Michael John Cook

Optimizing enhanced groundwater bioremediation during pump and treatment intervention

PhD research student

Michael John Cook

Telephone: +44(0) 113 34 34696
Room: 9.160 (School of Earth and Environment,
University of Leeds)

email : ee10mjc@leeds.ac.uk


Michael graduated from the University of Leeds with BSc Environmental Science degree in 2014 (1st Class Honours) and is currently a member the Cohen Geochemistry group working toward the completion of his PhD.

Michael has experience in the field of Environmental Safety, having undertaken a 1 year placement at EDF Energy, where he helped resolve environmental problems at Hartlepool Nuclear Power Plant, in close collaboration with the Environment Agency. Michael also has strong volunteering interests, related to both environmental conservation and community growth.

Research interests

Michael’s research is focused on the remediation of contaminants in groundwater. This includes investigating the most effective ways to protect vulnerable receptors, such as drinking water and zones of ecological importance, as well as restoring land of commercial value to suitable conditions.

His PhD, jointly supervised by Prof Simon Bottrell at Leeds and Dr Steve Thornton at Sheffield, aims to explore the scientific basis for using engineered remediation such as pump and treatment (PAT) to enhance the in situ biodegradation of organic contaminants in groundwater. Conventionally, this remediation technology is used for hydraulic containment of plumes and to reduce contaminant concentrations in groundwater. However, experience shows that the change of in situ conditions induced by such intervention can also create a more favourable environment for increased microbial activity. This can enhance the natural attenuation of contaminants, for example by providing additional dissolved oxidants for in situ biodegradation.

Michael’s current work will help define the mechanisms via which in situ biodegradation is enhanced by the effects of PAT, using both hydrochemical and stable isotopic data. Once these mechanisms are further defined, this knowledge can then be used to investigate optimisation of the PAT system, with the objective of shortening the operating lifetime and hence reducing both its costs and its carbon footprint.