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Graduate courses

Departments' graduate courses for PhD-students.


Syllabus for

Academic year
BOM190 - Water contamination and remediation
Syllabus adopted 2015-02-14 by Head of Programme (or corresponding)
Owner: MPIEE
7,5 Credits
Grading: TH - Five, Four, Three, Not passed
Education cycle: Second-cycle
Major subject: Civil and Environmental Engineering

Teaching language: English
Open for exchange students

Course module   Credit distribution   Examination dates
Sp1 Sp2 Sp3 Sp4 Summer course No Sp
0115 Written and oral assignments 7,5c Grading: TH   7,5c    

In programs



Docent  Ann-Margret Hvitt Strömvall


In order to be eligible for a second cycle course the applicant needs to fulfil the general and specific entry requirements of the programme that owns the course. (If the second cycle course is owned by a first cycle programme, second cycle entry requirements apply.)
Exemption from the eligibility requirement: Applicants enrolled in a programme at Chalmers where the course is included in the study programme are exempted from fulfilling these requirements.

Course specific prerequisites

BSc in Engineering or Natural Science.
Recommended: courses from the MSc programme in Infrastructure and Environmental Engineering or other programmes with an environmental profile.


After completion of this course, you should be able to understand how you can prevent contaminants from polluting surface water, stormwater, groundwater and landfill leachate. The gained knowledge will be useful to you, as a professional engineer, to contribute to global sustainable development. The course includes basic knowledge of contaminant occurrence, sources, distribution and transport in urban waters, environmental measurement techniques, and knowledge of how further contamination of water can be prevented and reduced by different remediation methods and treatment techniques. This course is valuable for students who want to specialize in the environmental, water and geological sciences and engineering.

Learning outcomes (after completion of the course the student should be able to)

  •  Identify and understand the fundamental causes of contaminated water and resulting problems, and be able to discuss and justify appropriate preventive measures and treatment methods in accordance with sustainable development.
  • Describe how different types of contaminants and their sources affect water quality in urban environments and explain the effects the emission of these pollutants can have on human health and the environment. This includes surface water, groundwater, surface water and leachate.
  • Plan relevant sampling and measurement strategies and select measurement techniques to determine and assess water and sediment quality.
  • Explain the factors that affect contaminant emission, distribution and transport in water, carry out simple contaminant transport calculations.
  • Describe and evaluate methods and techniques for treatment of contaminated surface water, stormwater, groundwater and landfill leachate.
  • Present results and knowledge, obtained from performed measurements and the scientific literature, through oral and written presentations in a professional and qualified manner.


The course includes the following:
Impact of contaminants on natural waters (about 2 weeks). This part focuses on how natural waters may be affected by acidification, liming and eutrophication. It also includes practicing sampling techniques for surface water and performing measurements in the field and at the laboratory.

Impact of contaminants on urban water (about 3 weeks). Deepened knowledge of metals and organic pollutants and their effects on humans and the environment is included in this part of the course. The training covers sampling of stormwater, leachate, groundwater, and urban sediments, as well as evaluating measurement data. It also covers simple calculations of how metals and organic pollutants are emitted to and transported in water, and using computer models to predict pollutant transport and fate.

Preventive measures and engineering methods (about 3 weeks). In this part, you learn about how to prevent the emissions of metals and organic pollutants to different waters using both preventive measures and engineered treatment methods.


To reach the aims and objectives, this course uses a learning approach called Problem-Based Learning (PBL). Problem-based learning is characterised by using a real life situation as starting point for learning, and the students' own responsibility for obtaining knowledge. PBL differs from traditional learning because of the focus on themes, with many traditional disciplines represented. In traditional approaches to learning, the teaching follows established scientific disciplines and generally starts with the basic facts first. In problem-based learning, we start from examples from real-life, but the same content is covered. It is important that the knowledge is meaningful, useful and relevant. In PBL, interaction is also important; the students acquire knowledge by interacting with teachers and other students. You will soon realise that this course looks to you for enthusiasm in learning. The search for knowledge is preferred over lecturing in large classrooms.

In this course we use different pedagogical tools and methods to reach the learning goals, including:
- Group work
- Individual work
- Lectures
- Key concepts
- Group sessions; interaction among students and the supervisor
- Field trips
- Field sampling
- Analyses performed in field
- Analyses performed at laboratory
- Report writing and oral presentations
- Opposition on other students' work


Recommended books are available at the student bookshop, Cremona. A few copies of each book are also available in the course library. The books we recommend you to buy will be presented on the course website well before the course starts.

In the course we also use a reference library containing the most important books on the subjects studied, and binders with field and analytical methods. The course library is kept in the Environmental Chemistry Laboratory where you can also sit and read during the course. To find more books and more scholarly literature, we recommend the resources and databases available at Chalmers Library.


Continuous assessment is the central examination form here, through group projects and an individual assignment. The final grade (graded F, 3, 4 or 5) for a student is based on written reports and oral presentations/opposition on group work and on the individual report. We have no traditional written examination at the end of the course, but the compulsory attendances during the course is high (~ 40 h, see separate schedule).

Published: Wed 26 Feb 2020.