Fulbright Scholars Collaborate at the Urban Water Research Center

Daina Kalnina of Latvia and Hrvoje Juretic of Croatia conduct water research at UC Irvine

William Cooper, Ph.D., director of the Urban Water Research Center (UWRC) and professor in The Henry Samueli School of Engineering’s Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering, welcomed two Fulbright Scholars during the 2006-07 school year; Daina Kalnina, Ph.D., head and docent of the Environmental Pollution Laboratory (EPL) of the Riga Technical University in Latvia, and Hrvoje Juretic, a research assistant in the faculty of mechanical engineering and naval architecture at the University of Zagreb in Croatia.

Kalnina, who is studying free radical destruction of chemicals in water, waste water, and water intended for reuse, began her Fulbright Fellowship at UC Irvine in October 2006.  She received her Diploma of Engineer, equivalent to a master’s degree, from Riga Polytechnical Institute, and a Ph.D. in oil and gas chemistry and technology from the University of St. Petersburg in Russia.  Juretic earned B.Sc. and M.S. degrees in mechanical engineering from the University of Zagreb in Croatia, and is currently a Ph.D. candidate.

Working with Cooper, Kalnina sought to provide the empirical tools required for a comprehensive understanding of the kinetics and mechanics of reactions involving free radicals in water using model compounds of both emerging contaminants of concern and of natural organic matter found in water.  This information will be useful in treating hazardous organic chemicals of mutual interest to the U.S. and Latvia.  By studying residual chemicals in consumer products found in surface waters, ground waters, and waste waters, Kalnina hopes to develop new treatment technologies through advanced oxidation processes that will allow polluted water to be treated economically and non-selectively, and then re-used. 

Along with Cooper, Kalnina collaborated with Assistant Professor Julie Peller, Ph.D., of Indiana University Northwest, and Associate Professor Stephen P. Mezyk, Ph.D., of California State University, Long Beach. They also conducted research at the Notre Dame Radiation Laboratory at the University of Notre Dame in Indiana.

Juretic spent the first part of his Fulbright scholarship term at Iowa State University before joining Cooper's research team at the UWRC.  His work at the Center was driven by a recent paper Cooper had published about sunlight-induced photochemical decay of residual oxidants in treated ballast water.  Oxidants are used to control invasive species in ballast water and if discharged might also have an adverse effect on the receiving water.  Juretic’s work was to clarify the dark decay of the total residual oxidant at different dissolved organic matter and salinity levels representative of different ports.  

Juretic’s work will provide the data necessary to better implement oxidants as an effective ballast water treatment option, and will be useful in assessing the environmental fate of residual oxidants in treated ballast water when they are discharged in port prior to a ship taking on more cargo, which is a fundamental portion of Juretic’s doctoral dissertation, "Advanced Oxidation Processes in Ballast Water Treatment," which will be defended in October 2007.

The Fulbright Program, which was proposed by Senator J. William Fulbright in 1945, awards grants to citizens and nationals of other countries for educational purposes, such as university lecturing, advanced research, and teaching in elementary and secondary schools. Each year, 800 scholars and professionals are sent to more than 150 countries around the world to work toward educational goals.