Geological Science and Engineering

Geological Sciences and Geological Engineering
Geological Sciences and Geological Engineering

Bas Vriens

Office Miller Hall 219
Phone 613-533-6185



I am an environmental engineer and earth system scientist by training and interested in the sources, behavior and environmental footprints of (trace) metals in large-scale waste streams. The main goal of my research is to quantify the environmental impacts of these anthropogenic pollutants by studying their occurrence and transport and transformation processes in natural and industrial context. I use an interdisciplinary combination of concepts from environmental (bio)geochemistry, hydrology, analytical chemistry, civil and environmental engineering, et cetera. 

Supervising Information

I am actively recruiting students to join the newly established Geo-Environmental Engineering group at Queen's and all interested students are encouraged to contact me directly.

Research Interests/Current Research

My current research is focused on the budgeting of anthropogenic trace metal releases into surface waters in the Great Lakes/St. Lawrence drainage basin. In light of Canada’s recent efforts in improving the management of waste water effluent and biosolids, we collaborate with industry and government partners and examine discharges of major metals and emerging trace metals via wastewater. We conduct large-scale screenings of wastewater discharges and metal concentrations in municipal and industrial treatment plants and use geospatial statistics to establish regional budgets and identify societal sources. In addition, we conduct sampling campaigns in selected treatment plants to elucidate seasonal variability and peak discharges, as well as the processes that govern metal retention or mobility during treatment. Research projects for interested students can be tailored and range from analytical method development for (ultra) trace-level metal analyses, geospatial statistical modeling and environmental impact assessments to laboratory studies into elimination mechanisms and recovery options for valuable metal contaminants.

In addition to the above, I work on metal mobilization from mine wastes.  The control and mitigation of mine waste streams – most importantly the prevention of metal mobilization and potential metal recovery at the source - have become major (environmental) concerns for mines in Canada and around the world. Projects include studying the roles of biogeochemical reactions and mass transport limitations on mine effluent quality, upscaling phenomena as well as specific industry-driven engineering questions from mining industry partners in Canada and Peru.

Professional Associations

  • American Geophysical Union (AGU)
  • European Association of Geochemistry (EAG)
  • American Chemical Society (ACS)