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Challenges to managing sewage pollution in estuaries: insights from emerging monitoring tools and investigation of microbial exchange among water, sediment and air

November 14, 2017, 4:00 pm - 5:00 pm
Location Center for Environmental and Life Sciences - 120
Posted InCollege of Science and Mathematics

About Dr. Gregory O’Mullan

Gregory O’Mullan is an Associate Professor and the Director of the School of Earth and Environmental Sciences at Queens College. He is proud to be a product of the New Jersey educational system, including degrees from Rutgers, UMDNJ, and Princeton. His research group focuses on environmental microbiology and pollution assessment applied to the urban environment and water resource management. They utilize diverse data collection approaches including microbial cultivation, molecular genetics, environmental geochemistry and environmental sensors in gathering data to test experimental hypotheses and characterize environmental condition.  Ultimately, their goals are to better understand the interaction of human and natural systems and to inform management decisions related to aquatic pollution mitigation and the protection of human health. 

About the Seminar

In recent decades, focused environmental management and re-investment in wastewater treatment infrastructure have resulted in significant improvements to water quality of the Hudson River Estuary and the connected waterways of New York City.  However, urban stormwater, Combined Sewer Overflow (CSO), incomplete sewage treatment, and wildlife remain as sources of allochthonous bacteria, oxygen consuming waste, and other emerging contaminants. Once delivered to the waterway pollutants are transported within the estuary and exchange can occur among sediment, water, and adjacent air masses. Using data from microbial cultivation, high throughput DNA sequencing, geochemical assays, and environmental sensors this seminar will address patterns in common water quality indicators, pollution source identification, as well as the distribution and exchange processes influencing sewage pollutants, with a particular emphasis on fecal bacteria. The data will be discussed in the context of current management challenges and planned sewage pollution mitigation activities.