Drinking Water Quality Group

Have you ever opened your faucet and seen water flow out of your tap that has a bad taste or smell or appearance? Have you ever wondered why the water flowing from your tap is sometimes of such poor quality? The Drinking Water Quality Group at Queen’s University is focused on examining the factors and mechanisms that lead to poor water quality in drinking water systems and on developing innovative technologies and best practices to protect drinking water in Canadian systems.

Drinking Water Quality Group at Queen's University

  • Harmful algal bloom remediation and biotoxicity reduction
  • Treatment technology development for emerging contaminants in water
  • Synchrontron radiation-based techniques exploration and environmental applications

Funded by an NSERC Alliance of $450K, the Drinking Water Quality Group at Queen's University and the City of Calgary are partnering to develop a risk assessment and mitigation framework to assist Canadian municipalities to assess water quality risk and optimize operation and maintenance strategies to protect DWDS quality. This framework will be used to identify factors that drive metal accumulation and water quality risks, examine mechanisms that lead to the accumulation/release of metals, optimize unidirectional flushing operations to prevent water quality problems, and develop a data-driven machine-learning tool to predict water quality risks and assist Canadian municipalities in planning their system operations and maintenance strategies.

Scientific Directors

Dr. Yves Filion

Dr. Yves Filion is a professor in the Department of Civil Engineering and a member of the Beaty Water Research Centre. His research focuses on water quality and hydraulic interactions in drinking water distribution...

More about Dr. FIlion

Dr. Sarah Jane Payne

Dr. Payne is a new faculty member in Civil Engineering and is currently developing a drinking water research program. She is fascinated by the intersection of environment, public health and engineering. Dr. Payne...

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Dr. Xiaying Xin

Dr. Xin is a new faculty member in Civil Engineering. Her research focuses on drinking water treatment strategies, environmental impact assessment, and risk management. Dr. Xin...

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Research Facilities

Drinking Water Distribution Laboratory

Drinking Water Distribution Laboratory

The Drinking Water Distribution Lab (DWDL) which is a unique research facility in North America that can replicate the full hydraulic, physico-chemical, and microbiological conditions of real distribution systems in a fully-controlled environment. Current research in the DWDL is examining the hydrodynamic and microbial factors that explain the adherence of metals (Fe, Mn) to the pipe substrate comprised of cellular and extra-cellular components. 


Environmental Engineering Laboratories

The Environmental Engineering Laboratories in Mitchell Hall at Queen’s comprise 10,000 square feet of state-of-the-art water research space that include capabilities such as high-performance liquid chromatography, quantitative Polymerase Chain Reaction molecular techniques, brightfield and fluorescence microscopy, ATP and other molecular monitoring for drinking water research.


The Drinking Water Quality Group is currently seeking talented graduate students and post-doctoral candidates with a strong background in environmental chemistry, aquatic chemistry, analytical chemistry, microbiology, and drinking water quality to work in the areas of water quality in distribution systems, drinking water discolouration, premise plumbing water quality, antimicrobial and metals resistance in drinking water biofilms, harmful algal bloom remediation, and emerging contaminant treatment.

For more information contact Drs. Yves Filion (yves.filion@queensu.ca), Sarah Jane Payne (sarahjane.payne@queensu.ca), and Xiaying Xin (x.xin@queensu.ca).