Personal profile


Maria is a PhD Student in the School of Environmental Sciences, specialising in catchment science research. Maria is researching plastic pollution from wastewater treatment combined sewer overflow (CSO) discharge, in partnership with Anglian Water. Maria is funded by Advanced Research and Innovation in the Environmental Sciences (ARIES) and the Natural Environment Research Council (NERC).

Key Research Interests

PhD Title:

Combined Sewer Overflows: A Hotspot for Riverine Plastic Pollution?

Project Background:

Tackling the global challenge of plastic pollution is at the forefront of current scientific research efforts. Nevertheless, research to date has focused upon the marine environment and there remains major gaps in our understanding of the origin, transport, and fate of plastics in river systems, hindering our ability to evaluate the ecotoxicological consequences upon freshwater ecosystems. CSOs are potentially important hotspots for riverine plastic pollution through the release of untreated, or partially treated, sewage effluent from wastewater treatment works (WwTWs). Concerns posed by CSOs are highlighted in the new Environment Act (2021) and this PhD project will seek to address fundamental questions regarding the nature and impact or plastic material being released from CSOs. 

Research Methodology:

Focusing upon a targeted selection of Anglian Water WwTWs encompassing a range of contrasting treatment systems, this project will integrate hydrological and analytical sciences to develop a novel quantitative evidence base on plastic pollution in riverine environments impacted by CSO discharge. Through an extensive field and laboratory campaign, Maria will first gather evidence on the abundance and composition of macro- and microplastics, and endocrine disrupting plasticisers in water and sediments upstream and downstream of CSOs. Maria will then develop a scaleable and transferable mapping tool to identify the concentration and loading of plastics from CSOs into rivers across the wider Anglian Water region.


2022 -             PhD Student, University of East Anglia & Anglian Water

2020 - 2022    Science Graduate, Thames Water

                        Environmental Permitting Specialist

                        Water Quality Transformation Scientist

                        Flow & EDM (Storm Overflow) Scientist

2019 - 2020    MRes Environmental Science, University of Portsmouth

2016 - 2019    BSc (Hons) Environmental Science, University of Portsmouth

Education/Academic qualification

Master of Research, University of Portsmouth

9 Sep 201930 Sep 2020

Award Date: 14 Oct 2020

Bachelor of Science, University of Portsmouth

19 Sep 201631 Jul 2019

Award Date: 7 Aug 2019

External positions

Environmental Permitting Specialist, Thames Water

1 Feb 20221 Sep 2022

Water Quality Transformation Scientist, Thames Water

1 Jun 202131 Jan 2022

Flow & EDM (Storm Overflow) Scientist, Thames Water

5 Oct 202031 May 2021


  • Science (General)
  • Environmental Sciences
  • Catchment Science
  • Rivers
  • Plastic Debris
  • Microplastics
  • Wastewater Treatment
  • Storm Overflow Discharge
  • Combined Sewer Overflows
  • Pollution