My research interests are in the area of solid waste engineering with a specific emphasis on (1) biological and chemical processes in landfills and (2) the use life-cycle analysis to evaluate the economic and environmental performance of integrated solid waste management systems.
Biological, chemical and physical processes all affect the decomposition of municipal solid waste (MSW) in landfills as well as the behavior of trace waste components such as organics and metals. I am interested in all aspects of solid waste behavior in landfills and conduct research that ranges from fundamental studies of the microbial ecology of landfills to more applied studies on the effect of various industrial wastes on refuse decomposition and gas generation. Current research is focused on factors that contribute to the generation and accumulation of heat in landfills and the microbial ecology of anaerobic digestors during food waste decomposition.
I collaborate with Dr. Ranji Ranjithan in our department on research to identify optimal strategies for solid waste management in consideration of cost, energy consumption and environmental emissions using life-cycle analysis. Our team developed the Municipal Solid Waste Decision Support Tool (MSW-DST) in the late 1990s and, more recently, the Solid Waste Optimization Life-cycle Framework (SWOLF) in 2012. The foundation of our life-cycle tools is a set of process models that describe each aspect of the solid waste system from waste generation through collection, separation, recycling, combustion, biological treatment and landfill disposal. SWOLF has the capability to consider future changes to the solid waste system such as increased costs for energy, limits on greenhouse gas emissions and higher landfill diversion targets.
Ph.D. Civil and Environmental Engineering Univ. of Wisconsin - Madison 1988
M.S. Civil and Environmental Engineering Univ. of Wisconsin - Madison 1985
B.S. Chemical Engineering Univ. of Michigan - Ann Arbor 1978
Area(s) of Expertise
Chemical and biological processes as they apply to decomposition in landfills,
the application of life-cycle analysis to solid waste management
- Landfill Codisposal of On-Site Vegetation and Coal Combustion Residuals: Implications for Gas Management , ACS ES&T ENGINEERING (2023)
- Neutral Per- and Polyfluoroalkyl Substances in In Situ Landfill Gas by Thermal Desorption-Gas Chromatography-Mass Spectrometry , ENVIRONMENTAL SCIENCE & TECHNOLOGY LETTERS (2023)
- Target and Suspect Screening Integrated with Machine Learning to Discover Per- and Polyfluoroalkyl Substance Source Fingerprints , Environmental Science & Technology (2023)
- Influence of Inoculum Type on Volatile Fatty Acid and Methane Production in Short-Term Anaerobic Food Waste Digestion Tests , ACS SUSTAINABLE CHEMISTRY & ENGINEERING (2022)
- Per- and Polyfluoroalkyl Substances (PFAS) in Facemasks: Potential Source of Human Exposure to PFAS with Implications for Disposal to Landfills , ENVIRONMENTAL SCIENCE & TECHNOLOGY LETTERS (2022)
- Critical review on PFOA, kidney cancer, and testicular cancer , JOURNAL OF THE AIR & WASTE MANAGEMENT ASSOCIATION (2021)
- Development of Streamlined Life-Cycle Assessment for the Solid Waste Management System , Environmental Science & Technology (2021)
- Evidence of thermophilic waste decomposition at a landfill exhibiting elevated temperature regions , Waste Management (2021)
- Life-Cycle Assessment of a Regulatory Compliant US Municipal Solid Waste Landfill , ENVIRONMENTAL SCIENCE & TECHNOLOGY (2021)
- Measurement of heat release during hydration and carbonation of ash disposed in landfills using an isothermal calorimeter , Waste Management (2021)