Research Areas

The researchers at the Center for Environmental Systems, through collaborations with government agencies and industrial partners, work to generate new scientific knowledge, which leads to the creation of innovative technologies, sound environmental policy and sensible resource management.

Center for Environmental Systems research presentation by Christos Christodoulatos

Our research focus areas include:

Environmental Technology Development

The Center for Environmental Systems operates in an environment that encourages and promotes the generation of ideas and intellectual property that lead to the creation of technology with the participation of students, faculty and administration from conception (an idea) to commercialization (a product or process). The center provides industry, government and environmental service organizations with research and testing services for developing and implementing innovative solutions to complex environmental problems.

Over the years, the center has been active in technology development in diverse areas including site restoration, water quality monitoring, ecosystem management, drinking water, wastewater and groundwater treatment, soil remediation, hazardous wastes, air monitoring and treatment, sampling, analysis and modeling. Based on research conducted in the areas of cold plasmas and environmental nanotechnology, the center has been instrumental in the creation of patented technology that has been commercialized by two Stevens companies PLASMASOL® and HydroGlobe®.

Contaminant Fate and Transport

Movement and transformation of contaminants across environmental interfaces is dictated by their properties as well as by dominant environmental conditions. The center has had extensive experience in conducting Fate and Transport studies for numerous conventional, emerging and new environmental contaminants. These include: \

  • aqueous solubility studies

  • determination of aqueous diffusion coefficients

  • adsorption-desorption batch tests in soils and other particulate matrices

  • batch column sorption experiments

  • identification and enrichment of potential degraders

  • biodegradation potential by microbial consortia in aqueous and soil samples

  • biodegradation rate experiments with selected pure or mixed cultures

  • toxicity on microorganisms and plants

  • combustion and detonation products

Currently, the CES is actively involved in an investigation of the environmental fate of a novel energetic material, CL-20, and the fate, transport, and toxicity of tungsten alloys.

Remedial Processes

Remedial processes are necessary for the safe treatment and removal of contaminants from aquatic or soil environments under restoration. They entail a combination of physical, chemical, and biological treatment steps for the removal and/or treatment of inorganic and organic contaminants.

The center has been successfully involved in a multitude of remediation projects including:

  • the remediation of heavy metals (e.g. arsenic, lead, chromium)

  • organic or inorganic pollutants

  • groundwater treatment

  • in-situ passive treatment

  • physicochemical processes (e.g. adsorption, stripping)

  • biological removal and control

  • ex-situ on site processing

  • bioremediation of organic pollutants including petroleum products

  • volatile substances (e.g. benzene, toluene etc.)

Current projects include pink water (RDX, HMX, TNT) remediation and the treatment of aqueous streams contaminated with perchlorate.

Environmental Geotechnology

Environmental geotechnology focuses on remediation and restoration of polluted soil systems. The main focus of our research involves the environmental aspects of geotechnical engineering applications, with an emphasis on geoenvironmental practices for hazardous waste management. Current studies include:

  • geoenvironmental characterization of heavy metal contaminated firing range soils

  • evaluation of fly ash, incinerator ash, and other industrial byproducts for possible reuse in construction applications

  • evaluation of the properties of dredged materials for reuse in transportation projects, treatment, and management of hazardous wastes

  • immobilization of heavy metals and petroleum hydrocarbons in geoenvironments

  • fate and transport of contaminants in the subsurface

  • surface enhancement of currently used industrial wastewater filtration media

  • development of leaching protocols

  • development of soil washing technology for firing range soils contaminated with lead

  • heaving and remediation of chromium ore processing residue

Environmental Monitoring, Analysis and Modeling

The Center for Environmental Systems has been actively involved in a variety of research programs for the development of tools necessary to monitor, analyze, and assess the status and quality trends of local and regional environmental resources. Through collaborations with state agencies, the industry, and other research organizations, the center gathers and interprets environmental monitoring data at multiple spatial and temporal scales that are used to assess current environmental conditions and forecast future risks to our resources. Past and current ventures include:

  • development of apparatus for surface water sampling

  • analysis of organic and inorganic contaminants for assessing water quality in Newark Bay

  • measurement of PCB fluxes from dredged material in Bayonne, NJ

  • tracking effluents in the coastal ocean at Chesapeake Bay

  • New Jersey toxics reduction work plan for New York/New Jersey harbor

  • contaminant assessment and reduction for York/New Jersey

  • suspended sediment and circulation studies in Newark Bay

Water Conservation

The Center for Environmental Systems, through its Building Technology Research Laboratory, conducts research, testing and conformity assessment services to consumers and manufacturers of products and systems related to environmental and public health and safety. The laboratory is accredited by NVLAP, ASSE, and IAPMO with the recognized International Standard ISO/IEC 17025:2005.

The laboratory conducts performance requirement tests for backflow protection devices and systems in plumbing fixture fittings according to the standards of the American Society of Mechanical Engineers (ASME A112.18.3M). The laboratory has pioneered the development of hydraulic performance requirements tests for water closets (following ASME A112.19.6) and the testing of physical, material, dimensional and performance requirements for vitreous china plumbing fixtures (follows ASME A112.19.2M). Flushability and biodegradability tests and research on non-woven consumer products are also performed.