Environmental Contamination

Our Research

The Lincoln Centre for Water and Planetary Health researches contamination at basin, catchment to global scale, arising from past and present mining, agriculture, urban developments, and industry. We aim to develop new approaches to risk management and sustainable development.

Mining and Contaminant Metals

Mining underpins the global economy but can have negative impacts on the environment and aquatic ecosystems. We are using a suite of high-resolution global datasets along with remote sensing/Geographical Information System (GIS) techniques to study the environmental impacts of metal mining and tailings dam failures on river systems worldwide.

Geological Contamination

Not all contamination is human induced, some is geologically sourced (geogenic). Across the globe over 150 million people consume water with natural arsenic concentrations higher than the World Health Organisation's provisional limit of 10ppb. At this concentration the water will increase the risk of cancer and other serious illnesses. We are studying how river-groundwater interaction drives this problem and blights lives.

Emerging Contaminants

Contaminants of emerging concern (CEC) include pesticides, personal care products, and pharmaceuticals, that accumulate in natural waters and sediments. These can damage ecosystem and human health including by transporting anti-microbial resistance via rivers. We are studying the effects of this in the UK through a PhD studentship and the problems in the Ganga (India) in a Global Challenges Research Fund (GCRF) project. Through this research we hope to understand the scale of the crisis and develop mitigation strategies.

Agricultural Contamination

Surplus nutrients (nitrates, phosphates & silica) are released to water bodies and act as fertiliser causing excessive unwanted algal growth (eutrophication). We assess how natural and human driven nutrient processes can cause major problems in rivers.

Key Personnel and Expertise

Professor Mark Macklin - Mining and river processes

Dr Dilkushi de Alwis Pitts - Spatial analysis and remote sensing

Dr Daniel Magnone - Geochemistry and groundwater

Dr Amogh Mudbhatkal - Hydrological, Hydraulic, and Sediment Modelling

Dr Kristen Beck - aquatic and terrestrial ecosystem dynamics

Miss Getruda Zienuite - Emerging contaminants and antimicrobial resistance in river catchment systems


Publications (with LCWPH affiliation)

Team Member  Publication 
Daniel Magnone  Magnone, D., Richards, L.A., van Dongen, B.E., Bryant, C., Evans, J.A. and Polya, D.A., 2019. Calculating 14C mean residence times of inorganic carbon derived from oxidation of organic carbon in groundwater using the principles of 87Sr/86Sr and cation ratio mixing. Geochimica et Cosmochimica Acta267, pp.322-340. 
Dilkushi de Alwis Pitts    
Mark Macklin 

Ghirardelli, A.Tarolli, P.Rajasekaran, MK., Mudbhatkal, Amogh., Macklin, Mark.Masin, R. (2021) Organic contaminants in Ganga basin: from the Green Revolution to the emerging concerns of modern India. iScience. ISSN 2589-0042  Davies, Peter, Lawrence, Susan, Turnbull, Jodi, Rutherfurd, Ian, Grove, James, Silvester, Ewen and Macklin, Mark (2020) Mining Modification of River Systems: A case study from the Australian Gold Rush. Geoarchaeology . ISSN 1520-6548 

Grove, J, Turnbull, J, Lawrence, S, Davies, P, Rutherfurd, I, Silvester, E, Colombi, F and Macklin, Mark (2019) Mining to mud: a multidisciplinary approach to understanding Victoria’s riverine landscape as a product of historical gold mining. Preview, 200 . pp. 44-56. ISSN 1443-2471 

Hudson-Edwards, KA, Byrne, P, Bird, G, Brewer, P, Burke, IT, Jamieson, H, Macklin, Mark and Williams, RD (2019) Origin and Fate of Vanadium in the Hazeltine Creek Catchment following the 2014 Mount Polley Mine Tailings Spill in British Columbia, Canada. Environmental Science & Technology, 53 (8). pp. 4088-4098. ISSN 0013-936X 

Lamine, S, Petropoulos, GP, Brewer, P, Bachari, NEI, Srivastava, PK, Manevski, K, Kalaitzidis, C and Macklin, Mark (2019) Heavy Metal Soil Contamination Detection Using Combined Geochemistry and Field Spectroradiometry in the United Kingdom. Sensors, 19 (4). p. 762. ISSN 1424-8220 

Lamine, S, Petropoulos, G, Brewer, P, Srivastava, PK, Manevski, K, Prashant, K, Kalaitzidis, C and Macklin, Mark (2019) Heavy metals soil contamination detection using combined geochemistry and ASD Field Spectrometry over a highly contaminated floodplain site in the United Kingdom. Sensors, 19 (4). ISSN 1424-8220  

Byrne P, Hudson-Edwards KA, Bird G, Macklin MGet al. (2018) Water quality impacts and river system recovery following the 2014 Mount Polley mine tailings dam spill, British Columbia, Canada. Applied Geochemistry 91, 64-74. 

Davies, P, Lawrence, S, Turnbull, J, Rutherford, I, Grove, J, Silvester, E, Baldwin, D and Macklin, Mark (2018) Reconstruction of historical riverine sediment production on the goldfields of Victoria, Australia. Anthropocene, 21 . pp. 1-15. ISSN 2213-3054 

Clement, A. J. H., Novakova, T., Hudson-Edwards, K.A., Fuller, I.C., Macklin, Mark, Fox, E.G. and Zapico, I. (2017) The environmental and geomorphological impacts of historical gold mining in the Ohinemuri and Waihou river catchments, Coromandel, New Zealand. Geomorphology, 295 . pp. 159-175. ISSN 0169-555X 

Amogh Mudbhatkal  Ghirardelli, A., Tarolli, P., Rajasekaran, M. K., Mudbhatkal, Amogh., Macklin, Mark., Masin, R. (2021) Organic contaminants in Ganga basin: from the Green Revolution to the emerging concerns of modern India. iScienceISSN 2589-0042  
Getruda Zienuite   
Kristen Beck 

Beck, Kristen, Mariani, M., Fletcher, M.-S., Schneider, L., Aquino-López, M.-A., Gadd, P. S., Heijnis, H., Saunders, K. M. and Zawadzki, A. (2020) The impacts of intensive mining on terrestrial and aquatic ecosystems: A case of sediment pollution and calcium decline in cool temperate Tasmania, Australia. Environmental Pollution . ISSN 0269-7491 

Schneider, L., Shulmeister, N., Mariani, M., Beck, K.K., Fletcher, M.-S., Zawadzki, A., Saunders, K., Aquino-Lopez M. & Haberle, S. G. (2020) Colonialism and the environment: the anthropogenic legacies of the Southern Hemisphere's largest copper mine of the 20th century The Anthropocene Review, 1-20

Lintern, A., Schneider, L., Beck, K. K., Mariani, M., Fletcher, M.-S., Gell, P., Haberle, S. (2020) Background concentrations of mercury in Australian freshwater sediments: the role of catchment’s physico-chemical parameters on mercury deposition Elementa: Science of the Anthropocene: Special Issue on Mercury, 8(1):019.



Team Member  Project 
Daniel Magnone SalFar (PI Iain Gould, co-I Daniel Magnone) - assessing saline contamination of coastal aquifers in the UK Fens. Work is led by Masters student Mitchell Moulds (Geography) & research assistant Sneska Lee (LIAT). 
Mark Macklin 

GCRF award (2018-2021) to Professor M G Macklin to investigate “The environmental fate of emerging contaminants and antibiotic-resistant genes in river sediment and floodplains of the Ganga basin”. £182,000  

Australian Research Council award (2016-2021) to Professor S E Lawrence, Professor I Rutherfurd, Dr E Silvester, Dr D Baldwin and Professor M G Macklin to investigate “Rivers of Gold: The Legacy of Historical Gold Mining for Victoria's Rivers”. $650,187 (Australian dollars) 

Amogh Mudbhatkal  

Metal mining and tailings dam failure impacts on global river systems (LCWPH-funded) 


GCRF award (2018-2021) to Professor M G Macklin to investigate “The environmental fate of emerging contaminants and antibiotic-resistant genes in river sediment and floodplains of the Ganga basin”. £182,000 

Getruda Zienuite 

PEARL project: Future Visions (2019-2020). 

Kristen Beck   


Contact Us

School of Geography, College of Health and Science
University of Lincoln, Think Tank, Ruston Way, Lincoln, LN6 7DW

Tel: +44(0)1522 835820