Adam Wronski ’20 publishes first research paper as a Ph.D. student

A paper co-written by Adam Wronski ’20 is published in the March 2023 issue of Environmental Pollution, an international peer-reviewed journal, and is available on “Global occurrence and aquatic hazards of antipsychotics in sewage influents, effluent discharges and surface waters” is Wronski’s first published paper in connection with his Ph.D. studies in the Department of Environmental Science, Center for Reservoir and Aquatic Systems Research, at Baylor University.

At Ripon, Wronski majored in biology with a minor in chemistry. He was in the first cohort of students who went through the Catalyst curriculum and his team presented “Prescribing Greener Pharmaceuticals: Facilitating the design of eco-friendly drugs” for their CTL 300 topic. Wronski’s graduate research grew from that.

“This paper is especially meaningful because it is a continuation of the project my group did for Catalyst 300 during my junior year at Ripon,” Wronski says. “That research project at Ripon sparked an interest in me to pursue further research on the topic, which led me to Baylor University and the lab of Dr. Bryan Brooks, my advisor.”

The paper states that despite increasing reports of pharmaceuticals and illicit drugs in surface waters, aquatic hazard information is limited for many contaminants. “There is increasing concern for water quality risks from pharmaceuticals and other contaminants of emerging concern, particularly in surface waters with instream flows that are dominated by or fully dependent on wastewater discharges.”

The authors examine how there is a global trend toward populations transitioning to “megacities,” with dense urban populations that concentrate waste and consumer chemicals in wastewater. “In many regions facing water scarcity as a result of increased extraction and climate change, water reuse will continue to increase to meet the needs of a growing population, thereby realizing an urban water cycle. … However, most global population growth is occurring in low- and middle-income countries, where wastewater treatment infrastructure is often lacking and is not expanding as rapidly as chemical usage and population are increasing in urban areas.”

The authors examine some of the associated effects.

“The topic of emerging contaminants of water is important because water quality is globally relevant to both human and environmental health, especially at a time where demands for water resources are increasing at a rate that cannot be met by the available supply in many location,” Wronski says. “Furthermore, the need to improve water quality intersects with a number of other environmental and human health goals, such as the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals, meaning the impact of our research to improve water quality often extends far beyond the aquatic environment.”

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