey, Research Officer, T.E. Laboratories (TelLab)

Sandra has been instrumental to success of TelLab securing EU funding in over a dozen environmentally-focused research projects and is responsible for the day-to-day co-ordination of Chemcatcher® activities at TelLab.


T.E. Laboratories is a multi-divisional SME, driven by a passion for chemistry and innovation. The company’s key business areas include environmental, oil and fuel analysis; chemical manufacturing; training and research. TelLab also operates a new product development unit, focused on water monitoring solutions that overcome the limitations of spot sampling.

As research officer, Sandra has been instrumental to TelLab’s success in over a dozen EU-funded research applications, which have enabled the development of Aquamonitrix™ –  TelLab’s new, game-changing water quality sensor, currently being trialled by the US EPA and at sites across Europe.

In addition to in-house development, TelLab has acquired the worldwide licence to manufacture and sell Chemcatcher® from Portsmouth University, and Sandra is  responsible for the day-to-day co-ordination of Chemcatcher® activities within TelLab.

She has a Bachelor of Medicine (BM) degree from the National University of Ireland, Galway, and has keen insights into the development of science and environmental policy. Prior to joining TelLab, Sandra was a Parliamentary Assistant with the Oireachtas (the Irish Houses of Parliament) and she is currently a member of the Advisory Board of Vision 2020.

John McGrath, Sales Director, T.E. Laboratories (TelLab)

John is currently working with Northern Ireland Water on a pilot project using Chemcatcher®  to monitor MCPA and 2.4 D pesticides in drinking water abstractions zones.


John is the key client contact for a number of TelLab’s major customers and contracts, including the Irish Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) inter-laboratory calibration scheme and the oil analysis-based Critical Asset Condition Monitoring programmes for Ireland’s major State transport companies and power utility.

He is a leading expert in condition monitoring through oil analysis and is one of only one of five engineers between Ireland and the UK to be certified to Level III in Machine Lubrication Analysis (MLA) by the International Council for Machinery Lubrication (ICML).

In addition to an honours degree in Mechanical Engineering from Trinity College Dublin, he holds qualifications in environmental engineering and project management – also from TCD. Prior to his current role, John gained significant hands-on experience in sampling and laboratory diagnosis with the Commissioners of Irish Lights and as a service engineer with TelLab.

John is currently working with NI Water on a pilot project to monitor MCPA and 2.4 D pesticides using passive sampling on drinking water abstractions zones.  In addition, he is project managing the sampling and analysis of drinking water from over 200 supplies along a significant stretch of motorway bypass on behalf of the main construction contractors.

Adam Taylor, PhD Researcher at the University of Portsmouth

Adam is using Chemcatcher®  as part of his research, in collaboration with Southern Water Service,  to improve understanding on the fate of polar pesticides from catchment to tap.


During a BSc (Hons) in Environmental Sciences, and an MSc in Water and Environmental Management, Adam began interested in water quality assessment, and, at the same time, frustrated with the limitations of typical monitoring methods.

His current PhD research is undertaken in collaboration with Southern Water Service Ltd. It aims to improve the understanding of pollution sources and the fate of polar pesticides, within river catchments and the treatment stream of water supply works.

The work uses passive sampling (Chemcatcher®) coupled to targeted liquid chromatography-mass spectrometry screening.

This vision of the research is that an approach combining the increased representativeness of passive sampling with screening for hundreds of pesticides will provide insight beyond what can be achieved through routine monitoring (spot sampling).

Through placements across the Southern Water business, Adam is aiming to translate the findings of this research into useful information for water quality managers and facilitate the future incorporation of passive sampling into their monitoring programmes.

Kees Booij, Founder and passive sampling scientist, PaSOC

Kees is the founder of PaSoc, a Dutch company, aimed at strengthening the scientific basis of passive sampling, developing calculation templates and supporting the interpretation of sampler data. 


Kees first became involved in passive sampling research almost twenty years ago, starting with a study on the uptake mechanisms of nonpolar organic compounds by semipermeable membrane devices. Since then, his focus has been on promoting a quantitative understanding of the uptake kinetics of passive samplers for nonpolar and polar compounds.

Having spent over 30 years as a scientist with  the Royal Netherlands Institute of Sea Research (NIOZ),  in 2016 he founded PaSoc to strengthen the scientific basis of passive sampling through the use of mechanistic models and to facilitate the use of passive samplers in an applied context. His motivation is the belief that passive samplers, while not perfect, are the best tools currently available to understand the challenges associated with environmental contamination issues.
Kees  holds MScs in both physical chemistry (VU University, Amsterdam) and chemical engineering (University of Amsterdam)  and a PhD on the exchange of oxygen and polychlorinated biphenyls between sediment and water from the University of Groningen.  He is a member of the editorial board of Environmental Toxicology and Chemistry.