GVMPBE-Pollutant Behaviour in the Environment

Module Provider: Geography and Environmental Science
Number of credits: 20 [10 ECTS credits]
Terms in which taught: Autumn / Spring term module
Non-modular pre-requisites:
Modules excluded:
Module version for: 2017/8

Module Convenor: Dr Elizabeth Shaw

Email: e.j.shaw@reading.ac.uk

Summary module description:
The module focuses on both the processes and applied aspects of pollutant behaviour in the environment with an emphasis on terrestrial and freshwater systems and their interface

This module aims to provide:
- a fundamental grounding in the physical and (bio)chemical processes underpinning the behaviour of pollutant chemicals in the environment;
- an introduction to the assessment of risk posed by environmental contamination;
- the objectives of, and strategies for, the remediation of contaminated sites.

Assessable learning outcomes:
By the end of this module, you should be able to:
• Distinguish and define classes of environmental contaminants (including ‘new’ contaminants such as nanomaterials) and their sources
• Examine soils as a sink for environmental contaminants in relation to their physical and chemical properties
• Describe the processes by which water and contaminants are transported in soils, using physical principles
• Evaluate the likely fate of different types of contaminants in soils including their speciation, sorption, precipitation and transport
• Evaluate the toxicity and bioavailabilty of pollutants and critically examine the methodology used to derive toxicological and bioavailability data.
• Explain the principles of the assessment of risk posed by environmental contaminants to humans and ecosystems
• Formulate and explain objectives, strategies and technologies for environmental remediation and rehabilitation

Additional outcomes:
This module will provide the opportunity to develop the following transferable skills:
• Computer skills, especially spreadsheet handling skills and simulation modelling skills
• Literature searching and synthesis
• Networking with potential employers in the form of guest lecturers from environmental consultancy and research institutes

Outline content:
Content will normally include sessions on: •Introduction to Soil and Water •Phosphorus •Nitrogen •Dissolved Organic Carbon •Contaminants – Metals •Contaminants – Organics •Human Risk assessment (CLEA) •Soil water and pollutant transport •Bioavailability, Bioaccessability and Passive Samplers •Ecotoxicology and nanoparticles •Ecological risk assessment •Remediation

Brief description of teaching and learning methods:
This module is delivered through lectures, seminar style discussions and computer-laboratory sessions typically consisting of two hours contact per week over the autumn and spring terms. Some of the sessions are delivered by guest lecturers from contaminated land consultancies.

Contact hours:
  Autumn Spring Summer
Lectures 20 16
Practicals classes and workshops 4
Guided independent study 70 90
Total hours by term 90.00 110.00
Total hours for module 200.00

Summative Assessment Methods:
Method Percentage
Written assignment including essay 40
Report 60

Other information on summative assessment:
Structured essay on a contaminant of your choice (40%)
2 practical write-ups (30% each):
• Soil water and pollutant transport practical
• CLEA practical

Formative assessment methods:
Soil Description Assignment

Penalties for late submission:
Penalties for late submission on this module are in accordance with the University policy. Please refer to page 5 of the Postgraduate Guide to Assessment for further information: http://www.reading.ac.uk/internal/exams/student/exa-guidePG.aspx

Length of examination:

Requirements for a pass:
A mark of 50% overall.

Reassessment arrangements:
Re-submission of coursework

Additional Costs (specified where applicable):

Last updated: 31 March 2017

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