McNair Symposium

2023 McNair Research Symposium

Christina Lopez

Testing Effectiveness of Nitrate-Reduction Through Utilization of a Biowall in a Simulated Groundwater Scenario

Nitrates, in small amounts, pose no perceivable effects to the average person; however, when present at higher concentrations, the effects of nitrates not only prove deleterious for the human body, but for the environment and its ecosystems, as well. In such cases, pregnant women and their unborn children are at a particular risk for adverse health effects. As for the environment, excess nitrates can result in algal blooms on bodies of water, which entirely disrupts the ecosystem and is typically detrimental to the survival of aquatic life present. This investigation will entail the experimentation of multiple soil columns to be used as “biowalls” to curb the presence of nitrates in groundwater samples. Through the use of four soil columns, each with differing component compositions, the most effective blend of mulch, soil, and sand will be determined. In addition, the effect of the Pseudomonas sp. culture and emulsified vegetable oil (EVO) will serve the purpose of determining the most effective approach for the removal of nitrate present in groundwater. Through this research, it is expected that the composite bioactive soil mixture will remove a substantial concentration of nitrates, which suggests great potential for groundwater treatment.

Faculty Mentor: Dr. Matthew Alexander

Department of Chemical and Natural Gas Engineering

Christina Lopez' poster

Christina Lopez