Less than one percent of the earth’s water is easily accessible to us as freshwater and nearly half of this
water is heavily polluted with pesticides, emerging contaminants, and heavy metals due to waste from industry,
human establishments, and agriculture. This research aimed to remove these key classes of contaminants by
manipulating biochar surface area, controlling chemical composition and catalytic properties for oxidative
breakdown, adding surface complexing agents, and modifying intrinsic pore size.
It is forecast that 66% of our population will experience water scarcity within a decade, leaving us more dependent on surface water for drinking. This requires more filtration infrastructure, and more monitoring of surface water. Current methods rely on expensive and technically challenging manual identification of biological samples. Macroinvertebrates spend their larval lives within a small area of water, showing cumulative effects of habitat alteration and pollutants that chemical testing and field sensors do not. Chironimidae are a global common denominator. DNA Barcoding of Chironomidae results in more accurate and precise waterway health data, adding significant value for monitoring scarce water resources. The learnings from these data are being applied building microbiology capability at a nonprofit scientific water study institute.
The purpose of this project was to establish irrigation water use efficiency improvements by using a percolation control layer in addition to suppression of evaporation loss with infiltration insert water delivery and top soil bed. Reducing fresh water usage in irrigation can lead to significant reduction in world’s water foot print and relieve water stress.
“The goal of the project was to create a cost-effective, low impact system to remove heavy metals from water systems. First two field studies, both at EPA Superfund Sites, were conducted. At these sites, seven heavy metals concentrations were measured along the streams and water samples were taken. 250 bacterial strains were then isolated from the water samples. The bacterial isolates were screened for heavy metal resistance and successful biofilm formation in heavy metals. 24 bacteria that showed the greatest potential for heavy metal remediation were then selected from the group and identified with a 16S Ribosomal Subunit Analysis. To create the system, the bacteria were combined with mixed algae in an immobilized format called a sodium alginate bead.”