The Program has been an innovator in wastewater treatment technology since its inception. The types of wastewaters studied have included municipal, industrial, and those classified as hazardous wastes. This work has involved elements of process performance, design, operation and monitoring. Other areas of research include use of membrane bioreactors for treatment of municipal and industrial wastewater, control of chlorinated organic compound precursors, biological nutrient removal, color removal in textile wastewaters, treatment of volatile emissions from municipal wastewater treatment plants with biofilters, the stability of residual biosolids, aerobic and anaerobic digestion of sludges, and the control of trace contamainants in wastewater reuse applications.
Work in environmental microbiology has focused on the microbial ecology of wastewater treatment systems, bioremediation of contaminated groundwater, control of drinking water pathogens such as viruses, Cryptosporidium, and Giardia, autotrophic biological reduction of nitrate and perchlorate, biological Fe(III) reduction for remediation of acid mine drainage sites and the study of soil microcosms containing petroleum hydrocarbons. Work has also been done on chemical transformations in biologically-active filters for drinking water treatment, and on improved bioassays for determining assimilable organic carbon (AOC) and biodegradable organic carbon.
Example Research Projects
- Natural attenuation of Ethylene Dibromide at MMR, (Chul Park) The Air Force Center for Engineering and the Environment, 4/2011-3/2013
- Bioelectricty Generation from Domestic Waste: The Microbial Fuel Cell Pit Latrine – (Caitlyn Butler), Gates Foundation Grand Challenges Explorations, 11/2011-10/2013
- Assessing the effects of conventional and advanced nitrogen removal wastewater treatment on receiving water eutrophication, (Chul Park), Springfield Water and Sewer Commission, 5/2011-6/2012.
- Electrofuels via Direct Electron Transfer from Electrodes to Microbes, (Derek Lovley, Caitlyn Butler, Kelly Nevin, Tim Russell) Advance Research Project Agency - Energy (ARPAE), 1/2012-6/2013
- Anaerobic Co-digestion of Sewage Sludge and Food Wastes, (Chul Park) Massachusetts Water Resources Authority (MWRA)
- Removal of PPCPs and EDCs by Home Septic Systems, (David Reckhow), Barnstable County Dept.of Health, 6/2010-5/2014
- Evaluation of Effluent Proteins and Organic Nitrogen in Wastewater Treatment Effluent (Chul Park),
- Natural Attenuation of ethylene dibromide (1,2-Dibromoethane [EDB]) at MA Military Reservation Chul Park, Sarina Ergas (Univ. South Florida), Klaus Nüsslein(Microbiology, UMass Amherst)
- Activated Sludge with a Side-Stream Treatment (Chul Park)
- Investigating the Link Between Sludge Physiology and Sludge Digestion Chul Park, Meng Wang (PhD candidate), Philip Teague (Master candidate)
- Biogeochemistry of Fe(III) and Sulfate in Extreme Acidic Environments, NSF Biocomplexity in the Environment Program, Richard Yuretich, David Ahlfeld, Sarina Ergas, Allan Feldman, Klaus Nüsslein, Jonathan R. Lloyd (Univ Manchester UK).
- VOC Emission Reduction and Water Reusein Chemical Manufacturing Using MBR, National Environmental Technology for Waste Prevention Institute, Sarina Ergas & James Holden.
- Soil Microcosm Study of Aerobic Biodegradation of Gasoline Constituents in a Transportation Right of Way, Mass Highway Department, David Ostendorf & Alan Lutenegger.
- Bioretention Systems for Control of Non-Point Sources of Nitrogen, Cooperative Institute for Coastal and Estuarine Environmental Technology (CICEET), Sukalyan Sengupta (UMass Dartmouth) and Sarina J. Ergas.
- Perchlorate Remediation Using a Novel Autotrophic Perchlorate-Reducing Microbial Community, National Science Foundation, Sarina J. Ergas and Klaus Nüsslein.