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Civil and Environmental Engineering

Water Resources, Quality, & Treatment

Securing water with sufficient quantity and quality is a grand challenge in the face of growing water stress due to changing climate, booming population, increasing resources use and disposal. Vanderbilt researchers pursue this goal by enhancing our fundamental understanding of water-related processes at different scales, from the global hydrologic cycle, to hydroelectric generation, to protective waste management and use of materials, to water and contaminant transport in nanoscale pores. Vanderbilt researchers are also in the forefront of technological innovations for more reliable, affordable and sustainable treatments of water and wastewater.

Water Resources, Quality, & Treatment

Graduate students work alongside faculty researchers who are pursuing topics such as:

  • Build advanced coupled models to enhance understanding of contaminant transport across the interface between surface water and groundwater.
  • Develop methodologies and reactive transport models for leaching assessment of reuse of secondary materials, waste treatment and disposal.
  • Optimize large-scale controlled reservoir system water quality response to power generation activities subject to uncertainty.
  • Determine how environmental and societal variables interact in determining water conservation measures undertaken by cities and states.
  • Develop novel materials and operation strategies to enable desalination of hypersaline wastewater using waste heat.

What current graduate students are doing within the department of Civil & Environmental Engineering:

  • Amy Shaw obtained her B.E. in Civil Engineering, with a Minor in Mathematics, and later an M.S. in Environmental Engineering, all from Vanderbilt. Her research interests include reservoir modeling, flood routing, and storm-water management. As an awardee of the Hydro Research Foundation, she is working on her dissertation titled Simulation and Optimization of Large-Scale Controlled Reservoir System Constituent Response to Power Generation Activities.
  • Ke Ding received his undergraduate degree in Civil Engineering and Consulting Engineering certification from Rose-Hulman Institute of Technology. In his research, he studies the inter-relationships among the use of water, energy, and food (WEF) resources, and aims at providing sustainable solutions to WEF issues globally.
  • Chelsea Peters graduated from Rhodes College with a B.S. in Environmental Science and Chemistry. She is interested in conservation of natural environments and understanding anthropological impacts on water quality. As a NSF Graduate Research Fellow, she is now working on elucidating the groundwater-surface water interactions in southwest Bangladesh.
  • Kofi Christie came to Vanderbilt as a graduate from Morehouse College with a B.S. in Physics. He is in general interested in water treatment technologies, especially novel materials and processes for desalination. He is a recipient of a NSF Graduate Fellowship and is now working on advancing membrane distillation for treating hypersaline brine using low-grade thermal energy.

What graduates of the department of Civil & Environmental Engineering are doing:

  • Dr. Yi Mei is a Catastrophic Modeler at Risk Management Solutions, Inc. in Beijing. His doctoral dissertation was Hydrological Regulation of Dissolved Organic Carbon Transport from Agricultural and Forest Soils to Streams.
  • Dr. Coy McNew is a postdoctoral scholar in the Department of Land, Air, and Water Resources at UC Davis. His dissertation was The Attachment of Colloidal Particles to Environmentally Relevant Surfaces: Effect of Ionic Strength, Particle Shape, and Physicochemical Properties.
  • Dr. Leslie Lyons Duncan is a hydrologist with the US Geological Survey in Nashville. Her dissertation was Regional and Local Hydrologic Responses to Climate Fluctuations and Land Use Change, Columbia River Basin, Washington.