Brewster Conant Jr

Brewster Conant Jr
Continuing Lecturer, Physical and contaminant hydrogeology
Location: EIT 2023
Phone: 519-888-4567 x37234


Brewster Conant, Jr. studies physical and contaminant hydrogeology. His primary interests are in groundwater–surface-water interactions and using innovative methods to determine conditions and fluxes at the interface.

Dr. Conant is also committed to improving undergraduate learning and teaching as well as professional training. He served as the department's first Teaching Fellow and created an Earth science communications course adopted by other UW departments

Research Interests

  • Groundwater-surface water interactions (streams, rivers, lakes)
  • Temperature-as-a-tracer techniques (especially thermal infrared survey methods) for determining groundwater discharges to surface water
  • Groundwater flow and contaminant transport
  • Field instrumentation and monitoring techniques for hydrogeological and hydrological studies
  • Assessing the effectiveness of agricultural best management practices on groundwater quality

Scholarly Research

Brewster Conant's research interests center on physical and contaminant hydrogeology, field-based investigations, and the development of field monitoring techniques and instrumentation. His primary interest is in the investigation of groundwater/surface-water interactions in rivers, streams, and lakes and the examination of groundwater flow and the transport and fate processes affecting contaminants (e.g., chlorinated solvents, nutrients and organic compounds) that pass through the interface. Recent work has focused on developing temperature-as-a-tracer techniques (especially thermal infrared surveys) to characterize groundwater discharge to surface waters and diffusion samplers to determine concentrations at the groundwater surface water interface. His long-term goals are to develop rapid, inexpensive, and practical site characterization tools and monitoring approaches that will assist in determining the ecological and human impacts of contaminated groundwater discharging into surface waters and improve decisions with respect to remedial actions. His research interests also includes assessing the effectiveness of agricultural best management practices on groundwater quality; watershed monitoring and hydrology; and wellhead protection.


  • 2001, Doctorate Earth Sciences, University of Waterloo, Canada
  • 1991, Master of Science Earth Sciences, University of Waterloo, Canada
  • 1984, Bachelor of Science (BSc) Geology-Physics/Mathematics, Brown University, Providence RI, United States


  • 2012-2015 Faculty of Science Teaching Fellow
  • 2011 Nominated by Region 5 for the national U.S. Environmental Protection Agency Office of Solid Waste and Emergency Response National Notable Achievement Award
  • 1999 Ontario Graduate Scholarship in Science and Technology
  • 1998 Outstanding Student Paper Award. American Geophysical Union, Spring Meeting

Professional Associations

  • Association of Professional Geoscientists of Ontario (APGO)
  • Geological Society of America (GSA)
  • American Geophysical Union (AGU)
  • National Ground Water Association (NGWA)

Affiliations and Volunteer Work

  • Member, The Water Institute

Selected/Recent Publications

  • Wiebe, A.J., B. Conant Jr., D.L. Rudolph, and K. Korkka-Niemi, 2015. An approach to improve direct runoff estimates and reduce uncertainty in the calculated groundwater component in water balances of large lakes. Journal of Hydrology, v 531, p. 655-670. DOI: 10.1016/j.jhydrol.2015.10.061
  • Frey, S.K., D.L. Rudolph, and B. Conant Jr., 2012. Bromide and chloride tracer movement in macroporous tile drained agricultural soil during an annual climatic cycle. Journal of Hydrology, v 460-461, p. 77-89.
  • Brookfield, A, E. Sudicky, Y-J Park, and B. Conant Jr., 2009. Thermal transport modelling in a fully-integrated surface/subsurface framework. Hydrological Processes, v. 23, no. 15, p. 2150 - 2164
  • Schmidt, C., B. Conant Jr., M.Bayer-Raich, and M. Schirmer, 2007. Evaluation and field-scale application of an analytical method to quantify groundwater discharge using mapped streambed temperatures, Journal of Hydrology, v 347, no. 3-4, p. 292-307. (doi:10.1016/j.jhydrol.2007.08.022)
  • Conant Jr., B., J.A. Cherry, and R.W. Gillham, 2004. A PCE groundwater plume discharging to a river: Influence of the streambed and near-river zone on contaminant distributions. Journal of Contaminant Hydrology, v. 73, no. 1-4, 238-279.
  • Conant Jr., B., 2004. Delineating and quantifying ground-water discharge zones using streambed temperatures, Ground Water, v 42, no. 2, p. 243-257.
  • Conant Jr., B, S. Danielescu, H. Reeves, P. Coulibaly (2015, in review/public comment). Chapter 2: Groundwater-surface water interactions (GWSWI), in " Groundwater science relevant to the Great Lakes Water Quality Agreement: A status report." Prepared for the Great Lakes Executive Committee by the Annex 8 Subcommittee (under the Great Lakes Water Quality Agreement). p. 6-15.
  • Conant Jr., B., J.W. Roy, J. Patzke, C. Smith, L. Nicks (2015, in review/public comment). Chapter 3: Groundwater and Contaminants in the Great Lakes, in " Groundwater science relevant to the Great Lakes Water Quality Agreement: A status report." Prepared for the Great Lakes Executive Committee by the Annex 8 Subcommittee (under the Great Lakes Water Quality Agreement). p. 16-29. presentations in the field of teaching
  • Conant Jr., B., J. Jewinski, and J. Williams, 2015. A Course Template for Integrating Chinese Dual-Degree Students into a Science Program and Enhancing Their Communication Skills. The Western Conference on Science Education, University of Western Ontario, London, Ontario, July 7-10, 2015. (presenter)
  • Conant Jr., B., J. Witt, C. Bissonnette, R. Jayasundera, and W-K Liu ,2015. Challenges Associated With High School Students Transitioning to University Science – The View From Both Sides. University of Waterloo’s Opportunities and New Directions (OND) Teaching and Learning Conference, Waterloo, Ontario, April 30, 2015. (presenter)

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