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Environmental Engineering Laboratory

The Environmental Engineering Laboratories in the Department of Civil, Construction, and Environmental Engineering at NCSU provide excellent research facilities. We have over 5,000 square feet of laboratory space including special areas and equipment for bench and pilot-scale research on water and wastewater treatment, contaminant transport and site remediation, refuse decomposition, anaerobic microbiology, analytical chemistry, and applied molecular microbial ecology. The laboratory is supervised by a full-time manager.

We routinely analyze for a variety of organic and inorganic parameters including disinfection byproducts; taste and odor compounds in drinking water; volatile organic compounds such as benzene, toluene, ethylbenzene, and xylene (BTEX), other substituted benzenes, and chlorinated aliphatics; phenols and cresols; sugars (glucose, xylose, mannose, arabinose, and galactose); methane at both high (>1%) and low ppm concentrations; COD and BOD; dissolved and solid phase Fe; anions including perchlorate; and redox potential. Specialized equipment in the laboratory includes:

  • 1 Agilent 7890/7010 triple-quadrupole gas chromatograph-tandem mass spectrometer (GC-MS/MS) equipped with a CombiPAL liquid, headspace, and SPME autosampler as well as with a purge and trap autosampler;
  • 1 Varian ion-trap GC-MSn equipped with a purge and trap autosampler;
  • 5 GCs equipped with thermal conductivity, flame ionization, flame photometric, photoionization, and electron capture detectors; the GCs are equipped with purge and trap, headspace, or liquid autosamplers;
  • 3 HPLCs equipped with conductivity, UV-vis, diode array and electrochemical detectors, autosamplers, and a fraction collector;
  • 2 TOC analyzers;
  • A Perkin-Elmer Tricarb 2800TR Liquid Scintillation Analyzer;
  • A gas adsorption analyzer for the characterization of porous materials;
  • 2 anaerobic chambers;
  • gassing stations for preparation of anaerobic culture media;
  • A refuse shredder (10 hp);
  • A Wiley mill for fine shredding of refuse samples;
  • Refrigeration for sample storage;
  • 3 walk-in temperature control rooms, operated at 4 and 38°C; and
  • A steam-fed autoclave.

In addition, the laboratory is well equipped with refrigeration, incubators, water baths, fume hoods, balances, pH meters, COD digesters, drying ovens, a muffle furnace, and other standard equipment.

We also have all the necessary equipment for molecular microbial ecology research. The Environmental Engineering Laboratories are equipped with the equipment needed for nucleic acid extraction and hybridization, assorted gel electrophoresis equipment and power supplies, including a BioRad GelDoc gel documentation system, a BioRad denaturing gradient gel electrophoresis (DGGE) setup, floor, benchtop and microcentrifuges, hybridization equipment, temperature controlled water baths, two gradient thermocyclers (BioRad and Eppendorf), a BioRad iQ5 real-time quantitative PCR machine, a NanoDrop spectrophotometer, UV transilluminator, a Dark Reader, -80° and -20°C freezers, a PCR hood, a laminar flow hood, respirometers, chemostats, temperature-controlled floor and benchtop shakers, and isotope handling equipment.

We have a Nikon Optiphot system capable of brightfield, phase contrast, epifluorescence, and Nomarski DIC microscopy. This microscope is equipped with a scientific-grade Charge Couple Device (CCD) camera system (Sensys, Photometrics) and a state-of-the-art image analysis system for quantitative FISH (Metamorph, Universal Imaging Corp.). We have access to a PhosphorImager and an InstantImager through the NCSU Biotechnology Program. In addition, we have access to a fully equipped central microscopy suite and image analysis facility (Cellular and Molecular Imaging Facility), and a central DNA synthesis facility at the University. The microscopy suite includes a confocal scanning laser microscope and several upright and inverted microscopes equipped with an array of CCD cameras.