Primary InvestigatorBrandy Toner
Co-Investigators: Cody Sheik and Brandy Stewart (Postdoctoral Scholar)
Industry Partners: American Peat Technology, Diamond Chrome Plating Inc., and Global Minerals Engineering, LLC.
Award Type: Seed Grant – Postdoctoral Research Scholar

Problem: Industrial stormwater can require expensive treatment to remove environmentally hazardous materials including heavy metal contaminants. Businesses continually look for cheaper and more efficient treatment products to meet their needs.

Solution: Peat-based systems surpassed initial expectations, especially in removing chromium (Cr) from stormwater. Yet, we know little about why peat is so effective. Toner’s team will analyze both the microbial communities and chemical state of chromium in peat filtration systems operating at Diamond Chrome Plating’s Michigan facility. Their analysis will shed light on the role microbial communities and chemistry play in Cr filtration in order to maximize the efficiency of the treatment system at Diamond Chrome. 

Impact: Identifying the role of microbial communities within peat-based filters may help optimize new microbe-based filtration systems. High efficiency, low-cost, and low-maintenance filtration systems targeting chromium and other heavy metals would be valuable across Minnesota given the abundance of heavy metal contaminated waterways throughout the state.

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