NC State Logo Department of Soil Science. College of Agriculture and Life Sciences.

The Polizzotto Lab

Soil and Environmental Hydrogeochemistry 


The overarching goal of our research program is to help better predict, manage and respond to environmental contaminants that threaten human health. Contaminant distributions in soils, sediments and natural waters are controlled by a host of physical, chemical and biological processes, each of which can exert its influence over a range of spatial and temporal scales. In our research, we integrate a suite of field, laboratory and spectroscopic approaches to better understand the sources, fate and transport of contaminants in the environment. Current research themes include:


NC well samplingAquifer Vulnerability to Contamination from Geogenic Sources

Natural sources of contaminants threaten well water quality worldwide. We seek to characterize solid-phase sources and isolate the fundamental mechanisms leading to contaminant mobilization. Current efforts are focused on evaluating the controls on manganese and arsenic in groundwater of North Carolina and Cambodia.


Agricultural Impacts on Trace Element Distributions in Soils, Surface Water and Groundwater

Agricultural practices have the potential to introduce and redistribute toxic trace elements in soils and natural waters. With research in North Carolina and Bangladesh, we are examining the impacts of pesticide, fertilizer, and irrigation-water application on trace-element loading to soils, leaching to groundwater and uptake by plants.


WaterWater Quality and Sanitation in Low-Income Countries
Studies on water quality and sanitation in low-income countries tend to focus on small numbers of indicator contaminants and isolated resource uses. In field and laboratory studies, we are developing new approaches that more comprehensively examine current and future microbiological and chemical threats to water quality. Using global data sets, we are also investigating linkages between sanitation strategies and water quality challenges.




For specific project details or to collaborate, please email Matt Polizzotto.