Jacqueline Wong. Environmental Engineering – Undergraduate Research
Title: Exploring the use of biochar to remove target pesticides from drinking water in Honduras
Mentor: Professor Damian E. Helbling, Civil and Environmental Engineering
Widespread unregulated use of pesticides in farming practices poses a public health concern in Honduras. This project aims to investigate how biochar can be used as a low-cost alternative to granular activated carbon as an adsorbent for pesticides in water treatment plants in Honduras. A list of pesticides were prioritized based on previously collected water samples and computational toxicology analysis. Absorbance-to-concentration calibration curves were created to identify which pesticides are more easily detected using a spectrophotometer. Atrazine, 2,4-D and paraquat were eventually selected to represent neutral, negatively charged and positively charged pesticides for isotherm experiments with different biochars.