Frank Nkansah-Boadu completed his PhD in Chemical and Biological Engineering at the University of British Columbia (UBC), Vancouver. Frank’s PhD thesis involved the removal of selenium from coal mining wastewater, particularly that of Teck Resources in B.C. Whilst at UBC, Frank worked in Professor Susan Baldwin’s research group on different studies involved in coal mining wastewater treatment.

Frank’s studies involving wastewater treatment for the mining industry reveals the positive impact of biological treatment using native mine bacteria for the removal of selenium in the presence of co-contaminants, especially nitrate. Biological treatment to remove selenium from coal mining wastewater is challenged by the presence of competing constituents, especially nitrate which is a  common co-contaminant in mining wastewater.

Frank’s research enriched microorganisms from coal mine seepage for the removal of selenium in the presence of nitrate from coal mining wastewater involved the process of microorganisms being enriched from sediments in different vegetated or non-vegetated marsh seepage collection ponds, all of which  demonstrated the potential for dissolved selenium removal. Nitrate inhibited dissolved Selenium removal rates in four of these enrichments, however, microorganisms enriched from a natural vegetated marsh receiving mine seepage removed dissolve selenium and nitrate simultaneously.

Additionally, enrichments from one seepage collection pond achieved enhanced dissolved selenium removal in the presence of nitrate. The findings contribute knowledge for the designing of a bioreactor systems for remediating selenium-contaminated mining wastewaters.