Dr. Susan Andrews is an Associate Professor of Civil Engineering at the University of Toronto, and is the Drinking Water Node Leader for the SOWC – which is supporting capacity for the development and testing of new technologies that address emerging concerns in water treatment, including effective use and reuse of water.

Dr. Susan Andrews

Dr. Susan Andrews, Associate Professor of Civil Engineering at the University of Toronto, and SOWC Drinking Water Node Leader

Her research primarily focuses on optimizing water treatment processes, drinking water disinfection in particular, which are essential both from a fundamental perspective and for application by water providers and regulatory authorities. Much attention of this research is focused on the balance between inactivating pathogens and minimizing the formation of chemical by-products, with emphasis on evaluating a variety of disinfection technologies including using light (ultraviolet, solar) as an alternative to traditional chemical disinfectants (chlorine). Within this field of environmental research, Professor Andrews is involved in an array of regional, national and international interdisciplinary projects with the ultimate aim of helping provide improvements to public health.

In addition to her work with the SOWC, Professor Andrews currently sits on the Ontario Drinking Water Advisory Council of the MOE and is a board member for the Canadian Association on Water Quality. She has also been heavily involved within several professional and research organizations including having been a Program leader for the Canadian Water Network for several years, and Chair of the Ontario Water Works Association.

She obtained her BSc, MSc, and PhD all from the University of Alberta.

Questions & Answers with Dr. Andrews

What do you aim to accomplish through your work
Like many of us in this field, I hope my work helps improve public health by providing knowledge to water practitioners and regulators to help them protect and improve drinking water.

How is your research translating into real-world water solutions?
We often find new ways to optimize treatment processes to minimize the formation of chemical byproducts that might be harmful to consumers.

Can you provide a specific example?
We recently discovered that certain pharmaceuticals that find their way into our drinking water sources can be transformed into byproducts that can have human health effects. We have been examining the extent to which this byproduct formation can be avoided by including an oxidation step, with some success.

How has the SOWC helped support your water research?
The SOWC has recently supported our research by helping us acquire unique treatment process equipment and analytical instrumentation to enhance our research capabilities.

What type of collaborative opportunities are you looking for through the SOWC?
In addition to strengthening our current collaborations, we hope to forge new relationships with industrial water practitioners through the SOWC.

What is unique about the capacity you are leading within SOWC?
The mobile nature of many of the Drinking Water Node’s assets is quite unique in this field of research.