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Charles J. Werth

Professor, Civil, Architecture, and Environmental Engineering
University of Texas at Austin
301 E. Dean Keeton St., Ernerst J. Cockrell Bldg, Stop C1700
Austin, Texas 78712

(512) 232-1626

Biographical Information

Dr. Charles J. Werth is a Professor and Bettie Margaret Smith Chair of Environmental Health Engineering in the Department of Civil, Architecture, and Environmental Engineering at the University of Texas at Austin. He joined the UT faculty in August or 2014, after spending 17.5 years on the faculty at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.  Dr. Werth's research and teaching focus on the fate and transport of pollutants in the environment, the development of innovative catalytic technologies for drinking water treatment, and the mitigation of environmental impacts associated with energy production and generation.  {C}Dr. Werth is a Wiley Research Fellow at the Department of Energy’s Environmental Molecular Science Laboratory, where he serves on the User Executive Committee.  He also serves on the USEPA's Science Advisory Board Environmental Engineering Committee.  Past recognition includes an Editors Choice Best Paper Award from Environmental Science and Technology (2nd in the category of Technology), recognition for the most cited paper in Journal of Contaminant Hydrology since 2008, a Humbolt Research Fellow Award, a National Science Foundation CAREER Award, and a BP Award for Innovation in Undergraduate Instruction.  Dr. Werth received a B.S. in Mechanical Engineering from Texas A&M University, an M.S. and Ph.D. in Environmental Engineering from Stanford University, and a Ph.D. minor in Chemistry from Stanford University.


Fate and Transport of Pollutants in the Environment

We are developing better approaches to biologically reduce and immobilize uranium in groundwater, with a specific focus on the role of extracellular electron shuttling.  We are quantifying the fate and toxicity of polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbon (PAH) pollutants in an urban watershed, and are especially concerned with the fate of PAHs originating from coal tar sealcoat.   

Development of Innovative Catalytic Technologies for Water Treatment

We are developing new catalytic treatment processes for both direct drinking water treatment of nitrate and perchlorate, and for the treatment of brines from ion exchange resins used to remove nitrate from drinking water.  We are developing new catalysts tailored at the nanoscale to enhance reactivity for nitrate and perchlorate. 

Mitigating the Environmental  Impacts of Energy Production and Generation

We are evaluating the role of reservoir wettability on the migration pathways of supercritical carbon dioxide during geological carbon sequestration.  We are evaluating technologies to mitigate biosouring (i.e., hydrogen sulfide production) during enhanced oil and gas recovery, with the goal of reducing the energy and environmental footprint of energy production. 

Selected Publications

  1. H. Yoon, Leibeling, S., Zhang, C., Mueller, R. H., Werth, C. J., and Zilles, J., “Aptation of Delftia acidovorans for degradation of 2, 4-dichlorophenoxyacetate in a microfluidic porous medium,” Biodegradation, vol. 25, pp. 595–604, 2014.
  2. M. R. Saat, Werth, C. J., Schaeffer, D., Yoon, H., and Barkan, C. P. L., “Environmental risk analysis of hazardous material rail transportation,” J. Haz. Materials, vol. 264, pp. 560–569, 2014.
  3. J. K. Choe, Boyanov, M., Liu, J., Kemner, K., Werth, C. J., and Strathmann, T. J., “X-Ray Spectroscopic Characterization of Immobilized Rhenium Species in Hydrated Rhenium-Palladium Bimetallic Catalysts used for Perchlorate Water Treatment,” J. Phys. Chem., Part C, vol. 118, 2014.
  4. M. Oostrom, Mehmani, Y., Romero-Gomez, P., Tang, Y., Liu, H., Yoon, H., Kang, Q., Joekar-Niasar, V., Balhoff, M. T., Dewers, T., Tartakovsky, G. D., Leist, E. A., Hess, N. J., Perkins, W. A., Rakowski, C. L., Richmond, M. C., and A., J., Pore-scale and continuum simulation of solute transport micromodel benchmark experiments,” Comput. Geosci., vol. 10.1007/s10596-014-9424-0, pp. 1-23, 2014.
  5. H. Liu, Valocci, A., Werth, C. J., Kang, Q., and Oostrom, M., “Pore-scale simulation of liquid C02 displacement of water using a two-phase lattice Boltzmann model,” Advances in Water Resources, vol. 73, pp. 144-158, 2014.
  6. T. Boyd, Yoon, H., Zhang, C., Oostrom, M., Hess, N., Fouke, B., Valocchi, A. J., and Werth, C. J., “The effect of magnesium on calcium carbonate precipitation during reactive transport in a model subsurface pore network,” Geochimica Geocosmica Acta, vol. 135, pp. 321-335, 2014.
  7. Liu, H., A.J. Valocchi, C.J. Werth, Q. Kang, Pore-Scale Simulations of Gas Displacing Liquid in a Homogeneous Micromodel, Trans. Porous Med., In Review, 2013.
  8. Tang, Y., A.J. Valocchi, C.J. Werth, H. Liu, An Improved Pore-scale Biofilm Model and Comparison with a Microfluidic Flow Cell Experiment, Water Resour. Res., In Review, 2013.
  9. Kokkinaki, A., D.M. O'Carroll, C.J. Werth, B.E. Sleep, An evaluation of Sherwood-Gilland models for NAPL dissolution and relation to soil properties, J. Contam. Hydrol., In Review, 2013.
  10. Kokkinaki, A., D.M. O'Carroll, C.J. Werth, B.E. Sleep, Coupled simulation of DNAPL infiltration and dissolution in three dimensional heterogeneous domains: process model validation, Water Resour. Res., Provisionally accepted pending minor revisions, 2013.
  11. Fanizza, M.F., H. Yoon, C. Zhang, M. Oostrom, T.W. Wietsma, N.J. Hess, M.E. Bowden, T.J. Strathmann, K.T. Finneran, C.J. Werth, Pore Scale Evaluation of Uranyl Phosphate Precipitation in a Model Groundwater System, Water Resour. Res., DOI: 10.1002/wrcr.20088, Feb, 2013.
  12. Jun, Y.-S., D.E. Giammar, C.J. Werth, Impacts of Geochemical Reactions on Geologic Carbon Sequestration, Environ. Sci. Technol., Feature Article, 47(1), 3-8, 2013.
  13. Choe, J.K., M.H. Mehnert, J.S. Guest, T.J. Strathmann, C.J. Werth, Comparative Assessment of the Environmental Sustainability of Existing and Emerging Perchlorate Treatment Technologies for Drinking Water, Environ. Sci. Technol., 47(9):4644-4652, 2013.
  14. Shuai, D., D.C. McCalman, J.K. Choe, J.R. Shapley, W.F. Schneider, C.J. Werth, Structure sensitivity study of waterborne contaminant hydrogenation using shape and size-controlled Pd nanoparticles, ACS Catalysis, 3(3), 453-463, DOI: 10.1021/cs300616d, 2013.
  15. Zhang, R., D. Shuai, K.A. Guy, J.R. Shapley, T.J. Strathmann, and C.J. Werth, Elucidation of Nitrate Reduction Mechanisms on a Pd/In Bimetallic Catalyst using Isotope Labeled, Nitrogen Species. ChemCatChem., 5, 313-321, 2013.
  16. Liu, J., J.K. Choe, Z. Sasnow, J.R. Shapley, C.J.Werth, T.J. Strathmann, Application of a Re-Pd bimetallic catalyst for treatment of perchlorate in waste ion-exchange regenerant brine, Water Research, 47, 91-101, 2013.
  17. Guo, Y., W. Li, J. Yan, B. Moosa, M. Amad, C.J. Werth, N.M. Khashab, Fullerene-catalyzed reduction of azo derivatives in water under UV irradiation, Chem. Asian J., 7(12), 2842-2847, DOI: 10.1002/asia.201200701, 2012.
  18. McCalman, D.C., K.H. Kelley, C.J. Werth, J.R. Shapley, W.F. Schneider, Aqueous N2O reduction with H2 over Pd-based catalyst: Mechanistic insights from experiment and simulation, ChemCatChem., 55(5), 300-312, 2012.
  19. Chaplin, B.P., M. Reinhard, W.F. Schneider, C. Schüth, J.R. Shapley, T.J. Strathmann, C.J. Werth, A critical review of Pd-based catalytic treatment of priority contaminants in water, Environ. Sci. Technol., 46, 3655-3670, 2012.
  20. Shuai, D., J.K. Choe, J. Shapley, C.J. Werth, Enhanced Activity and Selectivity of Carbon Nanofiber Supported Pd Catalysts for Nitrite Reduction, Environ. Sci. Technol., 46(5), 2847-2855, 2012.
  21. Yoon, H., A.J. Valocchi, C.J. Werth, T. Dewers, Pore-scale simulation of mixing-induced calcium carbonate precipitation and dissolution in a microfluidic pore network, Water Resour. Res., 48, doi:10.1029/2011WR011192, 2012.
  22. Marruffo, A., H. Yoon, D.J. Schaeffer, C.P.L. Barkan, M.R. Saat, C.J. Werth, NAPL source zone depletion model and its application to railroad-tank-car spills, Groundwater, DOI: 10.1111/j.1745-6584.2011.00863, 2011.
  23. Shuai, D., C. Wang, A. Genc, C.J. Werth, A new geometric method based on two-dimensional transmission electron microscopy for analysis of interior versus exterior Pd loading on hollow carbon nanofibers, J. Phys. Chem. Lett., 2, 1082-1087, 2011.
  24. Yang, Y., B.J. Mahler, P.C. VanMetre, B. Ligouis, C.J. Werth, Potential contributions of asphalt and coal tar to black carbon quantification in urban dust, soils, and sediments, Geochimica et Cosmochimica Acta, 74, 6830-6840, 2010.
  25. Zhang, C., K. Dehoff, N. Hess, M. Oostrom, T.W. Wietsma, A.J. Valocchi, B.W. Fouke, C.J. Werth, Pore-scale study of transverse mixing induced CaCO3 precipitation and permeability reduction in a model subsurface sedimentary system, Environ. Sci. Technol., 44, 7833-7838, 2010.
  26. Zhang, C., Q. Kang, X. Wang, J. Zilles, R.H. Muller, C.J. Werth, Effects of pore-scale heterogeneity and transverse mixing on bacterial growth in porous media, Environ. Sci. Technol., 44, 3085-3092, 2010.
  27. Willingham, T.W., C. Zhang, C.J. Werth, A.J. Valocchi, M. Oostrom, T.W. Wietsma, Using dispersivity values to quantify the effects of pore-scale flow focusing on enhanced reaction along a transverse mixing zone, Adv. Water Resour., 33, 525-535, 2010.
  28. Werth, C.J., C. Zhang, M. Brusseau, M. Oostrom, T. Baumann, A review of non-invasive imaging methods and applications in contaminant hydrogeology research, J. Contam. Hydrol., 113, 1-24, 2010.
  29. Yang, Y., P. Van Metre, B. Mahler, J. Wilson, B. Ligouis, M. Razzaque, D. Schaeffer, C.J. Werth, The Influence of Coal-Tar Sealcoat and Other Carbonaceous Materials on Polycyclic Aromatic Hydrocarbon Loading in an Urban Watershed, Environ. Sci. Technol., 44, 1217-1223, 2010.
  30. Shuai, D., B. Chaplin, J. Shapley, N. Menendez, D. McCalman, W. Schneider, C.J. Werth, Enhancement of Oxyanion and Diatrizoate Reduction Kinetics Using Selected Azo Dyes on Pd-based Catalysts, Environ. Sci. Technol., 44, 1773-1779, 2010.