- Contact Information
- My Story
- Publications & Presentations
- Courses Taught
|Title||Soil Environmental Chemist|
205 Kiesselbach Crop Research Laboratory
1870 North 37th Street
|Phone||402-472-1502 & Lab 472-6540|
Hi, I'm Steve Comfort, a soil environmental chemist and professor in the School of Natural Resources (SNR).
I am associated with the water, geology, soils faculties in SNR and coordinate the Environmental Restoration Science major at UNL.
My interests are in understanding the fate and transport of organic chemicals in the environment and devising remediation strategies for contaminated soil and water.
Accidental spills and discharges of farm chemicals and industrial solvents take place each year. When these events occur, normally beneficial chemicals become sources of contamination for ground and surface water. Although the soil-water environment has an enormous potential to naturally attenuate (adsorb, degrade) these foreign substances, this capacity can be exceeded when chemicals are deliberately or inadvertently released to localized areas. To combat these point sources of contamination, our research attempts to devise treatments that can remove these contaminants or alter their chemical structure so that natural attenuation can proceed. Examples of our work include both field-scale treatment of pesticide-contaminated soils and the use of chemical oxidants to treat contaminated groundwater.
Our recent efforts are focusing on developing techniques to remove volatile organic compounds from low permeable zones in aquifers.
My primary teaching responsibility is devoted to teaching an undergraduate coutitled "Soils, Environment and Water Quality." This course is now being offered online for distance education. In the past, I have taught a graduate-level course titled 'Soil Environmental Chemistry." It involves outreach activities which provide in-depth training on the fate of chemicals in soils and groundwater - to individuals associated with pesticide application or installation of septic systems - in the state of Nebraska.
Environmental Restoration Science Program (Major)
Lindy Rauscher, an environmental restoration science major, worked with environmental chemist Steve Comfort and his graduate students on an award-winning UCARE project, investigating the use of permanganate to remediate PAH-contaminated water.
The video below follows Mandi Conway, an SNR undergraduate in Environmental Restoration Science, as she and graduate students help with a clean-up site in Cozad, Nebraska. Dr. Steve Comfort, ERS faculty, explains how the program gives students the skills to repair environmental damage.
What can you do with a degree in Environmental Restoration Science? Recent graduate John Dinneen works for an environmental remediation company in Wisconsin and was recently in Sargent, Nebraska to work to remove harmful chemicals at a gas station site.
Slow-release Oxidant Candles
EPA Clean-Up Technology Webinar (03-21-2016)
|Christenson, M., Kambhu, A., Reece, J., Comfort, S., Brunner, L. 2016. A five-year performance review of field-scale, slow-release permanganate candles with recommendations for second-generation improvements. Chemosphere. 150:239-247. Online|
|Boparai, H.K., P.J. Shea, S.D. Comfort, and T.A. Machacek. 2008. Sequencing zerovalent iron treatment with carbon amendments to remediate agrichemical-contaminated soil. Water, Air and Soil Pollution.193:189-196.|
|Boparai, H.K., S.D. Comfort, P.J. Shea, and J.E. Szecsody. 2008. Remediating explosive-contaminated groundwater by in situ redox manipulation (ISRM) of aquifer sediments. Chemosphere 71:933-941.|
|Onanong, S. S.D. Comfort, P.D. Burrow, and P.J. Shea. 2007. Using gas-phase molecular descriptors to predict dechlorination rates of chloroalkanes by zerovalent iron. Environ. Sci. Technol.41:1200-1205.|
|Adam, M.A., S.D. Comfort, D.D. Snow, D. Cassada, M.C. Morley, and W. Clayton. 2006. Evaluating ozone as a remedial treatment for removing RDX from unsaturated soils. Journal of Environmental Engineering.132:1580-1588.|
|Boparai, H.K., P.J. Shea, S.D. Comfort, and D.D. Snow. 2006. Dechlorinating chloroacetanilide herbicides by dithionite-treated aquifer sediment and surface soil. Environ. Sci. Technol. 40:3043-3049.|
|Onanong, S., P.D. Burrow, S.D. Comfort, and P.J. Shea. 2006. Electron capture detector response and dissociative electron attachment cross sections in chloroalkanes and chloroalkenes. J. Phys. Chem. A 110:4363-4368.|
|Adam, M.L., S.D. Comfort, T.C. Zhang, and M.C. Morley. 2005. Evaluating Biodegradation as a Primary and Secondary Treatment for Removing RDX (Hexahydro-1,3,5-trinitro-1,3,5-triazine) from a Perched Aquifer. Bioremediation Journal 9:9-19.|
|Comfort, S.D. 2005. Remediating RDX and HMX Contaminated Soil and Water. In M. Fingerman and R. Nagabhushanam (eds) Bioremediation of Aquatic and Terrestrial EcoSystems. Science Publishers, Inc. Enfield, NH p. 263-310.|
|Park, J., S.D. Comfort, P.J. Shea, and J.S. Kim. 2005. Increasing Fe0-mediated HMX destruction in highly contaminated soil with didecyldimethylammonium bromide surfactant. Environ. Sci. Technol. 39:9683-9688.|
|Comfort, S.D., P.J. Shea, T.A. Machacek, and T. Satapanajaru. 2003. Pilot-scale treatment of RDX-contaminated soil with zerovalent iron. Journal of Environmental Quality. 32(5):1717-25. Online|
- BS - University of Wisconsin-Madison, Soil Science and Agricultural-Extension Education (1981)
- MS - University of Minnesota, Soil Science (1984)
- PhD - University of Wisconsin-Madison, Soil Science (1988)
- Environmental Science
- Soil and Water Chemistry
- Organic Chemicals
- Fate and Transport of Remediation of Contaminated Soil and Water
- Environmental Restoration
- Environmental Soil Analysis
Currently this page only displays grants that were awarded on 1/1/2009 to the present. If a grant was awarded prior to 1/1/2009 and is still active, it will not be displayed on this page.
|Grant Title||Predicitng the zone of influence of direct-push oxidant candles with aerators|
|Funding Source||Agricultural Research Division Graduate Research Assistant Support|
|Grant Title||Testing of Direct-Push Candles|
|Funding Source||Air Lift Environmental LLC|
|Grant Title||STTR: Improving the Treatment of Contaminated Aquifers by Developing Direct Push Slowp Release Oxidant Candles with Pneumatic Circulators|
|Funding Source||Air Lift Environmental LLC|
|Grant Title||Cozad Contaminated Groundwater|
|Funding Source||City of Cozad|
|Grant Title||Nebraska Water Resource 104B 2011|
|Funding Source||US Department of the Interior - Geological Survey|
|Undergraduate Majors||Bachelor of Science in
Master of Science in Natural Resource Sciences
Doctor of Philosophy in Natural Resource Sciences
|Course Number||Course Title||Fall Even Years||Fall Odd Years||Spring Even Years||Spring Odd Years||Summer Session||Cross Listing|
|NRES 361||Soils, Environment and Water Quality||X||X||AGRO/GEOL/NRES/SOIL/WATS 361|
|NRES 451||Soil Environmental Chemistry||X||X||ENVE 451/851|
|NRES 851||Soil Environmental Chemistry||X||ENVE 451/851|
|NRES 996A||Research in Soils||X||X||X||X||AGRO 996A|
|WATS 361||Soils, Environment and Water Quality||X||X||AGRO/GEOL/NRES/SOIL/WATS 361|