Research Expertise and Interest
fate and transport of and transformation of chemicals in the aquatic environment, water reuse and water recycling, urban water infrastructure, engineered treatment wetlands
Professor Sedlak's research focuses on fate of chemical contaminants, with the long-term goal of developing cost-effective, safe, and sustainable systems to manage water resources. He is particularly interested in the development of local sources of water. His research has addressed water reuse--the practice of using municipal wastewater effluent to sustain aquatic ecosystems and augment drinking water supplies--as well as the treatment and use of urban runoff to contaminated groundwater form contaminated industrial sites as water supplies.
In recent years, his research on the fate of wastewater-derived contaminants has received considerable attention. He began this research in 1996 when he developed simple methods for measuring steroid hormones in wastewater. Since that time, he and his students have studied the fate of hormones, pharmaceuticals, toxic disinfection byproducts and other chemicals. His research team has also studied approaches for remediating contaminated soil and groundwater by in situ chemical oxidation (ISCO) and advanced oxidation processes.
Currently, his research group focuses on topics including:
-The use of engineered treatment wetlands to remove chemical from effluent-impacted waters
-The fate, transport and transformation of poly- and perfluorinated substances (PFAS)
-Development of distributed systems for water treatment
-Management of brines produced by desalination systems
In addition to his laboratory and field research, Sedlak is interested in the developing new approaches for managing the urban water cycle. He pursues these efforts through research coordinated through the National Science Foundation's Engineering Research Center for Reinventing the Nation's Urban Water Insfrastructure (ReNUWIt), the National Alliance for Water Innovation (NAWI) and the Berkeley Water Center. He also is the author of "Water 4.0", a book that examines the ways in which we can gain insight into current water issues by understanding the history of urban water systems.