CAREER: Impact of Pesticide and Antibiotic Cocktails on Nitrogen Removal Processes in Treatment Wetland

Grants and Contracts Details


The goal of this CAREER project is to improve our understanding of the cumulative effect of increased use and occurrence of commonly used antibiotics and pesticides on nitrogen transformation processes in wetlands while engaging communities by establishing an innovative citizen science and education platform to improve water quality across generations and communities using treatment wetlands. The proposed program will complete the following objectives: identify water quality parameters impacting nutrient removal efficacy of land-based and innovative floating treatment wetland systems; use 15N enrichments to determine nitrate removal pathways; create a toolkit for identifying ideal placement and sizing of wetlands using three-dimensional multiparameter in-situ sensor technologies; train future practitioners through mentorship; establish pre-K and high school curriculums to deliver hands-on ecological systems education; and design and engage citizen science opportunities and water quality training virtually and at field locations. The proposed program will provide potential contributions to science and engineering by elucidating the black box of nitrogen removal and transformation in two distinct wetland treatment systems and provide fundamental understanding to the interactions between contaminants of emerging concern on microbially mediated denitrification in wetlands positioned in agricultural and urban ecosystems. Findings will improve downstream river and reservoir resilience by evaluating the influence of specific contaminants of emerging concern on wetland nitrogen removal processes and ecosystem services (i.e., denitrification), along with developing innovative community water quality education networks both locally and remotely. Field and laboratory scale experimental approaches will bridge gaps between observations and kinetic modeling from microcosm and mesocosm experiments with field-scale monitoring and modeling. Outcomes will provide a novel, realistic assessment of how environmental conditions impact the treatment potential of wetlands for contaminants of emerging concern in a range of water quality cocktails and will identify impacts on nitrogen removal. Results are expected to expedite treatment wetland design, placement, and management strategies for water resources world-wide based on science-based observations. Findings will enhance treatment options for water that is critical to public supply, agriculture, and recreation in the Southeast, Midwest, and worldwide
Effective start/end date7/1/216/30/26


  • National Science Foundation: $501,479.00


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