Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name


Organizational Unit

College of Natual Science and Mathematics

First Advisor

Keith E. Miller, Ph.D.

Second Advisor

Robert Sanford

Third Advisor

Amy Bauer

Fourth Advisor

Sandra Eaton

Fifth Advisor

Don Stedman

Sixth Advisor

Todd Wells


Instrument development, Liquid chromatography, Polar contaminants, Subcritical water, Wastewater treatment, Wet air oxidation


Two major classes of polar compounds have recently become a major focus as sources of contamination of water systems. Pharmaceuticals and personal care products (PPCPs) enter water through wastewater streams, and many of these compounds survive current wastewater treatment processes. High production volume chemicals (HPVCs), defined as chemicals produced in excess of one million pounds per year have numerous entries into surface and drinking waters due to their ubiquity. The commonality between many of these compounds is their polarity, which makes them water-soluble.

While both PPCPs and HPVCs have been entering into the environment for decades, advances in analyte detection have increased the ability of scientists to identify these compounds in surface, waste and drinking waters. Methods for polar compound suites have been developed using a number of technologies, however these processes are often time consuming and require specialized instrumentation.

In this study, a fast, robust method for the detection and treatment of emerging polar contaminants was developed with accompanying instrumentation. A liquid chromatography system, hyphenated to a universal gas phase detector, flame ionization detector (FID), was designed. By using pure subcritical water as a mobile phase, temperature was used to control chromatographic retention. This instrument may be used for rapid screening of environmental samples with minimal preparation. Using subcritical water chromatography allowed for testing of mass transfer between subcritical water and organic phases, which provides data on the transport of polar contaminants between solvent phases.

A second component of the work in this dissertation was to test a treatment protocol for waste streams, which demonstrated the reduction of selected analytes within the PPCP and HPVC classes. Subcritical water wet oxidation allowed for the breakdown of all polar organic molecules dissolved in a water sample. As a thermochemical process, the oxidation reaction further reduced select compounds that remain after current biological waste removal processes, and provided a value-added process to current wastewater treatment, in which a needed process, disinfection, can be coupled to additional contaminant removal.

Publication Statement

Copyright is held by the author. User is responsible for all copyright compliance.

Rights Holder

Daniel E. Connors


Received from ProQuest

File Format




File Size

328 p.


Analytical chemistry