Research Pillar 1 - Water Quality
Research Pillar 1 - Water Quality

The increase of emerging environmental contaminants in sources of water supply is of growing concern. The presence of high concentrations of pathogenic microorganisms, pesticides, other endocrine disrupting chemicals, harmful cyanobacterial toxins, toxic metals and other synthetic and naturally occurring organic, inorganic and microbiological pollutants in water supplies is a serious threat to human health.  One of the major challenges in assessing the associated health risks is to better understand the environmental fate of such contaminants and to develop innovative environmental sensors to detect and quantify them in sources of water supply.

There is also an urgent need to develop effective water treatment technologies to eliminate emerging pollutants in water.  The overall objective of this study is to develop an active multidisciplinary, interdisciplinary and cross-disciplinary research effort that focuses on sources, transport, fate, monitoring, and treatment of emerging microbiological, organic, and inorganic pollutants in water.

Sample projects: (1) investigation of the capability of advanced chemical oxidation processes including sonolysis, homogeneous and heterogeneous photocatalysis and advanced biological treatment systems including membrane bioreactors of removing emerging organic contaminants from aqueous solutions, (2) development and evaluation of advanced oxidation technologies and nanotechnologies for the destruction of organic contaminants in water, (3) synthesis, characterization and application of solar light-activated systems for the destruction of organic pollutants in water, (4) development of high performance TiO2 photocatalytic films and membranes for the treatment, purification, disinfection, recycle, or desalination of water, (5) enhanced photocatalytic solar disinfection of water, (6) development of combined systems coupling chemical and biological steps for the purification of waters and wastewaters, (7) development of electrochemical sensors for the detection of organic compounds, and (8) development of advanced risk assessment systems for xenobiotics.

Advanced chemical water treatment

Advanced wastewater treatment through hybrid processes

Development and use of porous materials in water treatment applications

Characterization of properties of particles in waters and identification of organics adsorbed on solid surfaces

Environmental chemical analysis for water quality

Water pollutants impact assessment

Water resource evaluation

Groundwater resources

Protection of groundwater resources

Groundwater recharge


Development of mitigation techniques for evaporative loss from fresh water reservoirs

Reservoir sedimentation monitoring and management

Surface reservoir integrity

Numerical modeling, prediction and monitoring of salt-water intrusion on coastal aquifers