The Hidden Sea

University Consortium for Groundwater Contamination Research

For 25 years the University Consortium has lead the way in applied groundwater research.

Consortium ven diagram

The University Consortium for Field Focused Groundwater Contamination Research is an informal association of industry sponsors and 12 professors from four American and four Canadian universities. The Consortium conducts a research program with an annual budget of $8 M, which is supported by a core corporate contribution of $1.3 M. The present emphasis is on research at contaminated industrial sites in the United States and Canada, most of which are owned by the Corporate Sponsors. The Consortium has a long record of research, which is highly respected worldwide for its academic rigor and for providing industry new knowledge and technologies.

This is a unique collaboration of groundwater researchers and industry sponosr and it is administered here at the University of Guelph with founding Director Dr. John Cherry and a group of over 40 groundwater researchers.


Bedrock Aquifers and Water Supply

One of our research focuses addresses groundwater supply from sedimentary bedrock aquifers in Ontario, using the City of Guelph as a field-based laboratory to investigate interdependent elements of the urban water cycle.  Research investigations focus on contaminant hydrogeology in bedrock and overburden, groundwater recharge, sustainable wellfield development, and modelling and uncertainty analysis of groundwater and soil systems and contaminant transport.


Contaminated Bedrock Aquifers

An integral part of our research is directed at intensive field investigations at industrial sites with long-term contamination with Dense Non-Aqueous Phase Liquids (DNAPLs) in sedimentary bedrock. These field studies build off previous research conducted by Dr. Parker and her collaborators over the past 20 years. 



Aquitards generally have a strong influence on the sustainable yield of aquifers and provide a degree of aquifer protection ( aquitard integrity) from surface contamination. This primarily field-based research seeks to define and characterize aquitard units through a combination of complimentary methods to determine their physical, chemical and microbial properties.  Knowledge of these properties helps in  determining what combination of geophysical and geobiochemical characteristics offer good aquitard integrity against different types of contamination, for example, DNAPLs, radionuclides, viruses and pathogens, organic and inorganic solutes.  G360 aquitard research is focused on both clayey unlithified aquitards and lithified (sedimentary rock) aquitards.  Assessment of aquitard integrity has significant relevance to aquifer protection, flow system delineation and surface water protection, hazardous waste disposal, siting of deep geologic repositories (DGRs) for radioactive waste, shale gas and oil shale exploitation.