Dr. Bas Vriens

Dr. Bas VriensBas Vriens

Office Miller Hall 219
Email bas.vriens@queensu.ca
Phone 613-533-6185

I am an environmental engineer and earth system scientist by training and interested in the sources and behavior of inorganic contaminants and the environmental footprints of large-scale waste streams. The main goal of my research is to quantify the environmental impacts of 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 looking for one PhD student to join the Environmental Engineering group at Queen's in 2025. Students with an interest in surface water quality, watershed modeling and field work are encouraged to contact me directly.

Current group members:

Group photo 2023
Group photo 2023
  • Nathan Beckner-Stetson [MSc]
  • Trevor Bond [MSc]
  • Meghan Boyd [MSc]
  • Mehran Mahdian [PhD]
  • Jaabir Ali [PhD], co-supervised by Dr. Leybourne
  • Nima Saberi [PhD]
  • Dr. Thamali Kariyawasam [postdoc]

Former group members:

  • Dr. Adriana Guatame-Garcia [postdoc]
  • Tassiane Junqueira [PhD]
  • Matias Silva [MSc]
  • Jacob Pinter [MSc]
  • Colton Bentley [MSc]
  • Guangshu Jiang [MSc]
  • Bailey Jones
  • Rachel McLaughlin

Research Interests/Current Research

Collage of students and research

My current research projects focus on metal contaminants in both industrial (mine wastes) and natural (lakes and rivers) systems.

We work on projects to understand metal mobilization and explore the potential recovery of valuable metals from mine waste rock and tailings. The management of mine waste and wastewater is a major environmental concern for mines in Canada and around the world. We study the controls of geochemical reactions and mass transport limitations on mine effluent quality, upscaling phenomena in predictive models, and also address specific industry-driven engineering questions from mining partners in Canada and Peru.

A second domain concerns trace metal biogeochemistry in the Great Lakes and St. Lawrence drainage basin. We collaborate with government and municipal partners and examine baseline occurrence patterns of trace metals in the Great Lakes and its sediments and tributaries. We also study discharges of major metals and emerging trace elements via wastewater, in light of Canada’s recent efforts in improving the understanding of emerging contaminants and management of wastewater effluent and biosolids. We conduct large-scale screenings of surface water concentrations, wastewater discharges and metal loads in municipal and industrial treatment plants and use geospatial statistics to establish regional budgets and identify societal sources.

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 attenuation and elimination mechanisms or recovery options for valuable metals.

Professional Associations

  • American Geophysical Union (AGU)
  • European Association of Geochemistry (EAG)
  • American Chemical Society (ACS)
  • Professional Engineers Ontario (PEO)


See: https://scholar.google.com/citations?user=-kncALUAAAAJ&hl=en 

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