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
David Blowes develops improved techniques for the prediction, remediation and prevention of groundwater contamination, including metals, metalloids, pathogens, nutrients and emerging contaminants. He employs a wide range of tools including field investigations, laboratory experiments and mathematical modeling to understand the complex behaviour of these systems.
He leads the leads the Groundwater Geochemistry Remediation Group together with Carol Ptacek.
- Behaviour and transport of groundwater contamination, including metals, metalloids, pathogens, nutrients and emerging contaminants in groundwater
- Remediation technologies including permeable reactive barriers
- Monitoring techniques such as non-traditional stable isotopes
- Geochemical processes at mining wastes, including acid rock drainage
- Reactive transport modelling
The long-term goal of my research program is to develop improved techniques for the prediction, remediation and prevention of groundwater contamination derived from mine wastes and other sources of dissolved metals. My research program includes three principal components, studies of the mechanisms of contaminant release, transport and attenuation; development and application of numerical models to describe these processes; and development of new techniques for the prevention and remediation of contaminated groundwater.
Professor Blowes leads the NSERC funded TERRE-CREATE training program in sustainable mining. Please visit the TERRE-CREATE website for upcoming courses and exchange opportunities.
Recent publications include
Shrimpton, HK; Blowes, DW; Ptacek, CJ, 2015. Fractionation of Selenium during Selenate Reduction by Granular Zerovalent Iron. Environ. Sci. Tech. vol. 49: 11688-11696. DOI: 10.1021/acs.est.5b01074.
Jamieson-Hanes, JH; Amos, RT; Blowes, DW; Ptacek, CJ, 2015. Dual Mechanism Conceptual Model for Cr Isotope Fractionation during Reduction by Zerovalent Iron under Saturated Flow Conditions. Environ. Sci. Tech. 49: 5467-5475. DOI: 0.1021/es506223a,
Hussain, SI; Blowes, DW; Ptacek, CJ; Jamieson-Hanes, JH; Wootton, B; Balch, G; Higgins, J, 2015. Mechanisms of Phosphorus Removal in a Pilot-Scale Constructed Wetland/BOF Slag Wastewater Treatment System. Environ. Eng. Sci. 32: 340-352. DOI: 10.1089/ees.2014.0376.
Jamieson-Hanes, JH; Lentz, AM; Amos, RT; Ptacek, CJ; Blowes, DW, 2014. Examination of Cr(VI) treatment by zero-valent iron using in situ, real-time X-ray absorption spectroscopy and Cr isotope measurements. Geochim. Cosmochim. Acta. 142: 299-313. DOI: 10.1016/j.gca.2014.07.031.
Professor Blowes is a co-holder of several patents in Canada and the United States.
Blowes, D.W., Ptacek, C.J., Baker, M., 1996. Treatment of wastewater. G.B. Patent 962338-7, filed November 11, 1996 (issued, 2000); Canada Patent 2,190,038, filed November 11, 1996; U.S. Patent 08,745,734, filed November 12, 1996 (issued, 1999).
Blowes, D.W., Ptacek, C.J., 1996. System for treating contaminated groundwater. Continuation in part. U.S. Patent 5,514,279, filed October 27, 1994, issued May 7, 1996.
Robertson, W.D., Blowes, D.W., Ptacek, C.J, 1994. Treatment of agricultural run-off. U.S. Patent 5,330,651 filed May 8, 1992, issued July 19, 1994; Canada Patent 2,068,283.
Blowes, D.W., Ptacek, C.J., 1994. System for treating contaminated groundwater. U.S. Patent 5,362,394 filed March 3, 1992, issued Nov. 8, 1994; Canada patent 2,062,204, filed March 3, 1992, issued July 7, 1998; European Patent 92103559.8, filed March 2, 1992, allowed, January 2000 (U.K., Germany, France, Italy, Spain, Sweden).
Blowes, D.W., Ptacek, C.J., 1990. Treatment of mine tailings. U.K. patent 2,219,617 filed June 9, 1988, issued August 19, 1992; U.S. patent 4,990,031 filed June 7, 1989, issued February 5, 1991; Canada patent 1,327,027, filed June 7, 1989, issued February 15, 1994.
Awards and Distinctions
- 2016 Outstanding Performance Award, Faculty of Science, University of Waterloo.
- 2015 NSERC Synergy Award for Innovation (Diavik Waste Rock Research Project)
- 2014 NSERC TERRE CREATE (Training toward Environmentally Responsible Resource Extraction)
- 2012 Outstanding Performance Award, Faculty of Science, University of Waterloo.
- Fellow, Geological Society of America, 2006
- Birdsall-Dreiss Distinguished Lectureship, Geological Society of America, 2006
- Japan Society for the Promotion of Science Visiting Scientist Award, 2004
- Canadian Institute for Mining and Metallurgy Distinguished Lecturer, 2004
- Canada Research Chair in Groundwater Remediation, 2001-now (renewed in 2015)
- Ontario Distinguished Researcher Award, 2001
- Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council (NSERC)/Conference Board of Canada, Synergy Award, 1999
- Premiers Research Excellence Award, 1999
- University of Waterloo Senate Award for Achievement in Graduate Studies, 1990
- W.B. Pearson Medal for Creativity in Ph.D. Studies, Faculty of Science, University of Waterloo, 1990
University of Waterloo Affiliations
- The Water Institute
- Waterloo Centre for Microbial Research (member)
Professional Associations and Service
- American Geophysical Union
- Geological Society of America
The following news stories have featured Professor Blowes' research:
February 17, 2015 Waterloo researchers among top in Canada
1990 PhD Earth Sciences, University of Waterloo, Waterloo, ON
1983 MSc Earth Sciences, University of Waterloo, Waterloo, ON
1980 BSc Earth Sciences, University of Waterloo, Waterloo, ON