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Michael Fleming

Chemical, Biochemical and Environmental Engineering

Area of Doctoral Study: Environmental Engineering
Undergraduate Institute: Howard University

Research Advisor: Lee Blaney, Ph.D.

Description of Research

My current research involves investigating ways of optimizing phosphorus recovery from agricultural waste. Phosphorus and nitrogen in human and agricultural wastes are a major source of nutrient pollution in rivers, lakes, and streams in the United States. Recovering these nutrients from waste streams prior to disposal are increasingly becoming a priority, particularly as phosphorus reserves worldwide are being depleted. Historically, the formation of struvite as magnesium ammonium phosphate hexahydrate has been a problem which hinders the effectiveness of wastewater treatment plants due to the scaling of equipment and the narrowing of conduits which transport wastewater. On the other hand, however, struvite has been shown to be an effective slow-release fertilizer. In my research, I hope to simultaneously improve wastewater treatment plant efficiency and minimize nutrient pollution by improving methods and techniques for preferentially forming struvite from human and agricultural wastes.