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Yves Filion, PhD, PEng
Kingston, Ontario, Canada
Tel: (613) 533-2126
Fax: (613) 533-2128
I am part of the Environmental Engineering group in the Department of Civil Engineering at Queen’s University. As a member of this group, I spend a great deal of time thinking about how water systems in rural and urban areas can be designed, rehabilitated, and optimized to have the least impact on the natural environment and to pose the least risk to human health. In particular, I am interested in pursuing five research area that relate to water systems.
Area 1: Climate Change Mitigation of Drinking Water Systems
Building, operating, and decommissioning drinking water systems has a large impact on the environment in relation to energy use and greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions. With plans for future carbon tax and cap-and-trade agreements in Canada and the US, water utilities will be expected to track and reduce their carbon emissions. This first research area is focused on developing planning, design, and optimization methods to help water utilities reduce GHG and air emissions, non-renewable energy use, and environmental releases in their drinking water systems.
Area 2: Climate Change Adaptation of Drinking Water Systems
Anticipated changes to our climate (IPCC 2007) are expected to create important changes in the water industry ranging from a possible increase in water demand to important changes to source water quality. A big challenge that municipal water utilities face is to plan the upgrade and rehabilitation of their water systems with limited information on future water demand, on future source water quality, and on the future condition of buried water main infrastructure. This second research area is focused on developing methods to design and optimize drinking water systems so that they are more resilient and adaptable to anticipated changes in climate to avoid unplanned and expensive retrofits in the future.
Area 3: Sustainable Water Re-Use for Non-Potable Applications at Residential and Community Scales
This research area is focused on investigating the feasibility of capturing and treating storm water (at the residential or watershed scale, or both) for re-use in non-potable applications such as lawn irrigation, and other outdoor municipal water uses. The feasibility of integrating storm water collection with non-potable water distribution will be examined with respect to capital costs, operational costs, source water and community protection performance (e.g., reduction in combined sewer overflows), improvements in water quality, sustainability of the urban water balance, and hydraulic and hydrologic robustness and resilience.
Area 4: Enhanced Disease Surveillance and Protection in Drinking Water Systems
Drinking water systems are vulnerable to microbiological contamination from ‘unusual’ events that range from treatment-train failures to back-flow intrusion events to contamination following routine water main repair and servicing. This research area is focused on developing a real-time enhanced disease surveillance system that carries out rapid statistical analysis of water quality data (from sensors in water distribution networks) with pre-diagnostic health data on emergency room visits in acute care facilities to detect waterborne outbreaks in water systems well before laboratory and/or diagnostic data are available to confirm the outbreak. The enhanced disease surveillance technology holds the potential to help water utilities and health units communicate, coordinate, and organize timely interventions such as issuing boil water advisories, flushing contaminated water, treating water in situ, etc, to mitigate outbreak-related human injury and death.
Area 5: Nutrient and Pollutant Removal in Bioretention Systems in Cold Climates
Bioretention systems are best management practices (BMPs) that make use of the biogeochemical processes within a forest-type ecosystem to provide at-source storm water retention and pollutant removal. Laboratory and field monitoring studies have shown the potential of bioretention systems to control water quantity and water quality. This research area is focused on bench-scale and field-scale investigations of fundamental processes responsible for nutrient and pollutant removal in bioretention systems. Ongoing research is focused on modelling fundamental bioretention processes and improving design techniques to achieve higher nutrient removal and pollutant removal efficiencies in bioretention systems.
If you are thinking of pursuing graduate studies in one of the areas outlined above, I would be pleased to hear from you.
I am an assistant professor in the Department of Civil Engineering at Queen’s University. I graduated from the University of Toronto with a Ph.D. in Civil Engineering. My graduate work was focused on developing models to guide the planning and design of drinking water distribution systems. After earning my Ph.D., I spent 9 months as an NSERC-sponsored postdoctoral fellow in affiliation with the University of Exeter, UK. During this time I began to develop innovative methods to assess and manage the risk of water contamination and the outbreak of disease in drinking water supply and distribution systems.
I have also had the opportunity to work in the consulting industry. Before undertaking a Ph.D., I spent a number of years in the employ of the consulting firm R.V. Anderson Associates Limited in Toronto, Ontario, Canada. My consulting experience is wide-ranging and includes the design of drinking water, storm water, and wastewater systems, as well as infrastructure-renewal planning. I am currently a licensed Professional Engineer (P.Eng.) in the province of Ontario.
Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.) – Civil Engineering
University of Toronto, Canada, 2006
Master of Applied Science (M.A.Sc.) – Civil Engineering
University of Toronto, Canada, 2001
Bachelor of Applied Science (B.A.Sc.) - Civil Engineering
University of Toronto, Canada, 1997