To understand the effects of pollutants once they are released into the environment, scientists and engineers need to know how the pollutants move and transform in the atmosphere, surface water, and groundwater.
These studies involve measurements carried out in the laboratory and the field to understand process mechanisms, coupled with mathematical modeling to provide long-term predictions.
Faculty in the department are involved in research involving nutrients that impact water quality and ecosystems, legacy pollutants such as toxic metals, pesticides and flame retardants, and emerging pollutants such as pharmaceuticals. Research spans investigation of particle-scale sorption and mass transfer processes to watershed-scale transport processes. Research in the department also evaluates how some toxic chemicals present in water bioaccumulate in the food chain.