"Environment" research area

Water Treatment & Management

Across the state our urban and rural communities rely on a range of water treatment and management systems to ensure safe and reliable drinking water, as well as clean, uncontaminated recreational water. The responsibility of delivering safe and clean water in a reliable fashion is shared by a variety of agencies, organizations, and communities, and MnDRIVE Environment continues to partner with these stakeholders to offer innovative solutions to their specific needs. The advances in research and innovative technology solutions that our collaborative, interdisciplinary research projects explore offer distinct environmental and economic benefits.

Research Projects

Clays for Mitigation of HABs
Awarded June 2021
Yang mitigates harmful algal blooms and toxins using clays.

Microbes in Hard-to-Reach Places
Awarded June 2021
Kang introduces branching microbes to remediate groundwater contaminants.

Microplastic Pollution from Paint
Awarded June 2021
The Penn Lab analyzes contamination surrounding paint fragments in aquatic systems and study photodegradation as a strategy to combat it. 

Sustainable Extraction of Environmental Microplastics
Awarded June 2021
Cari Dutcher explores sustainable ways of extracting microplastics using bioflocculants.

Microbial Remediation of Personal Care Products
Awarded June 2021
Thomas Niehaus utilizes microbial communities for bioremediation of personal care products. 

Managing Septic System Contaminants
Awarded June 2021
Sara Heger applies biochar and iron-enhanced sands in septic systems. 

A New Method for Treating Agricultural Wastewater
Awarded January 2021
Ruan and team demonstrate an integrated biological system for animal wastewater treatment through utilization of active microbes.

Improving Removal of Sulfate from Wastewater at a Minnesota Power Facility
Awarded January 2021
Chan Lan Chun and team research a biological sulfate treatment coupled with sulfide immobilization for electric power utility water.

Novel Biodegradation Pathways of PFAS Compounds
Awarded June 2020
Mikael Elias and team identify and characterize the novel PFAS-degrading enzymes from bacteria to research biodegredation applications.

Using Microbes to Remove Nitrogen and Methane from Wastewater
Awarded June 2020
Chan Lan Chun and team discover microbes as the less expensive and more efficient substitues for carbon in the nitrogen and methane removal process to advance dentrificaion technology.

Using Old Tires for New Remediation Strategies
Awarded December 2019
John Gulliver and team invesitgate a Tire Derived Aggregate for stormwater treatment as they test the contaminant filtration abilities and progress towards cleaner remediation implementations.

Optimizing Biofilm Growth in Porous Media for Cleaner Water
Awarded December 2019
Peter Kang and team turn biofilm-induced clogging into a bioremediation technology that optimizes contaminant removal conditions by experimenting at the microscopic pore-scale.

Remediation of PFAS in Landfill Leachate
Awarded December 2019
A research team led by Matt Simcik and Bill Arnold will conduct lab experiments to assess the effectiveness of charged polymers in removing PFAS from leachate, under wastewater treatment conditions.

Treating Urban Water Using Renewable Waste Materials
Awarded December 2019
Joe Magner and team test the compentency of renewable-derived biochar on filtering out urban developed contaminants from water systems.

Electrically Stimulated Wetlands to Improve Microbial Dentrification
Awarded August 2019
Sebastian Behrens and Team explore multiple operating scenarios to identify low-cost, high nitrate removal strategies for electrically-stimulated surface flow wetlands.

Nitrification of Wastewaters in Cold Temperatures
Awarded July 2019
Timothy LaPara and team use microorganisms and enhanced cold temperatures for the bioremediation of polluted waters.

A Strategy to Overcome Biofilm Plugging of Bioreactors
Awarded December 2018
Mikael Elias and team address biofilm plugging of carbon-dosed dentrifying bioreactors with quorum quenching lactonase.

Battling Biocorrosion in the Duluth-Superior Harbor
Awarded November 2018
This Demonstration project, led by Mikael Elias and Randall Hicks, utilizes naturally occuring enzymes to coat and protect submerged steel infrastructure from biocorrosion.

Enhancing Water Treatment Using Nitrate-Metabolizing Microbes
Awarded February 2018
Ishii's team investigate the role of microbial communities in denitrification of waterwater, and how to optimize removal of excess nitrate during treatment.

Improving the Process of Industrial Wastewater Treatment
Awarded February 2018
Paige Novak leads this Demonstration project, with partners Metropolitan Council and Fulton Brewery, that tests a treatment system which uses bacteria to remediate brewery wastewater while also producing hydrogen and methane to potentially use as a fuel source.

Advanced Biocomposite Materials for Bioremediation
Awarded August 2017
Claudia Schmitt-Dannert leads this project that designs an adaptable bioremediation strategy applicable across a range of contamination obstacles through the use of modifiable encaplsulins.