SOIL&WAT 3004WT - Environmental Toxicology and Remediation III

Waite Campus - Winter - 2019

The goals of this course are to provide students with an understanding of the monitoring, fate and risk assessment of contaminants in environmental and biological systems. Classes of contaminants discussed include heavy metals, pesticides, and other water-, soil- and food-borne toxicants. The properties of contaminants which influence their environmental distribution and transformations and the characteristics of the environment which influence contaminant toxicity to organisms are discussed. Students are introduced to the principles of toxicology necessary for an understanding of the environmental consequences of contaminants.

  • General Course Information
    Course Details
    Course Code SOIL&WAT 3004WT
    Course Environmental Toxicology and Remediation III
    Coordinating Unit School of Agriculture, Food and Wine
    Term Winter
    Level Undergraduate
    Location/s Waite Campus
    Units 3
    Contact Up to 35 hours per week, plus field trips
    Available for Study Abroad and Exchange Y
    Prerequisites CHEM 1100 or CHEM 1101 and CHEM 1200 or CHEM 1201
    Assessment Field trip report, practical reports, examinations
    Course Staff

    Course Coordinator: Prof Mike McLaughlin

    Course Coordinators

    Prof. Mike McLaughlin
                Ph: 08 8303 8433
                       0409 693 906

    Dr Divina Navarro
                Ph: 08 8303 8587

    Course Lecturers

    Dr Jason Kirby
          Ph:  08 8303 8478

    Dr Anu Kumar
          Ph:  08 8303 8597

    Prof. Rob Fitzpatrick
                Ph: 08 8303 8511

    Dr Martin Soriano-Disla
                Ph: 08 8303 8425  



    Course Timetable

    The full timetable of all activities for this course can be accessed from Course Planner.

  • Learning Outcomes
    Course Learning Outcomes
    1.  Describe and name representative types of chemical toxicants found in the environment and their sources;

     2. Describe, compute and/or predict the expected properties/behaviour of these chemical toxicants in the environment, including their transport/transformation in the water, soil and air environments;

    3. Explain procedures involved in the sampling and analysis chemical toxicants from water and soil samples;

    4. Describe and/or predict the effects of these chemical toxicants on an ecosystem or components of an ecosystem;

     5. Describe the methods, practices and limitations/problems associated with the ecotoxicological risk assessment of chemical toxicants;

    6. Describe environmental protection regulations for aquatic and terrestrial ecosystems;

    7. Describe and compare different types of remediation technologies;

    8. Apply the concepts learned from the lectures (contaminant fate, behaviour, toxicology and remediation) and use experimental data in assessing environmental impact, e.g. South Australian mine site;

    9. Organise, interpret, and present experimental data through laboratory documentation and reports; including the application of appropriate scientific referencing styles in writing, formatting and presentation of reports.   

    University Graduate Attributes

    This course will provide students with an opportunity to develop the Graduate Attribute(s) specified below:

    University Graduate Attribute Course Learning Outcome(s)
    Deep discipline knowledge
    • informed and infused by cutting edge research, scaffolded throughout their program of studies
    • acquired from personal interaction with research active educators, from year 1
    • accredited or validated against national or international standards (for relevant programs)
    Critical thinking and problem solving
    • steeped in research methods and rigor
    • based on empirical evidence and the scientific approach to knowledge development
    • demonstrated through appropriate and relevant assessment
    2-5, 7-9
    Teamwork and communication skills
    • developed from, with, and via the SGDE
    • honed through assessment and practice throughout the program of studies
    • encouraged and valued in all aspects of learning
    Career and leadership readiness
    • technology savvy
    • professional and, where relevant, fully accredited
    • forward thinking and well informed
    • tested and validated by work based experiences
    Intercultural and ethical competency
    • adept at operating in other cultures
    • comfortable with different nationalities and social contexts
    • able to determine and contribute to desirable social outcomes
    • demonstrated by study abroad or with an understanding of indigenous knowledges
    Self-awareness and emotional intelligence
    • a capacity for self-reflection and a willingness to engage in self-appraisal
    • open to objective and constructive feedback from supervisors and peers
    • able to negotiate difficult social situations, defuse conflict and engage positively in purposeful debate
  • Learning Resources
    Required Resources
    Lecture notes will be uploaded on MyUni prior to the lectures.
    Recommended Resources
    Appropriate reference books and papers will be mentioned by lecturers with the aim of providing an awareness of the literature resources in their subject area. Some general introductory texts worth viewing in the University of Adelaide Waite Library (in the Reserve Collection) are:

    1) Environmental soil and water chemistry : principles and applications by V.P. Evangelou – Waite library location code 628.5E924e
    2) Soils and environmental quality by Gary M. Pierzynski, J. Thomas Sims, George F. Vance – Waite library location code 628.55 P624.3
    3) Principles of ecotoxicology by C.H. Walker - Waite library location code 577.27 W177p.2
    4) Environmental Chemistry, Ninth Edition by Stanley E. Manahan, CRC Press, 2010. In Waite Library Reserve.
    Online Learning
    Academic Writing
    Online resources are available for ‘Writing and Speaking at Uni’ through MyUni.
    All printed learning guides can be accessed HERE.

    Students can find scientific papers, peer-reviewed articles, and books through the University of Adelaide library.
    Use the Web of Science to access multiple databases that reference cross-disciplinary research. This can be accessed via this LINK (Uni-Log-in required) or through EndNote.

    A useful website on how to avoid plagiarism, plus other learning tools, can be found HERE.
  • Learning & Teaching Activities
    Learning & Teaching Modes
    The course is an intensive3 week course: two weeks of contact time, with the third week dedicated for completion of assignments and preparation for the final examination.

    The course will consist of 22 lectures, 2 exams, 5 practicals, 1 compulsory field trip* (scheduled in conjunction with 2 practicals), and 8 tutorials. The first exam is held at the end of Week 1. The final exam is held at the end of Week 3, after the two weeks of contact time.

    *Students who do not attend the field trip will be required to write an assignment that requires comparable intellectual and temporal investment as expended by students on the field trip

    The information below is provided as a guide to assist students in engaging appropriately with the course requirements.

    A student enrolled in a short intensive 3 unit course such as this should expect to spend, on average 48 hours per week on the studies required. This includes both the formal contact time required to the course (e.g., lectures and practicals), as well as non-contact time (e.g., reading and revision).
    Learning Activities Summary
    The course will cover the following topics:
    Basic soil and water science
    Environmental contaminants: inorganic and organic
    Fate and behaviour of contaminants
    Environmental toxicology
    Risk assessment
    Environmental remediation
    Special topics (e.g. Acid sulphate soils, Nanomaterials in the environment, and EPA and site contamination)

    Students will learn how the properties of contaminants can influence their environmental distribution and transformation, how the characteristics of the environment can influence their toxicity to organisms, and to identify the appropriate methodologies for remediation.

    The practical application of these concepts will be highlighted through a field trip to a local mining site.
    Specific Course Requirements
    Students are required to participate in the Brukunga site field trip and to attend practicals. Students who do not attend the field trip will be required to write a replacement assignment that requires comparable intellectual and temporal investment as expended by students on the field trip.
    Small Group Discovery Experience
    Groups of 3-4 are formed at the start of the course for the field trip.  Students work in groups collecting samples in the field, and then analysing these samples as a group in the subseqiuent laboratory practicals. Students interpret the data as a group but write up the work individually as a major assignment.
  • Assessment

    The University's policy on Assessment for Coursework Programs is based on the following four principles:

    1. Assessment must encourage and reinforce learning.
    2. Assessment must enable robust and fair judgements about student performance.
    3. Assessment practices must be fair and equitable to students and give them the opportunity to demonstrate what they have learned.
    4. Assessment must maintain academic standards.

    Assessment Summary
    Assessment Task Assessment Type Percentage of total assessment for grading purposes Hurdle (YES or NO) Approximate timing of assessment learning Outcome Being Assessed
    Brukunga project (*field trip) Formative and Summative 30 YES Due 2 weeks after final exam 8,9
    Practical Reports Formative and Summative 20 NO Due 2 weeks after final exam 8,9
    Short Exam Formative and Summative 10 NO End of Week 1 1-5
    Final Exam  Summative 40 NO End of Week 3 1-7
    Assessment Related Requirements
    The Brukunga project has a hurdle requirement. This assessment task is marked based on the report submitted at the end of the course. It is considered essential in demonstrating comprehensive knowledge and understanding of the course, particularly on the application of theory learned in the lectures.

    As such, students must achieve at least 40% in this component to pass.

    Students who do not attend the field trip will be required to write an assignment that requires comparable intellectual and temporal investment as expended by students on the field trip
    Assessment Detail
    Brukunga project (30%)
    Students will prepare a report (~20 pages) based on the practicals included in the Brukunga field trip. The report will be marked on presentation, data presentation and analysis, data interpretation, and conclusions. A tutorial will be organised on data analysis and interpretation, and a tutorial will also be given on report preparation and style, to assist students in completing this assessment task.

    Practicals (20%)
    Students will prepare a total of 5 reports (2-3 pages, worth 4% each) for each of the practicals (excludes the Brukunga project related practicals). The report will be marked on presentation, data presentation and analysis, data interpretation, and conclusions.

    Short Exam (10%)
    Students will complete a 1-hour short exam at the end of Week 1. The short exam will cover topics from Week 1. It will consist mostly of multiple choice and short answer questions. A tutorial will be dedicated in Week 2 to discuss the results of the exam.

    Final Exam (40%)
    Students will complete one 3-hour examination at the end of the third week of the course. The exam will cover all topics. It will consist of multiple choice questions, short and long answer questions, including calculations. A tutorial will be dedicated at the end of Week 2 to help review/prepare for the exams.
    Brukunga project (30%): Field trip is scheduled during Week 1. Reports are due at the end of the course (Week 3).
    Practicals (20%): Students are given 2 weeks after the final exam to submit the reports.
    Short Exam (10%): Students will complete the exam at the end of Week 1.
    Final Exam (40%): Students will complete the exam at the end of the third week of the course.
    Course Grading

    Grades for your performance in this course will be awarded in accordance with the following scheme:

    M10 (Coursework Mark Scheme)
    Grade Mark Description
    FNS   Fail No Submission
    F 1-49 Fail
    P 50-64 Pass
    C 65-74 Credit
    D 75-84 Distinction
    HD 85-100 High Distinction
    CN   Continuing
    NFE   No Formal Examination
    RP   Result Pending

    Further details of the grades/results can be obtained from Examinations.

    Grade Descriptors are available which provide a general guide to the standard of work that is expected at each grade level. More information at Assessment for Coursework Programs.

    Final results for this course will be made available through Access Adelaide.

  • Student Feedback

    The University places a high priority on approaches to learning and teaching that enhance the student experience. Feedback is sought from students in a variety of ways including on-going engagement with staff, the use of online discussion boards and the use of Student Experience of Learning and Teaching (SELT) surveys as well as GOS surveys and Program reviews.

    SELTs are an important source of information to inform individual teaching practice, decisions about teaching duties, and course and program curriculum design. They enable the University to assess how effectively its learning environments and teaching practices facilitate student engagement and learning outcomes. Under the current SELT Policy ( course SELTs are mandated and must be conducted at the conclusion of each term/semester/trimester for every course offering. Feedback on issues raised through course SELT surveys is made available to enrolled students through various resources (e.g. MyUni). In addition aggregated course SELT data is available.

  • Student Support
  • Policies & Guidelines
  • Fraud Awareness

    Students are reminded that in order to maintain the academic integrity of all programs and courses, the university has a zero-tolerance approach to students offering money or significant value goods or services to any staff member who is involved in their teaching or assessment. Students offering lecturers or tutors or professional staff anything more than a small token of appreciation is totally unacceptable, in any circumstances. Staff members are obliged to report all such incidents to their supervisor/manager, who will refer them for action under the university's student’s disciplinary procedures.

The University of Adelaide is committed to regular reviews of the courses and programs it offers to students. The University of Adelaide therefore reserves the right to discontinue or vary programs and courses without notice. Please read the important information contained in the disclaimer.