GLIER Researcher Uses Her Muscles to Combat Pollution

Sara Butler

An Environmental Science Masters student and GLIER Researcher in the Weisner Lab is using her degree and experience to undo the damage done by the coal mines in New Zealand. 

Through a $15 000 MITACS Global Link grant, Sara Butler was able to take her research work abroad to work with a private company in New Zealand to identify and implement water treatment options. Coal mines in New Zealand are notorious for releasing many harmful contaminents into the downstream water supply which threatens local tourism and more importantly, Indigenous life in the area.

The use of a bi-reactor and muscle shells creates a sediment or "sludge" layer that can be used to creation a reaction that raises the pH balance of the water by generating a helpful bacteria. Sara aims to research how to increase the longevity of this treatment plan to continue restoring this polluted water withouit causing more problems.

Sara cites the University of Windsor's strong connections to industry both domestically and aboard as a main draw for the pursuit of a graduate degree at Windsor. She plans to continue her work private sector work after graduation to obtain additional work experience.