ActiveEnvironment & Energy

Application of genomics to enhance wetland treatment systems for remediation of processed water in northern environments

PROJECT LEAD(S)/CO-LEAD(S) Douglas Muench (University of Calgary) & Christine Martineau (Natural Resources Canada)
FUNDER Genome Canada 2020 Large-Scale Applied Research Competition
PROJECT END DATE June 30, 2025
COMPETITION/ FUNDING OPPORTUNITY Genome Canada 2020 Large-Scale Applied Research Competition

Constructed wetland treatment systems (CWTS) are one of very few scalable and cost-effective technologies for remediating large volumes of wastewaters. An in-depth understanding of how these nature-based, passive, low energy systems operate to treat industrial waste is needed to enhance treatment efficacy in cold weather, particularly in northern environments that are challenged by short summers and cold winters. The surface mining of oil sands in the Athabasca region of northern Alberta, while contributing extensively to Canada’s gross domestic product and economic development, produces enormous volumes of toxic oil sands process-affected water (OSPW) that has accumulated on-site in storage facilities. This project is aimed at reducing OSPW toxicity through biodegradation processes that take place in CWTS. The goal of this project is to apply genomics-based methods and incorporate public preferences derived from Experimental Decision Laboratories and artistic approaches to inform and enhance the efficacy of CWTS for the treatment of OSPW and to guide policy making.

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