What processes affect water supply and quality?
Dr. Bill Anderson studies how groundwater interacts with surface water in a variety of hydrogeologic settings: in coastal aquifers such as the barrier islands of North Carolina and England, in mountain streams such as Boone Creek,and how climate variations such as the El Nino - Southern Oscillation affect groundwater resources.
Dr. Sarah Carmichael studies water quality from the point of view of minerals: how can microbial minerals be harnessed to clean up water quality problems such as acid mine drainage? Can some biominerals be used as indicators of sewage contamination? More info about this project can be found here.
Dr. Ellen Cowan's water research involves tracking coal ash releases in the Emory and Clinch rivers in TN (from the Kingston coal ash spill in 2008), as well as in the Dan River in NC (from the Dan River ash spill in 2014). She uses a variety of analytical techniques to track how the coal ash particles move in these different river systems.
Dr. Sarah Evans studies the effects of frozen ground and changing snowmelt patterns on groundwater flow and subsequently, downstream water resources. Her research utilizes coupled heat transport and groundwater flow numerical models, hydrologic field measurements, and remote sensing datasets.
Dr. Bob Swarthout studies the environmental impacts of organic compounds and pollutants on air quality, water quality, and climate.
If you are interested in local water resources in Boone and Watauga County, our faculty have been studying this watershed for over a decade.