Dr Julia Zakharova PhD

Dr Julia Zakharova

Department of Civil Engineering
Research Fellow

Contact details

University of Birmingham
B15 2TT

Julia Zakharova joined the University of Birmingham, Water Engineering Group, on the project entitled ‘De-risking novel fluorescence instrumentation in the water industry’ in the College of Engineering and Physical Sciences, on the 1stof July 2014.

Prior to this post, Julia was working at Loughborough University on the feasibility of using Hydrothermal Carbonisation (HTC) for the treatment of domestic wastes (Prof Wheatley’s Water Group). She also worked on different projects in collaboration with different companies (Balfour Beatty; Technical Surfaces plc).

Julia is now undertaking laboratory- and field-based analyses in order to refine and de-risk our novel fluorescence instrumentation by deploying the Water Engineering Group’s prototype in a range of waters and wastewaters at sites throughout the UK to confirm the commercial concept and de-risk the technology.


  • PhD on Catchment Management, Loughborough University, 2011
  • MSc in Water Supply and Disposal, St. Petersburg University of Architecture and Civil Engineering, 1998
  • BSc in Water Supply and Disposal, St. Petersburg University of Architecture and Civil Engineering, 1997


Julia’s first degree and MSc (conferred in St. Petersburg, in 1997 and 1998 respectively) are in Water Supply and Disposal.  In the course of her studies she  established collaboration with Eastern European countries concerning the protection of the Baltic Sea from urban contaminations. Her PhD (Loughborough University, 2011) was mainly focused on establishing the physical and chemical characteristics of stormwater from various runoff sources. The output of her work related to the role of solid behaviour and that of other pollutants in the catchment and how this would affect the metals’ mobility and speciation. The second aspect of her research interests was in the field of wastewater treatment from urban pollution using a combination of treatment mechanisms, namely gravity, adsorption and mechanical filtration. She also sought to gain an understanding of the elements’ behaviour and their mobility in an aquatic environment.

Julia’s experience at Loughborough University while working on the project ‘Re-invent the Toilet’ (Gates foundation, 2011 – 2014) enabled her to expand her knowledge of the use of a novel and cheap filtration material (biochar). Biochar can be obtained  from biomass conversion using HTC, which involves the application of moderate temperature (100 – 350°C) and pressures.  

Julia’s research falls within the broad topic of stormwater management and covers two principal areas, that is the environmental protection of the catchment and water engineering. The environmental protection part has been focused on analysing the potential hazard and risk to natural water from metals in urban runoff. The water engineering part is aimed at gaining a better understanding of the reactive barriers which prevent the metals from entering the environment, as well as understanding and enhancing the treatment of runoff.

Julia is particularly interested in building on the foundations of her PhD to further develop models and tools concerning urban water pollution to both identify and measure the hazard of metal release for the urban environment as well as finding ways to mitigate it by applying novel and cheap filtration materials.


Water and Wastewater Treatment

Other activities

03/2014 – up to now. UK – Indonesia Research Network. A joint project between UK and Indonesian researchers ‘The development of tropical built environment performance indices – ‘TROBEP’

04/2009 – up to now. A research project supported by CIWEM for the investigation of radionuclide contamination of groundwater from the Chernobyl accident in Belarus’ and Northern Ukraine, including the 30 km Chernobyl exclusion zone.