Carleton Biofiltration Project with Humber College Receives NSERC Funding

Category: Investment, Water

May 10, 2017 ( Carleton University's Onita Basu, professor in the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering, in partnership with Humber College, has received more than $95,000 over two years through the NSERC College and Community Innovation Program (CCI). This research will investigate procedures involved in processing drinking water using biofiltration (BF).

Biological filtration is one of few methods of drinking water treatment that can reduce the chemical requirements and energy needs of drinking water facilities. Identification, validation, improved monitoring and control tools are necessary to establish BF as a predictable process that can be controlled. It is challenging to determine how to effectively run biofilter without having tools to better monitor performance.

The research will assess analytical methods to contribute to the overall knowledge base of biofiltration performance. Basu, who will be working with Shawn Cleary at Humber College and the Drinking Water Services Group at the City of Ottawa, will lead this project. The project will provide a scientific and technical advance for the water industry in operating biofilters. From a social and environmental perspective, biofiltration can reduce the usage of chemicals in drinking water treatment making it a green, sustainable engineering technology


"Our government supports investments that are helping to build an innovative economy and create quality jobs to support a vibrant middle class. Fostering strong partnerships between Canada's colleges and industry partners leads to new, innovative ideas and transforms the results of R&D into new products that will benefit all Canadians."

- Science Minister Kirsty Duncan

"NSERC is proud to support applied research and technological innovation at Canada's colleges and CÉGEPs. The CCI program is uniquely positioned to connect colleges with industry partners, allowing companies to access state-of-the-art facilities and applied research expertise that help accelerate product development and validation, and train the next generation of talent for the 21st century job market."

- Bettina Hamelin, Vice-President, Research Partnerships, Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada

"Carleton's world-class researchers are looking for answers to complex and impactful questions. NSERC's incredible support will help them continue pursing while solidifying the university's position as a leading research institution."

- Rafik Goubran, vice-president (Research and International)

"Biofiltration is a process used in drinking water treatment that is designed to remove fine solids and also dissolved organic compounds through microbial degradation. Biofiltration can reduce the usage of chemicals in drinking water treatment, making it a green engineering technology. We will examine the monitoring tools for biofiltration in order to better predict, control and improve the performance of these types of systems."

- Basu

About NSERC's College and Community Innovation Program

The program is managed by NSERC in collaboration with the Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR) and the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada (SSHRC).

Since its launch in 2009, the program has invested $393.7 million in 2,035 projects at 105 post-secondary institutions across Canada.

The program has helped dozens of college researchers strengthen their collaborations with industry that lead to commercialization, technology transfer as well as the adaptation and adoption of new technologies

About Onita Basu

Basu's research in water and wastewater examines the impact of integrated processes in dynamic systems, including research with filtration or membrane-bioreactor systems, treatment of high-ammonia loadings on plant performance and biological versus physical removal of recalcitrant organics, including personal care products and pharmaceuticals in wastewater.

Basu has expertise in the field of water treatment technology, including biofiltration research and extensive experience in the design and operation of pilot scale facilities for water and wastewater treatment research which is directly applicable to this research project.

For more information about Basu's work visit:

Media Contact

Steven Reid
Media Relations Officer
Carleton University
613-520-2600, ext. 8718

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