7, 2002, Gazette)
by Chris Hammond
Dr. Tahir Husain
A new research contract with Saudi Arabian Mining Company (MAADEN)
will go a long way in further strengthening the Faculty of Engineerings
commitment to international collaboration and technology transfer. The
contract, signed on Dec. 19 by the Office of Research and Dr. Tahir Husain,
project manager and principal investigator, involves developing risk-based
remediation technology for a contaminated site.
This is the second research contract that Dr. Husain has received for
work in this area. The first, signed in January 2000 with Saudi Aramco,
is a three-year study on the development of risk-based software for the
remediation of hydrocarbon contaminated sites.
This is a significant achievement for Memorial Universitys
Faculty of Engineering, said Dr. Husain on the acquisition of this
new project. We have the opportunity to work on a project that crosses
over into many disciplines and many areas of expertise. The possibility
for future collaboration on a more detailed investigation into remediation
technologies is certainly present.
The project, officially titled Contaminant Transport Modelling using Visual
Modflow Pump and Treat Method, involves developing a cost-effective
solution to treat contaminated ground water, identifying physical and
chemical methods to contain pollutants within the source and conducting
a detailed engineering and economic analysis of the selected treatment
The first step will be to examine the movement of contaminants.
Then we can look at ground water modelling, said Dr. Husain. There
are many steps involved. We need to develop a contaminant transport model,
but first we need to identify the potential source and understand the
mechanism of movement of contaminants in the soil and groundwater.
Because this Saudi Arabian mining company is well recognized for
its efficient and effective exploration, development and operations, and
also well respected and very conscious of handling issues related to health,
safety, and environmental protection, the company has been collecting
data for a number of years at the site. Consequently, there is a lot of
essential start-up information available.
Using MODFLOW, a groundwater modelling package used to simulate a wide
variety of groundwater flow systems, and MT3D, a comprehensive three-dimensional
solute transport model, the transport of contaminants for different pumping
and recharge scenarios can be evaluated.
Various commercially available technologies will be reviewed and
the one most appropriate to site-specific situations will be selected
for analysis, added Dr. Husain. This will then be integrated
with the contaminant transport modelling to assess the effectiveness in
site remediation, and also to estimate the cost, and identify challenges
associated with the implementation of such a plan.
Since coming to Memorial University in 1995, Dr. Husain has been largely
responsible for establishing a master of applied science in environmental
engineering, and graduating about 60 students from this program. Dr. Husain
is also very active in supervising a group of students for M. Eng. and
PhD work with a focus on risk-based design in offshore oil and gas industries
and ecological and human health risk assessment. He has also been successful
in attracting students to the advanced diploma program in environmental
engineering. These academic and professional training programs, along
with applied research contracts, are just the beginning of what Memorial
University has to offer the industrial environmental sector, locally,
nationally and internationally.