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New lab tackles tainted groundwater with nanotechnology


London, ON – A new research facility at the University of Western Ontario will help researchers improve groundwater through the use of technologies developed on the nanoscale.

“There is considerable interest in pumping nanomaterials into the ground where they can flow with groundwater to a contaminated region and convert hazardous chemicals into benign products like ethane and butane,” says Denis O’Carroll, professor of civil and environmental engineering. “Current remediation technologies are rarely able to reduce contaminant concentrations below drinking water limits, but nanomaterials hold significant promise in achieving these goals, he adds.

In the new laboratory for the development of innovative groundwater remediation strategies, which received $227,770 in support from the Canada Foundation for Innovation (CFI), Dr O’Carroll’s research team will develop groundwater treatment technologies on the nanoscale. He indicates that the experimental conditions used in his study are more representative of actual field conditions and expects the results of this work to be ready for field use within five years.