I regularly advise 6-10 Master and PhD students in environmental engineering. In addition, I usually work with 2-4 undergraduate students who are helping graduate students or pursuing their own research. Undergraduate students are welcome at any stage of research experience, as long as you have an interest in water research! My goals are to help the student develop and understand their research interests, advise the student in their desired career path, and lead the student to appropriate professional development resources. In addition to research, I work with a team of undergraduate and graduate students for K-12 STEM education outreach: Tech Trekker and SISTEM.
Dr. Erica Marti’s main research interests are in water and wastewater treatment, especially in the area of transforming wastewater for a beneficial reuse (drinking water, irrigation water, etc.). Past work has included understanding the formation of unregulated disinfection byproducts (DBPs) and investigating different methods to prevent their formation. DBPs are created when water is disinfected with chemical oxidants like different forms of chlorine and ozone. We use the chemicals to inactivate pathogens (bacteria, viruses, etc.) but the chemicals can react with other dissolved organics and inorganics to create unwanted byproducts, some of which are toxic. Therefore, water treatment professionals must work carefully to provide the right amount of oxidant for disinfection while minimizing DBPs.
Future research topics include remediation of polluted groundwater, adsorption of heavy metals from wastewater using biochar made from agricultural waste products, uptake of DBPs in plants grown using treated wastewater, and optimizing toxicity assays for DBPs.
Dr. Marti also conducts research in the area of STEM education and has led several Teacher Professional Development programs for integrated STEM lessons and engineering design.