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Center for Environmental Chemistry and Reclamation

The EERC at the University of North Dakota has significant experience removing toxic contaminants from soil and water, mitigating environmental challenges, and reclaiming environmentally impacted landscapes and other properties.

Several core programs included in the EERC’s Center for Environmental Chemistry and Reclamation work in concert with one another to prevent and clean environmental contamination and further protect and improve the landscape and water sources around us.

Integrated Remediation and Contaminant Recovery

This specialized group at the EERC has received national recognition for its design and implementation of advanced remediation and treatment systems for cleanup of soil and/or groundwater contamination.

Practicing under the long-standing philosophy of collaboration and interdisciplinary research and development, the EERC has developed numerous successful partnerships with responsible parties, small businesses, industry, and regulatory agencies to clean contaminated areas.

Innovation

By integrating the most efficient contaminant recovery technologies with engineered in situ degradation processes, the EERC finds solutions to considerably reduce the time, labor, and costs required for site cleanup. The EERC uses innovative high-vacuum systems to inject nutrients or reagents into the affected area to completely break down contaminants and destroy spilled chemicals.

Capabilities

  • Full-scale remediation system design and construction of the extraction system.
  • Feasibility, assessment, and pilot tests.
  • Site characterization and regulatory compliance monitoring and permitting.
  • Emergency response remediation systems (mobile contaminant recovery system with integrated treatment units).
  • Life cycle economic evaluation for remedial alternatives.
  • Field project support and soil, water, and air sampling.
  • Groundwater resource engineering and aquifer management.
  • Hydrogeology and hydraulic and geochemical modeling.

Extraction Technologies

The EERC has been leading the world for more than 25 years in the area of effectively extracting compounds in environmentally friendly ways without the use of hazardous solvents.

Supercritical Fluid Extraction

The EERC utilizes the chemistry of water and carbon dioxide (CO2) under pressurized and heated (super- and subcritical) conditions to extract and separate organic contaminants that are not efficiently extracted without the use of hazardous organic compounds. This method reduces the time it takes to extract compounds, uses less harmful solvents, and can be used over a broad range of pressures and temperatures.

Subcritical Water Extraction

The EERC is also a leader in manipulating the properties of subcritical water to allow for selective extraction, separation, and destruction or sequestration of select chemicals. Extraction technologies such as this have been used in flavor and fragrance compounds, antioxidants, and pharmaceutical compounds from plants; contaminants from soils; polymer additives from packaging materials; and destruction of explosives.

Over the past nearly three decades, the EERC has received global recognition in this area: securing two U.S. patents; producing more than 140 peer-reviewed publications; publishing several peer-reviewed book chapters; giving hundreds of lectures in the United States, Canada, Europe, Australia, New Zealand, and the Far East; receiving several national and international awards for excellence in research; and developing collaborative research partnerships in 20 countries and all continents except Antarctica.

Mined Land Reclamation

Successful mined land reclamation requires a fundamental understanding of pre- and postmining geologic and hydrogeologic settings and water movement through these settings. The EERC has a long history studying and understanding the factors that affect reclaiming and restoring mined landscapes, controlling subsidence and erosion, and reestablishing high-quality groundwater.

The EERC’s research program emphasizes long-term monitoring and follow-up study of factors controlling subsurface water quality, as well as chemistry and mineralogy, texture, permeability, and precipitation on landscapes. EERC studies dating back to the mid-1970s in the lignite strip mines of western North Dakota are based on detailed instrumentation, monitoring, and analytical efforts.

Today, the EERC continues to provide clients this type of invaluable research data in order to make intelligent decisions on how landscape reconstruction and reclamation can be accomplished.

Useful Links

Supercritical and Subcritical Extraction Technologies

Environmental Chemistry and Waste Management

Integrated Remediation Technologies

Wastewater Treatment