Quantifying the relationship between algal blooms and carbon budgets and quality in Lake Erie
Harmful algal blooms, a well-known concern in the western basin of Lake Erie, have unknown impacts on regional carbon budgets.
Dr. Rachel Gabor and Dr. Rachel Eveleth plan to quantify carbon transformation from inorganic to organic forms and investigate how the chemistry of these forms change due to an algal bloom by completing densely sampled transects from South Bass Island to the Maumee River pre, peak, and post algal bloom.
The results could have important implications for modeling regional carbon fluxes into and out of Lake Erie, understanding ecosystem functioning, and improving scientific understanding of what drives algal blooms and their toxicity.
Principal investigator Dr. Gabor is an Assistant Professor in the School of Environment and Natural Resources at The Ohio State University. Read her profile here.
Dr. Eveleth is an Assistant Professor in the Geology Department at Oberlin College. Read her profile here.
Assessment of large woody debris as a low‐cost best management practice for improving water quality in urban headwater streams
Water quality attainment status in Ohio is evaluated based on biotic community indices, and improving biotic indices may necessitate management approaches that reduce or mitigate multiple stressors simultaneously. Therefore, there is a need for cost-effective and scalable strategies to reduce erosive flows, prevent streambank erosion, and improve habitats to support the attainment of water quality criteria.
Dr. Michael Booth, Dr. Stephen Matter, and Mr. Adam Lehman are investigating the effectiveness of large woody debris (LWD) structures as a low-cost means to improve water quality by reducing erosion and sediment/phosphorus loading from urban headwater streams.
The project will provide data to inform management actions by local stormwater districts and complement other ongoing long‐term projects in the watershed such as mitigating a key water quality issue (sedimentation) in this watershed.
Principal investigator Dr. Booth is a Visiting Assistant Professor at the University of Cincinnati. Read his profile here.
Dr. Matter is an Associate Professor of Biological Sciences at the University of Cincinnati. Read his profile here.
Mr. Lehman is the Stream Conservation Program Manager for the Hamilton County Soil and Water Conservation District.
The influence of surface water-groundwater exchange on fate and transport of emerging contaminants
1,4-dioxane is an organic compound that is easily transported in groundwater and becoming increasingly prevalent across the United States. Prolonged exposure to the contaminant can cause permanent damage to the central nervous system, liver, and kidneys.
Dr. Reza Soltanian, Dr. William H. Steinecker, Dr. Corey Wallace, and Dr. Drew McAvoy are investigating how groundwater and surface water exchange — hyporheic exchange — controls the fate and transport of emerging contaminants, including 1,4-dioxane, perfluorooctane sulfonate (PFOS), and perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA).
Through the research, numerical models of flow and reactive mass transport will be developed and validated, which will be used to further understand the controlling influence of hyporheic exchange on the fate and transport of emerging contaminants.
Principal investigator Dr. Soltanian is an Assistant Professor of Hydrogeology in the Department of Geology and Environmental Engineering at the University of Cincinnati. Learn more about his work here.
Dr. Steinecker is the Co-Founder and Chief Technology Officer of Targeted Compound Monitoring.
Dr. Wallace is a National Science Foundation (NSF) Postdoctoral Fellow in the Department of Geology at the University of Cincinnati. Learn more about his work here.
Dr. McAvoy is a Professor and Educator in the Department of Environmental Engineering at the University of Cincinnati. Learn more about his work here.
Wireless Distributed Sensor Network for Monitoring Fixture Use in Premise Plumbing Systems
Instantaneous peak water demand is an important consideration when designing the premise plumbing system for a new building, and an improved method of estimating peak indoor water demand has been created. However, the method requires a crucial piece of missing information: an estimate of the peak hour probability of fixture use, otherwise known as the “p-value.”
Dr. Tao Li and Dr. Steven G. Buchberger are developing and testing a low-cost, battery-powered, miniature wireless sensor module for non-invasive detection of flow through pipes in premise plumbing systems. Readings from the sensor network will be analyzed to estimate the peak hour p-values for various fixtures in the premise plumbing system.
This information will provide the basis to apply the new method for estimating peak indoor water demand in new buildings.
Principal investigator Dr. Li is an Associate Professor in the Department of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science at the University of Cincinnati. Read his profile here.
Dr. Buchberger is a Professor in the Department of Civil and Architectural Engineering and Construction Management at the University of Cincinnati. Read his profile here.
Quantifying water flow pathway redistribution under agricultural drainage
Artificial tile drainage is used in much of Ohio and the Midwest to increase crop production on soils that are naturally poorly drained. However, tile outlets are channels for nutrient-rich water to enter local waterways contributing to anoxic conditions and, in extreme cases, harmful algal blooms (HAB).
Dr. Kennedy Doro, Dr. Steve Lyon, and Mr. Sam Miller plan to characterize the impact of subsurface tile drainage and drainage water management (DWM) on nutrient loading to freshwater systems. Understanding the total net impact agricultural drainage and DWM have on nutrient export via all flow pathways leaving farm fields will help characterize the hydrological responses and estimate nutrient loads.
Subsequent groundwater and tile outlet monitoring, combined with nutrient concentration sampling, will allow for improved management of nutrient loads at the watershed scale.
Principal investigator Dr. Doro is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Environmental Sciences at the University of Toledo. Read his profile here.
Dr. Lyon is an Associate Professor in the School of Environment and Natural Resources at The Ohio State University. Read his profile here.
Mr. Miller is a Postdoctoral Scholar in the School of Environment and Natural Resources at The Ohio State University.
Cyanotoxin biodegradation: An in-plant solution to microcystins in water treatment residuals
The toxins produced by cyanobacteria during harmful algal blooms (HAB) present a large and increasing problem in Ohio and the world. To protect public and environmental health, HAB cyanobacteria and their toxins must be managed comprehensively from drinking water treatment plant intakes (inputs) to residuals and finished water (outputs).
Dr. Natalie Hull is focusing on accurately analyzing and optimizing the biodegradation of microcystins in residuals to levels suitable for land application.
The results from the research will inform best practices for quantifying cyanotoxins in residuals and will inform utilities of a biodegradation strategy to manage HAB residuals sustainably to minimize risk to humans and the environment.
Dr. Hull is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Civil, Environmental, and Geodetic Engineering at The Ohio State University. Read her profile here.