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Katherine T. Alben, Ph.D.

  • Katherine T. Alben

    Katherine T. Alben, Ph.D.

    • Aquatic Chemistry
    • Assistant Professor, Environmental Health Sciences, School of Public Health, University at Albany

    • Ph.D., Physical Chemistry, Yale University (1976)
    • Postdoctoral training: Washington State Department of Health (1976)
    • Postdoctoral training: Yale University, Engineering and Applied Science (1977)

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

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.

Select Publications

Bridoux, M., Sobiechowska, M., Perez-Fuentetaja, A. and Alben, K. T.
Algal pigments in Lake Erie dreissenids, pseudofeces and sediments, as tracers of diet, selective feeding and bioaccumulation.
Journal of Great Lakes Research.
(2010)
36
(3):
437-447.
Sobiechowska M, Bridouxa M, Ferreirac AHF, Perez-Fuentetajab A, Alben K.
Biomarkers of algal populations in phytoplankton, filamentous algae, and sediments from the eastern basin of Lake Erie 2003-2005.
Journal of Great Lakes Research.
(2010)
36
(2):
298-311.
Bridouxa M, Sobiechowskaa M, Perez-Fuentetajab A, Alben KT.
Algal pigments in Lake Erie dreissenids, pseudofeces and sediments, as tracers of diet, selective feeding and bioaccumulation.
Journal of Great Lakes Research.
(2010)
36
(3):
437-447.
George J, Alben KT.
Characteristics of dissolved organic carbon from trapa natans wetlands and the Hudson River.
Final Reports of the Tibor T. Polgar Fellowship Program 1999.
(1999)
50 pp.
Alben KT, Kaczmarczyk J, Shpirt E, Brezniak D, Kinney D.
Treatment of the Hudson River to Supply Potable Water: Fate of Select Trace Organics. Final Report.
Hudson River Foundation, NY.
(1996)
150 pp.
Alben KT, Shpirt E, Mathevet L, Kaczmarczyk J, Notthakun S, Bhuvendralingam S, Hand D, Crittenden JC.
GAC Adsorption of SOCs Under Dynamic Conditions in Surface Water Treatment. Final Report.
(1995)
375 pp.