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School of Environmental Science and Engineering Launches Its First Summer Course in US


On August 20, 2016, American Experience in Soil and Groundwater Pollution Prevention and Control, the 2016 summer course offered by School of Environmental Science and Engineering of SUSTech, concluded successfully in Washington, the United States. Under the leadership of Zheng Chunmiao, Professor and Dean of School of Environmental Science and Engineering, eight undergraduates had a preliminary study of the legal framework, investigation and assessment technologies, typical cases and experience of soil and groundwater pollution prevention and control within ten days. They also visited sites of soil and groundwater pollution remediation, research institutes and think tanks specialized in environmental protection.

Students take a group photo beside Lincoln Memorial in Washington

During the summer course, several experienced experts with solid theoretical background, including the founder of SSP&A Stavros Papadopulos, elaborated on the typical cases and basic concepts of soil and groundwater pollution prevention and control. The cases included the disposition of a leaked natural gas storage well, the elimination of arsenic and boron in groundwater, regulations of quarrying activities in the quarries, and the estimation of contaminant plume produced by gas station oil tank leak.

Former CEO Charles Andrews of SSP&A led students to the abandoned site of Sparrows Point Steel Mill at Baltimore. The students made a scene investigation about the mountainous piles of slag, bare and contaminated soil, and polluted water in abandoned basements. The astonishing pollution gave the students the impression that production of heavy industry might cause huge damage to the environment.

Led by experts from SSP&A, the students also paid a field visit to the Potomac Canyon along the famous Billy Boat Trail in Maryland, through which the students learned quite a lot about geology, landform, and hydrology. They also visited Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore, one of the top universities in the world.


Cases explanation by Papadopulos

Explanation of field status by staff


Geological investigation

Led by Dean Zheng Chunmiao, the group visited the United States Congress, Wilson Center as well as the United States Geological Survey, and carried out academic exchanges with related experts. Director Jennifer Turner of the China Environment Program of Wilson Center introduced their concerns and researches on China's environment and energy issues, and had close interactions with the students. Senior groundwater scientist of the United States Geological Survey Ward Sanford, together with his research group, gave the students an informative lecture and showed them the world's leading environmental isotopic laboratory.

Students visit the laboratory of United States Geological Survey

The ten-day observational study not only equipped students with theoretical knowledge, but also expanded their horizons. Such an experience provided the students with a great opportunity for studying and practicing Environmental Science and Engineering.