Dept of Earth & Environmental Sciences
Centre for Environmental and Information Technology (EIT)
200 University Ave. W
Waterloo, Ontario, Canada N2L 3G1
Phone: (519) 888-4567
Robert Gillham is one of Waterloo's most recognised research scientists in the field of groundwater remediation. His invention of the reactive permeable barrier is used worldwide today.
Through his work, he was named a Fellow of the Royal Society of Canada, Member of the Order of Canada and was awarded both the golden and diamond Queen Elizabeth II Jubilee Medals. In 2001, he was named a Thomson-Reuters Highly Cited Researcher.
- Groundwater flow and transport of contaminants
- Contaminant hydrogeology
- Groundwater–surface water interactions
- Groundwater remediation through a variety of innovative techniques that take advantage of natural conditions in the subsurface
Professor Gillham has made pioneering contributions in the areas of water table response to rainfall, the response of unconfined aquifers to pumping and advection–diffusion processes in contaminant transport. Major contributions concern the transport of contaminants in soils and groundwater, with a particular emphasis on reactive solutes.
For the past two decades his research has focused on groundwater remediation, with a particular emphasis on the use of granular iron for in-situ degradation of halogenated organic contaminants.
This work was funded through a Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council (NSERC) Industrial Research Chair and includes a combination of laboratory, field and mathematical modeling approaches.
In 2001, Professor Gillham was recognized as a Highly Cited Researcher by Thomson-Reuters, ranking within the top one per cent of scientists worldwide for the number of academic citations received within the fields of Ecology/Environment and Engineering.
His most notable publications include
- Jeen, S-W, Lazar, S., Gui, L. and Gillham, R.W., 2014. Degradation of chlorofluorocarbons using granular iron and bimetallic irons. Journal of Contaminant Hydrology 145,
- Jeen, S.-W., Mayer, K. U., Gillham, R.W., and Blowes, D.W. 2007. Reactive Transport Modeling of Trichloroethene Treatment with Declining Reactivity of Iron. Environmental Science and Technology, Vol. 41, No. 1, pp. 1432 – 1438.
- Orth, S. and Gillham, R.W., 1996. Dechlorination of trichloroethene in aqueous solution using Fe. Environ. Sci. and Technol., Vol. 30, No. 1, pp. 66-71.
- Gillham, R.W. and O'Hannesin, S.F., 1994. Enhanced degradation of halogenated aliphatics by zero-valent iron. Ground Water, Vol. 32, No. 6, pp. 958-967.
- Nwankwor, G.I., Gillham, R.W., van der Kamp, G., and Akindunni, F.F., 1992. Saturated and unsaturated flow in response to pumping of an unconfined aquifer, 1. Field evidence of delayed drainage. Ground Water, Vol. 30, No. 5, pp. 690-700.
- Sudicky, E.A., Gillham, R.W., and Frind, E.O., 1985. Experimental investigation of solute transport in stratified porous media, 1. The nonreactive case. Water Resources Research, Vol. 21, No. 7, pp. 1035‑1041.
- Gillham, R.W., 1984. The capillary fringe and its effect on water-table response. Journal of Hydrology, Vol. 67, pp. 307‑324.
Professor Gillham holds six patents in Canada, Australia, Europe and the United States.
Cleaning halogenated contaminants from groundwater. Inventor: R.W. Gillham; Filed: 28 November, 1989; U.K. Patent No. 2 238 533 (January 6, 1993); U.S. Patent No. 5,266,213 (November 30, 1993); Australia Patent No. 654048 (April 22, 1994); European Patent No. 0506684 (February 23, 1996); Patents Pending: Canada and Japan.
System for cleaning contaminated water. Inventor: R.W. Gillham; Filed: 25 April, 1991; Australia Patent No. 659169 (May 11, 1995); U.S. Patent No. 5534154 (July 9, 1996); European Patent No. 0582600 (GB, DK, BE, NL, FR, DE); Patents Pending: Canada and Japan.
System for treating polluted groundwater. Inventor: J.A. Cherry, E.S. Vales and R.W. Gillham; Filed: 23 April, 1992; U.S. Patent No. 5,487,622 (January 30, 1996); European Patent No. 0639157 (GB, FR, DE); Australia Patent No. 666203; Patents Pending: Canada.
Water treatment system. Inventor: R.W. Gillham, R. Focht, P. Bonin and M. Pritzker; Filed: 21 May, 1995; U.S. Patent No. allowed (Issued December 1998); Patents Pending: Canada.
Cleaning contaminants from water. Inventor: R.W. Gillham, M.S. Odziemkowski and S.F. O'Hannesin; Filed: 18 October, 1995; Patents Pending: U.S., Europe, United Kingdom and Canada.
Cleaning contaminated water. Inventor: Fei, Y. and Gillham, R.W.
Awards and Distinctions
2012 Queen Elizabeth II Diamond Jubilee Medal, “for outstanding service to Canada”
2011 Farvolden Lecturer, Department of Earth and Environmental Sciences, University of Waterloo, October
2009 Inductee, Guelph Youth Music Centre, Wall of Fame
2008 Distinguished Professor Emeritus, University of Waterloo
2006 National Groundwater Association, M. King Hubbert Award
2006 University of Waterloo, Award for Excellence in Research
2005 Biographical details listed in the publication American Men and Women of Science
2004 University of Waterloo, Outstanding Service Award
2002 Selected as one of twenty-five Canadian essayists for inclusion in Inno`va-tion: Essays by Leading Canadian Researchers
2002 Queen Elizabeth II Golden Jubilee Medal “for outstanding service to Canada”
2002 Inducted as a Member, Order of Canada
1999 Doctor of Science, Honoris Causa and Convocation Address, University of Guelph
1998 Heiland Lecturer, Colorado School of Mines
1997 Elected Fellow of the Royal Society of Canada
1996 The Royal Society of Canada, Miroslaw Romanowski Medal (with J.A. Cherry) "for significant contributions to the resolution of scientific aspects of environmental problems ..."
1998 Canadian Geotechnical Society, 1988 Thomas Roy Award for excellence in an engineering geology paper.
University of Waterloo Affiliations
- Former Executive Director, The Water Institute
- Former Scientific Director, Waterloo Centre for Groundwater Research
- Former Scientific Director, Canadian Water Network
Professional Associations and Service
Memberships, American Chemical Society, American Geophysical Union, Association of Ground Water Scientists and Engineers, US National Ground Water Association
The following news stories have featured Professor Gillham and his work:
1999 Doctor of Science, Honoris Causa, University of Guelph
1973 PhD University of Illinois, USA
1968 MSc University of Guelph, Guelph, ON
1963 BSA University of Toronto, Toronto, ON