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Water & the Env. Seminar: Lead and Denitrification

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November 6 @ 3:30 pm - 4:20 pm


Water & the Environment Seminar:

Amina Grant and Thomas C. Robinson of the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering at the University of Iowa will present.

*This event will be held over Zoom, please email for the link to the seminar.



Under the Radar: Estimating the severity of lead in Iowa drinking water

Amina Grant

No level of lead exposure is safe for children. Lead-in-water crises like Washington, DC and Flint have shown, drinking water is can be significant exposure route. The US EPA regulates lead in drinking water through the Lead and Copper Rule (LCR), where public water utilities conduct limited monitoring, corrosion control, and public education. But, is this enough to protect the health of the public? Here we explore how many people are exposed to lead in their tap water every year. Our findings suggest a significant number of people fly under the LCR radar and are at risk for lead exposure from drinking their tap water.


Beyond Biological Denitrification: Is There Another Pathway To Remove Nitrogen From Iowa’s Waters?

Thomas C. Robinson

Sustainable Water Development Graduate Program

Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering

Widespread fertilizer use has resulted high levels of nitrate and nitrite in Iowa’s waters. While much is known about biological denitrification, an emerging body of knowledge has suggested that abiotic chemodenitrification by Fe in soils may be an important pathway for nitrogen removal. To investigate whether chemodenitrification is a significant transformation pathway, we measured nitrite reduction by a suite of commonly occurring Fe minerals, as well as an Iowa sediment. We observed rapid reduction of nitrite and production of nitrous oxide, a potent greenhouse gas. We further used spectroscopy to directly link Fe(II) oxidation in an Iowa sediment to nitrite reduction. Our findings suggest chemodenitrification may play a significant role in removing nitrogen from Iowa waters and possibly account for missing nitrous oxide production observed in climate models.


November 6
3:30 pm - 4:20 pm
Posted on November 3rd, 2020

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