Water and Soil Environmental Research Unit – WSERU

Welcome to WSERU

The commitment of Bethlehem University to the needs of the local Palestinian community is part of its founding statement. Particular needs were identified following an extensive socio-economic survey conducted by Bethlehem University during the late 1980s, on which the University’s outreach program was based. The Water and Soil Environmental Research Unit (WSERU) is part of this outreach program and was established in 1988 by the Chemistry Department. WSERU has been able to respond effectively to requests from a large number of municipal authorities for help and information on water quality issues. WSERU has set up an ongoing database on the water quality of the West Bank and Gaza. The unit has also developed a program for water and soil analysis for our graduates and others for whom such techniques are valuable in their careers.

A comprehensive survey of the water quality of springs, wells, surface, and network water was conducted during the early 1990s and was funded by the Ford Foundation. Subsequent research, concentrating on the Southern West Bank, has been funded by Irish Development Aid.

The West Bank is an area of water stress, so WSERU’s concern is with water quantity as well as water quality. WSERU cooperates fully with the Palestinian Water Authority, and also works with relevant international and local NGOs as well as academic and professional institutions, as we provide data and make recommendations to the appropriate agencies.

Publications by WSERU

This study aims to investigate the differences in the percentages of the important chemical ingredients between the leaves and fruits of the Laurus nobilis L., a.k.a. the bay tree, in different regions of the Bethlehem Governorate and their variety in the wet and dry seasons for 2017-2018. The study gives new significant data on the percentage of its chemical compositions which make it valuable for its useful food, medicinal cosmetics, and general health benefits. The isolation of essential oils from bay leaves and fruits is done by hydro distillation followed by fractioning of the extractives by the Gas chromatography technique GC-MS and HPLC. The results of the study will encourage farmers and the Palestinian community to plant such trees as a source for natural medical applications and flavors.

Ms. Reem Zeitoun presented a paper titled, “The Detection of Toxic Boron in Potable Water and Wastewater in the Bethlehem Area,” at the Fourth Annual International Symposium on Lasallian Research which convened at St. Mary’s University of Minnesota in the United States in September 2015. She also shared the results of her research with her students and the Bethlehem University community at one of the colloquia organized by the Office of the Dean of Research. The scientific paper was published at the Jordan Journal of Earth and Environmental Sciences JJEES in 2018.

  • R, Zeitoun (2018). “Detection of Toxic Boron in Groundwater and Sludge in the Bethlehem Area”, Jordan Journal of Earth and Environmental Sciences JJEES, Vol. 9 number (3), pp:139-145, ISSN 1995-6681, December 2018.