Title of PhD: Securing Resilient Public Water Supply from Groundwater Resources at Transient Risk from Uncertain DNAPL Chlorinated Solvent Contamination
Supervisors: Dr Mike Rivett, Dr Alan Herbert, Professor David Lerner (University of Sheffield), Matilda Beatty (Severn Trent Water Ltd.), Tim Besien (Environment Agency)
Christopher’s PhD is a NERC PhD, CASE studentship, supported by Severn Trent Water Ltd. And the Environment Agency.
Christopher’s research is concerned with time-variant groundwater flow and risks posed by contaminants in urban aquifer systems to dissolution phenomena which influence the contamination risk to wells drawing groundwater. In particular, he is investigating the behavior of contaminants leached from dense, insoluble substances (known as DNAPLs) which were extensively used by industry in the mid-twentieth century and which are now known to persist in the subsurface for decades. The goal is to develop a computer modeling procedure which, by numerically predicting a zone from which a well draws water and therefore contaminant migration from known source locations. To be used reliably, the model must account for time-variant processes, such as changes in groundwater flow patterns and changes in DNAPL distribution and dissolution in the subsurface with time. Wells with observed time-variance in contaminant concentrations will be studied to calibrate and evaluate the model.
Christopher studied natural sciences at the University of Cambridge, specialising into geology. He developed particular interests in geophysics and mineral sciences, completing a thesis on modeling of diffusion processes at the core-mantle boundary.
Christopher started to consider hydrogeology as an application of his degree after meeting a hydrogeologist working for an NGO in Burkina Faso (see blog entry). Convinced of the importance of safe groundwater for global sustainability and development, Christopher is pleased to be undertaking PhD research that could assist the sustainable supply of groundwater.