Water chemistry: Fifty years of change and progress

Patrick L. Brezonik, Bill Arnold

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

27 Scopus citations


Given the interdisciplinary nature of water chemistry, the field will continue to benefit from advances in materials characterization molecular biology, and mass spectrometry. Water chemists, who work across scales ranging from molecular to global, are poised to make additional contributions to improve our understanding of important, societally relevant water issues. These include the nature and behavior of NOM and related organic matter in wastewater effluents (EfOM), the role of biomolecules (e.g., genes, prions) as pollutants, critical biogeochemical processes involving carbon, nitrogen and phosphorus in natural systems, and the implications of global climate change on the chemistry of natural waters (including the problem of ocean acidification). Research on the development, uses, behavior, and fate of nanomaterials, which has grown exponentially over the past decade, will likely continue to be a major research topic for water chemists for many years. Although scientists have had great success finding and responding to new pollutants, additional efforts need to emphasize predicting what chemicals may pose a threat to aquatic environments prior to their release. Improvements in computational techniques will allow such assessments, as well as improved understanding/verification of experimental findings. As growing populations continue to stress water resources water treatment and reuse will require further technological advances. Water chemistry will continue to play a critical role in the goal to provide sufficient and safe water for the world's population.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)5650-5657
Number of pages8
JournalEnvironmental Science and Technology
Issue number11
StatePublished - Jun 5 2012

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