Neil Thomson

Adjunct Professor
Neil Thomson

Contact information

Biography summary

Dr. Thomson is a Professor of Civil and Environmental Engineering, Director of the Soil and Groundwater Remediation Engineering Group, and a member of the Environmental and Water Resources Engineering Research Group and The Water Institute at the University of Waterloo. He was Chair of the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering from 2008 to 2016.

Dr. Thomson has over 30 years of research experience in the use of field investigations, laboratory experiments, and numerical models to explore subsurface contaminant fate and remediation issues. Current research topics include emerging soil and groundwater remediation technologies, petroleum hydrocarbons and polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons, chemical oxidants, functional nanoparticles, electrokinetics, high resolution monitoring, isotopes and biomarkers, delivery methods, site characterization, and physical model and comprehensive pilot-scale studies.

Dr. Thomson is currently the Editor-in-Chief of Groundwater Monitoring & Remediation, a National Ground Water Association publication.

In 2018, 2014 and 2005 he received an Outstanding Performance Award from the University of Waterloo for outstanding performance in teaching and scholarship. In 2008 he was awarded the Faculty of Engineering Distinguished Performance Award for his outstanding contribution in teaching, scholarship and service. In 1999 he was awarded the Sir Sanford Fleming Teaching Excellence Award for recognition of an exemplary record of outstanding teaching, concern for students and a commitment to the development and enrichment of engineering education at Waterloo.

He provides expert technical assistance on topics that include conceptual site model development; groundwater flow and fate analysis; and remedial alternative selection, design, and monitoring.

Research interests

  • Hydrogeology
  • Groundwater and Soil Contamination
  • Brownfields
  • Contaminant Fate and Transport
  • Non-Aqueous Phase Liquids
  • Remediation Engineering
  • Modelling
  • Laboratory Experiments
  • Pilot-Scale Investigations


  • 1986, Doctorate, PhD, University of Waterloo
  • 1982, Master's, MASc, University of Toronto
  • 1981, Bachelor's, BASc, University of Waterloo


  • ENVE 573 - Contaminant Transport
    • Taught in 2019, 2021

* Only courses taught in the past 5 years are displayed.

Selected/recent publications

  • Cho, M.S., F. Solano, N.R. Thomson, M.G. Trefry, D.R. Lester, G. Metcalfe, Field trials of chaotic advection to enhance reagent delivery, Groundwater Monit R., 39(3), 2019, 23 - 39
  • Linley, S., A. Holmes, T. Leshuk, W. Nafo, A. Al-Mayah, N.R. Thomson, K. McVey, K. Sra, F. Gu, Targeted nanoparticle binding & detection in petroleum hydrocarbon impacted porous media, Chemosphere, 215, 2019, 353 - 361
  • Shafieiyoun, S., N.R. Thomson, The role of intra-NAPL diffusion on mass transfer from multi-component NAPLs, Journal of Contaminant Hydrology, 213, 2018, 49 - 61
  • Wei, Y., N.R. Thomson, R. Aravena, M. Marchesi, J.F. Barker, E.L. Madsen, R. Kolhatkar, T. Buscheck, D. Hunkeler, C.M. DeRito, Infiltration of sulfate to enhance sulfate-reducing biodegradation of petroleum hydrocarbons., Groundwater Monit R., 38(4), 2018, 73 - 87
  • Shayan, M., N.R. Thomson, R. Aravena, J.F. Barker, E.L. Madsen, T. Buscheck, R. Kolhatkar, E.J. Daniels, Integrated plume treatment using persulfate coupled with microbial sulfate reduction, Groundwater Monit R., 38(4), 2018, 45 - 61

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