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Dr. John Cherry and Dr. Robert Gillham

World-renowned researchers discover groundwater contamination solutions

Waterloo's “dynamic duo” for solving groundwater contamination problems are Earth Sciences professors Dr. John Cherry and Dr. Robert Gillham of the Waterloo Institute for Groundwater Research. Among their many honours is the Royal Society of Canada's Miroslaw Romanowski Medal for significant contributions to resolving environmental problems and improving the quality of ecosystems through science. A specialty is chlorinated solvent contamination of groundwater. Dr. Cherry, holder of the NSERC Chair in Contaminant Hydrogeology, has made significant contributions in new approaches including sealable-joint steel sheet pile cells, called the Waterloo Barrier, to control and clean up solvent contamination. His “Waterloo System” is used to obtain groundwater samples, hydraulic head and permeability measurements from discretely isolated zones in a single borehole. Gillham conducted pioneering research on reactive iron technology to control solvent contamination with minimal long-term cost and maximum water conservation.