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Alan Bowers

Associate Professor of Civil and Environmental Engineering

Civil and Environmental Engineering

Research Focus

  • Environmental Chemistry
  • Modeling of Water and Wastewater Treatment Processes
  • Role of Uncertainty in Biological and Physical/Chemical Reactions

I'm interested in biological and physical/ chemical processes in the environment. This includes the kinetics of biodegradation and the role of uncertainty in the application of these processes to the design and operation of wastewater treatment operations. This is important to modeling biological treatment processes including the biodegradation of organics and the concurrent air-stripping of volatile organics. Currently, I'm working on the fate of pharmaceuticals and personal care products (micropollutants) in the environment and in conventional waste treatment processes. In addition, my research group is examining the formation of magnesium-ammonium-phosphate (struvite) in wastewater systems where magnesium hydroxide is employed as an alkalinity booster.

As the human population continues to expand and consume resources at an ever-increasing rate, new risks continue to arise in the environment. Technological challenges, such as fracking to develop natural gas deposits, the discovery of apparently non-biodegradable micropollutants in the environment and the necessity to recycle our resources challenge the limits of knowledge on a daily basis. Our research group strives to understand the basic chemistry and biology involved in these problems and to develop new technologies for water and wastewater treatment like treating fracking wastes and pharmaceuticals and personal care products. In addition, we are evaluating novel chemistries to recycle critical resources such as struvite precipitation to recycle high-grade phosphorus from wastewater. Our environmental laboratories are well equipped to evaluate environmental processes from a fundamental standpoint. They include most standard environmental test equipment and instrumentation for monitoring radio-labeled tracers and measuring organic and inorganic pollutants in the environment such as GC-MS, ICAP and ion chromatography.


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