Research Projects


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CE3 Work Study Position Available Starting Fall 2015

Join the CE3 Student Team!

Elissa Welch Aug 11, 2015

Space studies team project harnesses space tech to monitor Ohio hydraulic fracturing sites

Pete Shooner for the Russ College of Engineering and Technology Aug 6, 2015

The Sugar Bush Foundation funds projects that benefit the environment, healthy living

Kaitlyn Pacheco for Ohio University Compass Jun 18, 2015


Water Program 

The CE3 Water Program works regularly with the Appalachian Watershed Research Group (AWRG), which was initiated over a decade ago by a group of Ohio University faculty and staff from the Voinovich School. The group provides interdisciplinary, high-quality, applications-based water research for the benefit of the region. These research projects are designed to provide undergraduate and graduate students with innovative learning opportunities while also solving real-world problems. The work of the AWRG benefits watershed groups, federal, state, and local governmental agencies, non-profit organizations, local residents, businesses, and industry.

The AWRG research areas of interest include chemical, biological, and physical water quality research, acid mine drainage reclamation, aquatic outreach and education, fish and invertebrate assessment, sediment toxicity, PCB and TCE contamination in surface and groundwater, chemical water quality trainings for watershed professionals, teachers, and students, and linking of data to decision-making tools through the use of online reports, charts, maps and graphs. Students are a part of the project teams thus providing them with experience that demonstrates teamwork, builds leadership skills, and integrates teaching and learning.

Points of Contact

Jennifer Bowman
Senior Environmental Project Manager
Ohio University Voinovich School

Natalie Kruse, Ph.D.
Assistant Professor of Environmental Studies
Ohio University Voinovich School


Example Projects

All Projects 

Abandoned Coal Mine Drainage Investigation in Wills Creek and White Eyes Creek

The Voinovich School has partnered with the Muskingum Watershed Conservancy District (MWCD) and the Ohio Department of Natural Resources to engage local watershed groups to conduct a water quality investigation of abandoned coal mine drainage in Wills Creek and White Eyes Creek in Coshocton and Muskingum Counties. The School will analyze the data and provide a summary report of impacts from acid mine drainage in these streams. Once Jen Bowman, senior environmental project manager, and Gary Conley, research supervisor for Ohio University’s Air Quality Center, present their findings, the MWCD will develop a viable and cost-effective restoration plan to provide cleaner water for Ohio. An article about the project can be found here.

Tags: Water

Laboratory for Sustainable Energy and Advanced Materials

The Laboratory for Sustainable Energy and Advanced Materials (SEAM Lab) has demonstrated expertise in the areas of alternative fuels, coal and biomass utilization, hydrogen technology, waste and drinking water treatment processes, polymerization and material compatibilization, supercritical fluid technology, and chemical process engineering and design. The laboratory is engaged in alternative clean liquid fuel synthesis via single stage dimethylether, waterless and sand-free fracking technology, enhanced oil and gas recovery technology, and advanced hydrogen generation using unconventional feedstocks such as crude ethanol beer, crude glycerin, mixed transportation fuels, and more. The laboratory is well equipped with state-of-the-art processing and analytical equipment for energy and environmental research.­ For more details, please visit our website at http://www.ohio.edu/people/lees1/altfuels.html.

Tags: Energy,Shale,Water

Report Measures Local Pre-Fracking Baseline Water Quality

In Eastern and Southern Ohio, oil and gas leases are rapidly being signed for drilling in the Utica Shale. In order to quantify impacts of shale gas exploration, baseline environmental conditions must first be measured. With start-up funding from Ohio University and The Sugar Bush Foundation, the Voinovich School partnered with OU's Institute for Sustainable Energy and the Environment Laboratory (ISEE), The Sugar Bush Foundation, and the Ohio Environmental Protection Agency to conduct a regional shallow aquifer groundwater study. This study measured baseline water quality parameters prior to the commencement of controversial high-volume horizontal hydraulic fracturing drilling activities in and around Athens and Belmont Counties in Ohio.

Findings: The baseline establishment suggests that there is not widespread organic groundwater pollution in Athens and Belmont Counties, despite a long history of coal mining and oil and gas extraction. This information will assist rural landowners, elected officials and regulators to learn more about the complex issues surrounding hydraulic fracturing, especially as it relates to local water resources. Read the 2013 final report here.

Tags: Shale,Water