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Investigators and Program Directors

Katherine Alben

Katherine T. Alben

Research Scientist, Wadsworth Center, Environmental Biology
Assistant Professor,School of Public Health, Environmental Health Sciences

Ph.D., Physical Chemistry, Yale University (1976)
Postdoctoral Training: Washington State Dept. Health (1976)
Yale University, Engineering and Applied Science (1977)

E-mail: katherine.alben@health.ny.gov

Research Interests

Chemical analysis is essential in controlling the quality of drinking water, from the source, through treatment and distribution, to the consumer.

Research is conducted on physical-chemical processes which mediate human exposure to organic contaminants in drinking water. Instrumental (GC, MS, HPLC, EDXRF) and computational methods of analysis are developed to evaluate the performance of bench-, pilot-, and full-scale systems for drinking water treatment and distribution. Mass transfer of organic compounds between water and surfaces of porous or solid media (GAC, resins, sediments, coatings) is an area of major interest to understand limitations imposed by environmental conditions, as well as molecular properties.

Pilot-scale experiments have been conducted to investigate GAC adsorption of organic contaminants from drinking water, with partial funding from the American Water Works Association Research Foundation and the Hudson River Foundation. Contaminants that have been studied in these projects include synthetic organics (solvents; pesticides and herbicides; polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons), disinfection byproducts (trihalomethanes; haloacetic acids; aldehydes; TOX) and their natural-product precursors.

Problems of current concern include: nonequilibrium sorption of hydrophobic organic contaminants, such as atrazine; oxidation-reduction of organic compounds on surfaces; improved process-control of disinfection byproducts.

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Contact Information

Phone: (518) 473-0774
Fax: (518) 473-2895
E-mail: katherine.alben@health.ny.gov.