Congratulations to Nicholas Johnson, a Ph.D. student from Professor Shaily Mahendra’s group, who is one of two winners of the 2021 Battelle Combined Chlorinated and Bioremediation Conference Student Paper Competition with his paper entitled “Improved Adsorbent Performance for the Treatment of 1,4-Dioxane- impacted Water by Bioaugmentation and Bioregeneration.”

This award, presented biennially by the Battelle Chlorinated Conference, recognizes excellence in research and technical writing and includes a stipend to assist with travel to the conference that will be held in Portland, OR. The International Conference on Remediation of Chlorinated and Recalcitrant Compounds is the international long-standing, recognized forum for fostering technical innovation at the intersection of environmental science, engineering, and practice for the remediation of recalcitrant environmental pollutants.

His research investigated ways of improving the adsorption for the treatment of 1,4-dioxane, a probable human carcinogen and groundwater pollutant, through the careful application of biological degradation. His work has demonstrated that bioaugmenting granular activated carbon (GAC) or zeolite, common adsorbent materials, with 1,4-dioxane-degrading bacteria extends the working performance and life of the adsorbents and improve the biodegradation performance even in the presence of harsh co-contaminants such as
industrial solvents. Nick’s work with bioaugmented zeolite was recently published in Environmental Science & Technology, one of the top journals in the environmental engineering and science field. Co-authors of the paper include Professor Yun Liu (Chinese Academy of Sciences), Dr. Erin Mack (Corteva Environmental Remediation), and Dr. Claudia Walecka-Hutchison (The Dow Chemical Company).

Nick’s research described in his winning paper will be presented as a poster at the 2021 Battelle Combined Chlorinated and Bioremediation Conference. He will attend the conference representing both UCLA Department Civil and Environmental Engineering and his new employer, GSI Environmental, a highly regarded engineering and science consulting firm that is a leader in environmental engineering, applied science, risk management, regulatory affairs, and water resources services.