Current Projects

Passive integrative samplers
Emerging contaminants such as pharmaceuticals and personal care products are typically present in surface water, groundwater, stormwater and wastewater at trace concentrations. One way to improve their detection and quantification is to use passive integrative sampling techniques such as Semi-Permeable Membrane Devices and Polyethylene Devices to increase contaminant sampled mass in situ. One of Shirley Lam’s research project is investigating the application of these samplers for stable isotope analysis, while Garnet Lollar has investigated the potential of these samplers’ membranes to grow biofilm.

Triclosan is a frequently detected surface water emerging contaminant that has strong adsorbing and photodegradation properties. Due to its ability to form toxic dioxins, a better understanding of its environmental behavior and the development of cost-effective ways to sustainably remove it from contaminated water are the research topics of Shirley Lam’s PhD research.

Bioretention cells
Urban green infrastructures such as bioretention cells are designed to collect runoff, reduce water volumes, and eliminate contaminants. Research projects on the topic have been focusing on the potential for adsorption and desorption of phosphorus and naphthalene from engineered bioretention soil (work of MASc Ceren Akdeniz, and two undergraduate students). Brenden Ding’s MASc work was investigating the effects of freezing and thawing on nutrient dynamics in bioretention cells, whereas MASc Leandra Rhodes is evaluating the role of adsorption vs. biodegradation for selected less traditional urban stormwater contaminants.

Radioactive pollution in wetlands
While wetlands (natural, engineered) are known for their water treatment capacities, little is known about their potential to control radioactive pollution. Antoine Boyer MASc research is focusing on the distribution and removal processes of strontium 90 in wetlands from a contaminated site.

Algal pond for water treatment
MASc Christian Larsen is looking at the role of various algal species in the elimination of selected wastewater trace organic chemicals, by investigating the role of adsorption onto vs. uptake into algae.

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