Project Info

Rapid destruction of organic water pollutants of emerging concern by application of hot compressed water

Timothy Strathmann

Project Goals and Description:

Recent advances on measurement techniques has revealed a growing number of organic micropollutants in drinking water sources that threaten human health, including hormones, pharmaceuticals, and hygiene and personal care products. Conventional approaches for removing these chemicals from drinking water are often ineffective. At Mines we have been pioneering a new technology called HALT-Pollutants (Hydrothermal Alkaline Treatment of Pollutants) that applies heat and pressure to water in a way that promotes rapid destruction of many of these pollutants. In this project we want to expand upon our early findings to evaluate the effectiveness of HALT-Pollutants for treatment of a wide range of organic micropollutants of emerging concern. The long-term goal is to integrate this technology into our drinking water and wastewater infrastructure to sustainably produce clean drinking water.

More Information:

Grand Challenge: Provide access to clean water.
More information about the research group, its projects and publications can be found at Additional background information about PFAS “Forever Chemicals” and other water pollutants of emerging concern, and their impact on the environment and human health, can be found at the following news articles: And the motion picture “Dark Waters” starring Mark Ruffalo (Trailer:, which can be streamed on Amazon Prime or other streaming services.

Primary Contacts:

Prof. Timothy Strathmann (

Student Preparation


No prior research experience is required, but general chemistry laboratory experience is needed for this research project. Experience with MS Excel or other spreadsheet software is needed for data analysis.




The MURF fellow will gain valuable research experience, both in terms of specific laboratory environmental chemistry and water quality technology research and in terms of the general research process. This includes formulating a research question and hypotheses, designing experiments to test the hypotheses, analyzing and interpreting results, and preparing and presenting findings from the investigation. Students will gain specific experience with pollution degradation experiments, reaction kinetics analysis, and liquid and ion chromatographic analysis of pollutants.


The student working on this MURF project will receive mentoring from both Prof. Strathmann and PhD students in his group. Day-to-day instruction and feedback will be provided by the graduate student mentor, and both the MURF fellow and PhD student mentor will meet biweekly with Prof. Strathmann to discuss progress, challenges, and plans for the research. The MURF fellow will also be encouraged to attend research group meetings to learn more from other members of the group who will be discussing progress in their research projects.


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