Research in the Blaney Laboratory focuses on the intersection of environmental, analytical, organic, and inorganic chemistry. Our primary research interests are the (1) fate, transport, and toxicity of contaminants of emerging concern (CECs) in natural and engineered systems and (2) recovery of vital resources to ensure sustainable development.
Research Area #1: Water/wastewater treatment of CECs
Our lab specializes in the detection and fate of pharmaceuticals and personal care products, endocrine disrupting chemicals, organometallic compounds, and other contaminants of emerging concern (CECs) in natural and engineered systems using advanced analytical methods like online solid phase extraction liquid chromatography tandem mass spectrometry (SPE-LC-MS/MS) and high performance liquid chromatography with fluorescence detection (SPE-HPLC-FLD).
Ongoing project: Bioaccumulation of antibiotics, hormones, and personal care products in crayfish (funded by the USDA Forest Service)
We are also interested in treatment technologies to remove CECs from water and wastewater. Currently, we are investigating the fate of CECs during ozonation, UV irradiation, and advanced oxidation processes. Many of my students are looking at how specific classes of compounds (i.e., antibiotics, organometallics) behave in these systems. For these projects, we are interested in the following: (1) water/wastewater treatment of CECs, (2) identification of transformation products, and (3) analysis of the residual toxicological activity of treated waters.
Ongoing project: Class-specific transformations of antibiotics in UV-based water/wastewater treatment processes (funded by the NSF Environmental Engineering program)
Ongoing project: Photolysis of environmentally-relevant organometallic compounds in aqueous matrices (funded by the NSF Environmental Chemical Sciences program)
Research Area #2: Resource recovery from agricultural waste
A second focus of our laboratory is resource recovery. Maryland is one of the largest poultry-producers in the United States. We are working to recover nutrients, including nitrogen and phosphorus, from poultry manure to prevent nutrient runoff into the Chesapeake Bay, among other sensitive water bodies. These projects are aimed at developing, testing, and optimizing the chemistry and engineering of innovative nutrient recovery technologies. Our technologies recover not only struvite-based fertilizers, but also a low-nutrient manure and a high-strength liquid fertilizer. In the coming years, we plan to install pilot-systems on Eastern Shore farms to quantify the impact of these technologies on reducing nutrient loads entering the Chesapeake Bay.
Ongoing project: GOALI: Sustainable phosphorus recovery from agricultural waste
(funded by the NSF Environmental Sustainability program)
Ongoing project: Closing the nutrient cycle through sustainable agricultural waste management (funded by the US-Israel Binational Agricultural Research and Development Fund)