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Research & Labs

Research by EES faculty and students is contributing to advances in areas including environmental biotechnology, microbial ecology, remediation of contaminated waters and sediments, pollutants and human exposure, and the implementation of environmental policies.

Numerous collaborative and interdisciplinary projects expand this list of contributions as faculty, staff and students from several specialties work as research teams on various funded research projects within the department, with other departments at Stanford and at other universities in the U.S. and worldwide. Student initiative is encouraged in conceiving and conducting research, and in communicating results, and student participation in research projects is vital. At any one time, approximately 40 graduate students representing all levels of degree candidacy will be working together on a project. The size and diversity of the research program supplement classroom teaching and stimulate a level of excitement for learning through research that is rare.

Current research includes laboratory and field studies on:

  • movement and fate of organic and inorganic compounds in ground water and surface waters
  • physical, chemical and biological processes and mechanisms responsible for the release, transport, transformation and retention of contaminants
  • contaminant control processes (especially the removal of trace  contaminants)
  • development  of alternative energy sources
  • fundamental principles of physical,  chemical and biological treatment technologies for water, wastewater and solid wastes.

Environmental Engineering and Science Research and Teaching Laboratories

The Water Quality Control Research Laboratory contains a complex of several laboratories with a gross area of 14,000 square feet. These well-equipped research facilities contain the latest analytical and specialized experimental equipment. Six environmental chambers are available in these laboratories. Microbial laboratory facilities are available equipped with autoclave, microscopes (including epifluorescence instrumentation), shakers, incubators, full-scale anaerobic glove box chambers, computerized chemostats and other necessary equipment.

Fully equipped radiochemical research and analytical laboratories are also available. These facilities are equipped with a special isolated counting room designed to house low beta and low gamma multichannel counting equipment as well as several crystal scintillation counters and a liquid scintillation counter.

Laboratory facilities are available for applied colloid and surface chemistry research and include instrumentation for measurement of specific surface area, pore size distributions in the macro-, meso- and micropore size range, as well as particle size distributions. A microelectrophoresis instrument is available: in addition, special titration equipment is available for estimating surface charge density.

The laboratory offers excellent facilities for detailed analysis of trace organic contaminants, including a GC-Triple Stage Quadrapole Mass Spectrometer, six gas chromatographs (three equipped with capillary column capability), an integrated GC/MS/Data system and two computerized high-performance liquid chromatographic systems.

Additional instrumentation includes pH-stats, automatic titrimeters, multiple circulating constant-temperature baths, several ion exchange chromatographs, and specific ion and pH meters. There is sufficient bench space and desk/study area available to accommodate approximately 40 research staff members, students and post-doctoral fellows within the Water Quality Control Research Laboratory.

The Environmental Engineering and Science Teaching Laboratories consist of two laboratories having a gross area of 3,000 square feet with requisite bench space, instrumentation, three environmental chambers and other specialized equipment for the four laboratory courses offered in the MS program: water chemistry, environmental microbiology, physical and chemical processes, and microbiological processes, in addition to the usual analytical equipment and bench-scale treatment systems. The teaching laboratories are equipped with two dedicated microcomputers for realtime data acquisition, data processing and report preparation. Students in the laboratory courses also have access to the research laboratory's instruments when advanced analytical techniques are required.