2018 Emerging Contaminants in the Aquatic Environment Conference


Download a PDF of the ECAEC18 conference agenda.

Keynote Presentations

Multi-contaminant interactions at aquifer-river interfaces

Stefan Krause – Professor and Chair or Ecohydrology and Biogeochemistry at the University of Birmingham, UK

Abstract: Hyporheic zones at the interfaces between aquifers and rivers are characterized by the spatially and temporally dynamic mixing of groundwater and surface water resources. The mixing of these diverse water sources creates streambed hotspots where different types of legacy and emerging contaminants meet, potentially react or compete for reaction partners. This demands the development of integrated management strategies for groundwater and surface water resources.

This talk investigates the organizational principles of drivers and controls of multiple contaminant interactions in hyporheic zones, including examples of different diffuse and point source legacy pollutants as well as emerging contaminants such as engineered nanoparticles and microplastics. The environmental impacts of multiple pollutants on ecosystem functioning (whole stream metabolism, biofilm primary production) are furthermore analyzed in relation to other stressors, such as increasing water temperatures, flood or drought conditions.

Biography: Stefan is also the director of the Birmingham Water Council and leads the Physical Geography Research Theme. He has more than 15 years experience in international research leadership in the fields of contaminant hydrology, ecohydrology, and biogeochemistry, with a particular focus on groundwater-surface water interfaces. His labs current research portfolio of UK research councils NERC and EPSRC, EU-H2020, EU-FP7 and EIT Climate-KIC, Leverhulme Trust, and Environment Agency exceeds a funding volume of £10M (~$13.3M US), including close collaborations with UK and international industry and public sector partners. Main research activities in his lab currently focus on:

  • Multi-component reactive transport of diffuse and point source pollutants in freshwater ecosystems
  • Integrated carbon and nutrient cycles in hyporheic and riparian zones and consequences of excess nutrient loads in agricultural systems for enhanced stream bed respiration and greenhouse gas production
  • Fate and transport of emerging contaminants (specifically microplastics and engineered nanoparticles) at freshwater-sediment interfaces
  • Non-linear process dynamics at ecohydrological interfaces with a particular focus on dynamic source zone contributions of urban and rural pollutants
  • Ecohydrological impacts of multi-stressor interactions and prediction of resulting threshold, hotspot and hot moment ecosystem behavior

From PCBs to PFASs – A global cruise in persistence, long-range transport and novel detection tools

Rainer Lohmann – Professor of Oceanography at the University of Rhode Island’s Graduate School of Oceanography

Abstract: Some of the most notorious organic contaminants are persistent, bioaccumulative and hydrophobic, including PCBs and organochlorine pesticides, such as DDT. Yet many emerging contaminants in water possess very different physico-chemical properties and pathways. Per- and polyfluorinated alkyl substances in particular are at least as persistent as PCBs, also bioaccumulate but are much more soluble in water. Both are of concern to humans near contaminated sites, but also pose risks in the remote Arctic environment. By relying on passive sampling, we have been studying the transport, fate and traced the bioaccumulation of persistent contaminants at scales ranging from the heavily contaminated Passaic River (NJ) to the remote Arctic region. In the Passaic River, food-web dynamics of legacy contaminants were strongly influences by contaminants residing in sediment and porewater. By and large, these legacy pollutants scale with population density. The perflourinated compounds, in contrast, have distinct point sources that are not (yet) scaling with population, implying that abatement and remediation are distinct options.

Biography: Rainer obtained a Ph.D. in Environmental Science from Lancaster University (UK) in 1999, and a BSc in Chemical Engineering from EHICS (Strasbourg, France) in 1996. With funding from NSF, NIH, SERDP and private foundations, his group conducts research into the sources, transport, and bioaccumulation of anthropogenic pollutants. He is Director of the new Superfund Research Center at URI: Sources, Transport, Exposure and Effects of PFASs (STEEP). Dr. Lohmann has published over 100 peer-reviewed publications and serves as Editor for Environmental Toxicology and Chemistry. He is on the Editorial Boards for Environmental Science and Technology, Environmental Pollution and Environmental Science and Technology Letters, among others.

An Overview of the Challenges with PPCPs in China and Advanced technologies for Typical Pharmaceuticals removal.

Xuefei Zhou – Professor at in State Key Laboratory of Pollution Control and Resource Reuse in the College of Environmental Science and Engineering at Tongji University, China.

Currently, with economic development and population growth, China is a large country with high production and consumption of pharmaceuticals and personal care products (PPCPs). Consequently, multiple micropollutants, especially PPCP residues due to their universal consumption, low human metabolic capability, and improper disposal, have been widely detected in aquatic environment including wastewater, surface water, groundwater and drinking water in China. This work reports the current contamination status and environmental behavior of six PPCPs, namely, fluoroquinolones (FQs), non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), blood lipid regulators (BLRs), carbamazepine (CBZ), triclosan (TCS), and galaxolide (HHCB) in the aquatic environment in China by chromatographic methods. The emerging control technologies, such as advanced oxidation processes (AOP), molecularly imprinted polymer (MIP), nanoscale zerovalent iron (NZVI), carbon nanotubes (CNTs), oxygen releasing compound (ORC), electro-catalysis, and photocatalytic oxidation under visible light, have been applied to remove these PPCPs for achieving higher and more consistent removal. The evaluation of PPCPs removal from a municipal in the aquatic environment covers a series of aspects from sources to end-uses. After the release of micropollutants, a better understanding and modeling of their fate in the water is essential for effectively predicting their impacts on the receiving environment. The purpose of our work is to provide a comprehensive summary of the occurrence, analysis system and removal of these PPCPs in corresponding treatment facilities as well as the optimum methods for their elimination by these advanced treatment processes.

Biography: Xuefei’s research has focused on environmental fate of emerging contaminants and novel materials and techniques for water and wastewater treatment. Current research areas include occurrence, fate and removal of pharmaceuticals and personal care products (PPCPs) in aquatic environments; modeling and simulation of biological wastewater treatment (by ASMs, ADMs, CFD, etc.); ecosystem restoration of the urban water environment. Environmental problems are now regional and global ones, Dr. Zhou’s group also focuses on sustainable technologies for the reduction of CO2 emission and adaptation to climate change.

Her scholarly activities and professional services include the professional membership of International Water Association (IWA); the proposal reviewer for National Natural Science Foundation of China (NSFC); and the manuscript reviewer for Chemical Engineering Journal, Water Research, Bioresource Technology, Journal of Hazardous Materials, Electrophoresis, Journal of Molecular Recognition.
Dr. Zhou has published to date more than 80 peer-reviewed articles in professional journals and 4 books. Additionally, she holds more than thirty patents for the water and wastewater treatment techniques.
Dr. Zhou’s Research Projects (as Principal Investigator):

  • Remediation of chromium pollution in groundwater by Geobacter Sulfurreducens PCA. (NSFC), Jan 2016 – Dec 2020;
  • Treatment technologies for drinking water under emergency situations. State science and technology support projects. Jan 2012 – Dec 2015;
  • Transport mechanisms and simulation of pharmaceuticals and personal care products in ground water(NSFC), Jan 2011 – Dec 2013;
  • Decentralized wastewater treatment technologies, equipment and intelligent controlling system for small town and village. Sino-Germany international cooperation projects supported by Ministry of science and technology, August 2009 – Dec 2012.