Fuel spills are an unfortunate by-product of having a research station down here in Antarctica and it’s one of the many human impacts on the area. The start of my season [in Antarctica] involves retrofitting an old plant and turning it into a treatment facility to strip out the diesel that gets dissolved and emulsified in water.Jack Churchill
Research department: Department of Chemical Engineering
Name of research project: Remediation of contaminated meltwater in remote climates
What is their research about?
Jack Churchill’s research involves the remediation of fuel spills in Casey Station, Antarctica, including a water treatment plant, which uses activated carbon to strip fuel out of contaminated water on the base. His retrofitted water treatment plant has treated more than 150,000 litres of water in 75 days.
In addition, the team has used permeable reactive barriers to capture contaminants in soil and groundwater and stimulate micro-organisms within it to break down the fuel.
The clean water is then able to be discharged into melt-lakes which drain out into the ocean.