I am an environmental chemist
and am particularly interested in how sunlight breaks down harmful contaminants
in the environment. Indeed, the major objective of this project is to highlight
the importance of sunlight (i.e. “photochemistry”) in preventing the buildup of
harmful pollutants in surface waters. To do so, I intend to write two chapters
for books that are in development. One will address broadly the role of
photochemistry in the breakdown of aquatic pollutants. This chapter will
provide a broad overview of the many different photochemical reaction pathways
by which pollutants degrade. The target audience of this book will mostly be
environmental engineers in academic and municipal settings. The chapter will be
written as a primer on the topic of aquatic photochemistry to those who are not
experts in that field. The second chapter will narrow the focus to a particular
reactive species, singlet oxygen, that is produced in sunlit surface waters.
The target audience for this chapter will have a high level of expertise in
environmental science and/or photochemistry. This chapter will trade the
significant breadth of the other chapter for much more depth. The production,
decay, and reactivity of singlet oxygen will be presented in detail. Issues of
environmental justice and sustainability are intimately tied to this project.
The book chapters that will result from this project will be useful to
scientists and engineers in the design of effective water and wastewater
treatment technologies and in prioritizing which surface water contaminants may
warrant more scrutiny.