Compact physical-chemical and biological treatment systems for hazardous waste and industrial wastewaters, fate of pollutants in engineered and natural systems, and site remediation technologies.
Current Research                                                      

Research Objectives: Conduct survey water utilities to determine their experiences with exposure of plastic pipes to gasoline, chlorinated solvents and other hydrocarbons; testing of the performance of plastic pipes and elastomeric gaskets under realistic levels of hydrocarbon contamination, and development of accelerated life cycle tests that will predict the performance of plastic pipes and elastomeric gaskets under commonly encountered levels of environmental contamination.

Gaunt, J., F. Mao, S.K. Ong, 2006, Performance of plastic pipes and pipe gaskets in hydrocarbon contamination field experience and laboratory studies, AWWA ACE Conference, June 11 – 14, San Antonio, TX.

Mao, F., J. Gaunt, and S.K. Ong, 2006, Permeation of petroleum-based aromatic compounds through polyethylene pipes under simulated field conditions, AWWA ACE Conference, June 11 – 14, San Antonio, TX.

Gaunt, J.A., S.K. Ong, 2005, Water utility experience with plastic pipes and gaskets in hydrocarbon-contaminated soils, ACE’05, June, San Francisco, CA.



Research Objectives: Globalization of the world economy along with an increase in world population has spurred mass production of livestock to meet the food needs of both domestic and international markets.  Integral in the practice of mass production of livestock is the use of veterinary pharmaceuticals (VPs) or antimicrobial drugs for control of diseases and for growth promotion.  Detection of low concentrations of VPs and human drugs in effluent of manure lagoons and municipal wastewater treatment plants, respectively, have raised major concerns of potential effects of these compounds on humans and aquatic life.  The objective of this study is to investigate the fate and biodegradation of common VPs used in the animal livestock industry.

Khanal, S. K., B. Xie, Thompson, M., S. Sung, S.K. Ong, J. van Leeuwen, 2006, Fate, transport and biodegradation of natural estrogens in the environment and engineered systems, Environmental Science and Technology, 40(21):6537 – 6546.

Kolz, A.C., S.K. Ong, and T. B. Moorman, 2005, Sorption of Tylosin onto Swine Manure, Chemosphere, 60(2):284-289.

 Kolz, A.C., T.B. Moorman, S.K. Ong, K.D. Scoggin, E.A. Douglas, 2005, Degradation and metabolite production of tylosin in anaerobic and aerobic swine manure slurries, Water Environment Research, 77(1): 49 - 56.


Bioremediation and bioavailability of PAHs for PAH-contaminated soils 

Research Objective: development of cost effective methods to remediate coal-tar sites using bioremediation.  Technologies tested include land farming and solvent enhanced biodegradation.

Lee, P.H., S.K. Ong, J. Golchin, and G.L. Nelson. 2001. Use of solvents to enhance PAH biodegradation of coal-tar-contaminated soils, Water Research, 35(16):3941-3949.

Lee, P.H., S.K. Ong, J. Golchin, G.L. Nelson. 1999. Extraction method for analysis of PAHs in coal tar-contaminated soil, ASCE Hazardous, Toxic and Radioactive Waste Management Practice Periodical, 3(4):155-166.


Natural attenuation of PAH-contaminated sites 

Research Objectives: Application of natural attenuation principles for closure of coal-tar sites.  Specific objectives of the research are investigating the line of evidence of biodegradation and microbial community.

Rogers, S. W., T. B. Moorman, S.K. Ong, 2007, Fluorescent In Situ Hybridization and Micro-autoradiography Applied to Ecophysiology in Soil, Soil Science Soc. of America Journal, 71(2):620-631.

Rogers, S. W., S. K. Ong, G. A. Stenback, J. Golchin , and B. H. Kjartanson, 2007, Evidence of intrinsic bioremediation of a coal-tar impacted aquifer based on coupled reactive transport and biogeochemical mass balance approaches, Water Environment Federation, 79 (1):13-28.

Rogers, S.W., S. K. Ong, T. Moorman, 2005, Application of Fish and Microautoradiography to Determine Microbial Community Structure and Activity in Soil.  ASA-CSSA-SSSA International Annual Meetings, Nov. 6-10, Salt Lake City, UT

Rogers, S.W., S.K. Ong, B. Kjartanson, J. Golchin, G.A. Stenback. 2002. Natural attenuation of PAH-contaminated sites: A Review, ASCE Hazardous, Toxic and Radioactive Waste Management Practice Periodical, (in print).


Innovative bioreactors and chemical processes for treatment of hazardous and industrial wastewaters and for water reuse

- biological aerated filters

- sequencing batch biofilm bioreactors 

- membrane bioreactors


Protzman, R.S., P.H. Lee, S.K. Ong, and T.B. Moorman. 1999. Treatment of formulated atrazine rinsate by Agrobacterium radiobacter Strain J14a in a sequencing batch biofilm reactor. Water Research, 33(6):1399 – 1404.

Kim, C.S. and S.K. Ong. 1999. Recycling of lead-contaminated EDTA wastewater, J. Hazardous Materials, 69(3):273-286.


Fate of chemicals in municipal wastewater treatment plants, septic tanks, and leachfields

Braida, W., S.K. Ong, W.L. Smith, and J.W. McCabe. 1998. Fate of adsorbable organic halides (AOXs) from bleached laundering in septic tank systems. Environ. Toxicology and Chem. 17(3):398 - 403.

Ong, S.K., G.M. DeGraeve, R.A. Silva-Wilkinson, J.W. McCabe, and W.L. Smith. 1996. Toxicity and bioconcentration potential of adsorbable organic halides from bleached laundering in municipal wastewater. Environ. Toxicology and Chem. 15(2): 138 - 143.


Past Research

Fundamental studies on Air Sparging

Rogers, S.W., S.K. Ong, and K. P. Chao.  2004.  Modeling the removal of benzene NAPL under air-sparged conditions.  ASCE J. of Environ. Engineering, 130(7):751 - 758.

Braida, W. and S.K. Ong. 2001. Air sparging effectiveness: Laboratory characterization of air-channel mass transfer zone for VOC volatilization. J. Hazardous Materials, 87(1-3):241-258.

Rogers, S.W. and S.K. Ong. 2000. Influence of porous media, airflow rate, and channel spacing on benzene NAPL removal during air sparging, Environ. Sci. and Technol. 34(5):764-770.



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