Engineers working in Water Quality focus on potable and wastewater treatment, water chemistry, water quality (gray, ground and surface waters), aquatic microbiology, environmental nanotechnology, advanced oxidation technologies, contaminant fate and transport, physicochemical phenomena on solid-water interfaces, and the energy/water nexus. The Water Quality energy nexus challenges engineers to optimize water and wastewater treatment and develop new technologies to meet the ever growing demand for clean water, while making the treatment more energy efficient. Cincinnati has a storied tradition in water quality management, with one of the first water treatment facilities in the United States, starting operation in 1906. Regionally, the UC Environmental Engineering and Science program is located within the metropolitan district of greater Cincinnati, and as a result, is well positioned to research water quality challenges applied to urban environments. Globally, our research efforts are director toward low cost, low energy technologies specifically for water treatment in developing countries. These technologies include biosensors with a focus on emerging contaminants, semiconductor and protein solar disinfection materials, filtration, bioremediation, and contaminant tracking with bimolecular tools.
With a burgeoning global population, particularly in urban areas, water reuse will be essential to providing a sustainable decentralized solution to growing water resource demands. Future work for the Water Quality focus area will include continued collaborations on risk and reuse analysis for graywater, disinfection, desalination and bioremediation through a variety of renewably sourced and sustainably powered technology platforms. Other on-going projects funded by several national and international funding agencies include novel nanotechnologies for water treatment, chemistry of transformation of pharmaceuticals and other contaminants of concern in engineered and natural systems, multi-objective approach in the remediation of algal blooms and elimination of algal toxins (cyanotoxins), treatment water quality issues in developing countries, and water reuse for irrigation purposes.