About Us

We are a team of University Professors, researchers, and students from University of Toronto, Western University, and Queen’s University. The Scientific Management Team is composed of Professors Brent Sleep, Denis O’Carroll, Edgar Acosta, and Kevin Mumford.

Professor Edgar Acosta (Associate Professor, Department of  Chemical Engineering and Applied Chemistry, University of Toronto) has published over 50 research articles, 5 book chapters, 2 patent applications, and has been author or coauthor of over 80 presentations at international conferences. His research encompasses the areas of colloids, complex fluids and formulation engineering, specifically the application of surfactant-oil water systems as templates to produce nanostructured materials, as delivery vehicles for drugs and food additives, and as solvents in: degreasing, cleaning, bio-separations, polymerization, environmental remediation, and enhanced oil recovery. Prof Acosta also seeks polymer formulations to improve stability and delivery of nano zero valent iron to contaminated aquifers and groundwaters.

Professor Elizabeth Edwards (Department of Chemical Engineering and Applied Chemistry, University of Toronto) focuses on developing an understanding of how biological processes affect the fate of pollutants in the environment, applying a wide variety of techniques from analytical chemistry, molecular biology, and microbiology in conjunction with mass and energy balance approaches to unravel and model complex microbial processes. A fundamental understanding of biological degradative processes occurring in groundwater is essential to the proper application of bioremediation or bioaugmentation. Prof Edwards’ group focuses on biological transformation processes of monoaromatic hydrocarbons and chlorinated solvents. Professor Edwards’s research team has discovered and characterized novel microbial cultures such as the now commercial KB-1 consortium (commercialized by SiREM, Guelph, ON) that metabolize pollutants previously thought to be recalcitrant. Her group develops molecular methods and molecular understanding of mixed microbial cultures for bioremediation and biotransformation of recalcitrant compounds.

Professor Jason Gerhard (Professor, Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering, Western University, Adjunct Professor,
University of Edinburgh). Professor Gerhard has over 15 years of experience conducting research investigating the behavior of DNAPLs and their remediation. Upon completion of doctoral studies, he joined University of Edinburgh as an Assistant Professor (2002) and was promoted to Associate Professor (2006). At Edinburgh, he led a strong research group supported by more than 1.3M USD in active, competitively awarded funding. In addition to numerous STAR projects in North America and  the UK, his research program has generated breakthroughs in multiphase flow theory, developed proprietary models for DNAPL migration-dissolution-transport-reaction in both unconsolidated and fractured porous media, and produced novel experimental datasets for validating these numerical models. Prof. Gerhard moved to University of Western Ontario upon award of the Canada Research Chair in Geoenvironmental Restoration Engineering (2007) while remaining an Adjunct at University of Edinburgh. Since arriving, he is managing $1.1 million in new, North American-sourced research funds for DNAPL remediation research. Dr. Gerhard is a Professional Engineer who actively consults for industry, consultants, and legal counsel providing expert technical advice on subsurface investigations and remediation system design. He is an Associate Editor of the leading journal Water Resources Research. Furthermore, Prof. Gerhard is Co-Director of the RESTORE (Research for Subsurface Transport and Remediation) Group at Western, which includes a graduate research team of more than 20 people across 4 well-equipped experimental and modelling laboratories. Prof. Gerhard is a co-inventor of the STAR technology.

Professor José Herrera (Associate Professor, Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering, Western University) has a joint appointment in the Civil and Environmental Engineering and Chemical and Biochemical Engineering departments at the University of Western Ontario. His research efforts attempt to bridge the gaps between materials science, surface science, heterogeneous catalysis and environmental engineering; and to understand the interactions between heterogeneous and homogeneous reactions and surface phenomena. Currently, Prof Herrera’s research group is focused on studying the use of nanoscale materials as heterogeneous catalysts and in using nanotechnology to address current environmental challenges. By combining design, synthesis, and characterization, in order to link variations in material structure at atomic or molecular scales to obtain improved catalytic activity. Prof Herrera’s expertise has successfully addresses challenges in diverse areas, from synthesis and functionalization of carbon nanotubes to characterization of lead oxide nanoparticles in drinking water distribution systems.

Professor Barbara Sherwood Lollar (Department of Geology, University of Toronto)
is a Canada Research Chair in Isotopes of the Earth and the Environment. Her work includes the development of new techniques for using stable isotope tracers to determine the fate and distribution of organic contaminants in near surface groundwater and the effectiveness of groundwater remediation systems in cleaning up contaminated sites. The impact of this work can be measured not only in terms of academic awards, prestigious invited lectures and research grants, but in industrial partnerships and input on water quality issues, contamination of groundwater resources and carbon capture and storage issues given to regulatory agencies in Canada, the United States (MOE, EPA, DOE), and abroad (International Atomic Energy Agency). In addition to research impact, the Stable Isotope Laboratory at the University of Toronto is closely involved with industrial partners and regulators in the commercialization, technology transfer and application of novel isotopic techniques for solving environmental problems in the marketplace.

Professor Kevin Mumford (Assistant Professor, Department of Civil Engineering, Queen’s University) is developing an innovative laboratory to study gases in contaminated porous media systems, including those produced during thermal remediation. Previous work has focused on the reaction of oxidants with naturally-present non-target material (i.e., natural oxidant demand reactions) during remediation by in situ chemical oxidation (ISCO), non-equilibrium effects during the rapid drainage of water by non-aqueous phase liquids (NAPL), and the impact of trapped gases on the dissolution of NAPL pools due to bubble expansion and unstable gas flow. This work has included one-dimensional and two-dimensional laboratory experiments and numerical modelling. His ongoing research projects focus on thermal remediation of NAPL, with an emphasis on the formation of discontinuous gases in the presence of multiple volatile species during heating, and the transition to continuous gas formation as heating continues. Prof. Mumford has significant experience developing laboratory experiments to visualize and quantify gases in porous media, as well as experience modelling discontinuous gas flow.

Professor Denis O’Carroll (was Associate Professor Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering, Western University, currently Associate Professor Sch-Civil & Environmental Eng, University of New South Wales) focuses his research interests primarily on the fate of nanoparticles and contaminants in subsurface systems. He has investigated the fate of multiwalled CNTs (MWCNTs) through experimental and field scale modeling studies and been actively involved in the development of nanometals for contaminated site remediation. Prof. O’Carroll has also been involved in the development of constitutive relationship theory for the prediction of partially saturated porous media fluid flow as well as multiphase flow in the saturated zone. He has provided guidance to policy makers developing guidelines and regulations for their disposal of nanoparticles.  Prof. O’Carroll is currently developing two remediation technologies, hot water flooding and remediation using nanotechnology. He is particularly interested in the development of innovative groundwater remediation technologies, improving our understanding of the phenomena that govern contaminant fluid flow in the subsurface, and the utility of nanomaterials in environmental engineering. Dr. O’Carroll has also been developing computer models to delineate the extent of NAPL contamination and to conduct feasibility studies for the determination of appropriate NAPL remedial alternatives.

Professor Brent Sleep (Department of Civil Engineering, University of Toronto) is the Project Director. Professor Sleep is internationally recognized for his leading edge research in groundwater remediation, including bioremediation, thermal remediation, ISCO, NZVI. He has been a co-investigator on NSERC Strategic grants targeting thermal remediation, NZVI applications, stable isotopes, and bioremediation, and has had a number of research projects supported by industry. He has been involved in the development of remedial and monitoring tools, such as thermal remediation, NZVI applications, stable isotopes, and bioremediation, and has had a number of research projects supported by industry. Professor Sleep has served on the US NRC/NAS Committee on Source Removal of Contaminants in the Subsurface, is an associate editor of Advances in Water Resources and will be appointed Editor-in-Chief of the Journal of Contaminant Hydrology beginning in January 2011.


Current Students