One of the world’s premier facilities for environmental contamination research, Trent University’s Water Quality Centre (WQC) in Peterborough, Ontario is receiving $6.4mn to reach new horizons for research using high resolution mass spectrometry.
The WQC will receive new investments from the Ontario Ministry of Research and Innovation through the Ontario Research Fund-Research Infrastructure program, and the Government of Canada through the Canada Foundation for Innovation. The Water Quality Centre is also receiving additional support from 14 partner organizations and 20% of the project funding is being provided through private industry support.
The new investments will allow for upgrades and expansions at Trent’s WQC that will facilitate many internal and external research projects, resulting in environmental pollution reduction and a better understanding of the fate and impact of aquatic pollutants. It will also provide specialized training for environmental scientists.
New WQC projects enabled by the funding include fingerprinting materials via their trace element composition; generating forensic evidence of the sources and fate of contaminants in the environment; and measuring radioactive elements in the environment quickly and accurately. The new equipment will be also used to determine emerging contaminants and identify their degradation products, and to measure the response of organisms to chemical stress by analyzing changes in the distribution of their proteins and other biomolecules.
In partnership with the Centre for Alternative Wastewater Treatment (CAWT) at Fleming College in Cobourg, Ontario, wastewater treatment procedures for the resource and mining sectors will be developed and optimized, in order to reduce environmental contamination arising from these industrial processes effectively and cost-effectively. Similarly, treatment technologies developed through the WQC/CAWT collaboration will help protect the drinking water of rural and remote communities.
In addition to the improved environmental quality and the reduced cost of wastewater treatment and environmental clean-up, the proposed research and infrastructure will also benefit Ontario and Canada by training a large number of highly qualified personnel. These new professionals will strengthen the workforce in industry, government and academia with their specialized knowledge and experience in instrumental analysis and aquatic sciences after their graduation.
Dedicated to the development and application of innovative new techniques for the analysis of organic and inorganic contaminants at the isotopic, elemental and molecular scale, Trent University’s Water Quality Centre is a multidisciplinary facility that utilizes state-of-the-art instrumentation. The focus of the Centre is the determination of trace quantities of inorganic and organic substances in aquatic environments.
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