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 course titled "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.
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.
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.
Master of Applied Science
Master of Science in Natural Resource Sciencesincluding specializations in
Doctorate of Philosophy in Natural Resource Sciencesincluding specializations in