Two DWFI Faculty Fellows received a major award from the USDA to study how agrochemical mixtures can be treated using engineered wetlands. The project is led by DWFI Faculty Fellows Shannon Bartelt-Hunt, professor and chair, UNL Civil Engineering; and Tiffany Messer, assistant professor, Biological Systems Engineering; as well as Daniel Snow, research professor and director of the WSL.
The four-year, $500,000 project began this summer and runs through mid-2022. A key part of the project involves Messer’s mesoLAB on UNL’s East Campus. The lab investigates methods to improve best management practices to treat and/or remove contaminants introduced to the environment by humans. In this case, floating treatment wetlands – artificial wetlands constructed to improve the water quality of ponds and lakes – will be tested for their efficacy in filtering out contaminants.
Ultimately, quantifying how these contaminant mixtures interact with wetlands and how wetlands absorb them is crucial to designing future versions that can protect water quality from agricultural runoff.