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Ania Ulrich, PhD, PEng



Civil and Environmental Engineering

About Me


  • Ph.D. in Chemical Engineering and Applied Chemistry, University of Toronto, Toronto, ON, 2004
  • B.Sc. in Chemical Engineering, University of Alberta, Edmonton, AB, 1999

Professional Experience

  • 2008 to present, Assistant Professor, Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering, University of Alberta
  • 2006-2007, Research Associate, Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering, University of Alberta
  • 2004-2006, Remediation Engineer, Golder Associates Ltd., Mississauga, ON and Edmonton, AB.

Professional Affiliations

  • Professional Engineer, Association of Professional Engineers, Geologists, and Geophysicists of Alberta (APEGGA)
  • Association of Environmental Engineering and Science Professors (AEESP)
  • Canadian Society for Chemical Engineering (CSChE)
  • Canadian Society for Chemistry
  • Canadian Geotechnical Society


Research Interests

Transformation of organic compounds by microorganism

Several techniques exist to treat contaminated aquifers. These range from excavation and subsequent treatment of groundwater or pump and treat methods to in-situ remediation via biological or chemical transformation of hazardous materials in non-toxic compounds. Of these techniques, in-situ bioremediation has the potential to provide an efficient and cost-effective remediation procedure while minimizing site disturbance. Bioremediation is defined as the biological breakdown of organic compounds by microorganisms to non-harmful end products. To implement and monitor bioremediation a fundamental understanding of how organic compounds are transformed and which microorganisms are involved is needed. Our research is currently focused on microbial transformations of naphthenic acids, polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons and BTEX compounds.

Research Currently in Progress

Characterization and remediation of soil and groundwater systems impacted by tailings ponds

Due to the operational necessities in the oil sands industry, out-of-pit tailings ponds are constructed to contain the tailings and process-affected (PA) water before in-pit placement can be effected. There are a number of locations on oil sands leases where the tailings ponds will be sited over buried sand channels, relict from previous glacial rivers. Preliminary modeling of these tailings ponds indicates that PA seepage will infiltrate into underlying sand channels, but the development and extent of this impact is dependent upon local geology, dyke construction, pond fluids and filling history.

The overall objectives are:

  • To understand the fate and transport of PA water through native sediments (including hydrogeologic behavior and biogeochemical transformations)
  • To explore different remediation strategies for groundwater ranging from monitored natural attenuation to in-situ chemical oxidation

Refereed Publications

    Ulrich, A.C., Armstrong, J., Tappenden, K. and K. Biggar. 2008. Effect of Cold Temperatures on Natural Attenuation Rates of BTEX. Submitted to Canadian Geotechnical Journal.

    Mancini, S.A., Devine, C.E., Elsner, M., Nandi, M.E., Ulrich, A.C., Edwards, E.A. and B. Sherwood Lollar. 2008. Isotopic Evidence for Different Initial Reaction Mechanisms for Anaerobic Benzene Biodegradation. Submitted to Environ. Sci. Technol.

    Ulrich, A.C., Guigard, S.E., Foght, J.M., Semple, K., Pooley, K. and K. Biggar. 2008. Effect of Salt on Aerobic Biodegradation of Petroleum Hydrocarbons in Contaminated Groundwater. Accepted by Biodegradation.

    Ulrich, A.C., Beller, H.R. and E.A. Edwards. 2005. Metabolites Detected During Biodegradation of 13C6-Benzene in Nitrate-Reducing and Methanogenic Enrichment Cultures. Environ. Sci. Technol. 39:6681-6691.

    Ulrich, A.C., and E.A. Edwards. 2003. Physiological and Molecular Characterization of Anaerobic Benzene-Degrading Mixed Cultures. Environ. Microbiol. 5: 92-102.

    Mancini, S.A., Ulrich, A.C., Lacrampe-Couloume, G., Sleep, B., Edwards, E.A., and B. Sherwood Lollar. 2003. Carbon and Hydrogen Isotopic Fractionation During Anaerobic Biodegradation of Benzene. Appl. Environ. Microbiol. 69:191-198.

Conferences and Symposia

    Ulrich, A.C., Biggar, K., Armstrong, J., VanStempvoort, Tappenden, K., and P. Rogers. Impact of Cold Temperatures on Biodegradation Rates. 59th Canadian Geotechnical Conference and 7th Joint IAH-CNC/CGS Groundwater Specialty Conference, Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada. October 1-4, 2006.

    Mancini, S.A., Hirschorn, S., Ulrich, A.C., Lacrampe-Couloume, G., Edwards, E.A., and B. Sherwood Lollar. Advantages of Estimating Biodegradation Rates in Subsurface Environments Using Compound Specific Isotope Analysis.Geological Society of America Annual Meeting & Exposition, Salt Lake City, Utah, USA. October 16-19, 2005.

    Mancini, S.A., Elsner, M., Ulrich, A.C., Lacrampe-Couloume, G., Sleep, B., Edwards, E.A., and B. Sherwood Lollar. Elucidating Pathways of Benzene Biodegradation in Subsurface Environments using Isotope Analysis. 8th International In-Situ and On-Site Bioremediation Symposium, Baltimore, Maryland, USA. June 6- 9, 2005.

    Mancini, S.A., Ulrich A.C., Elsner, M., Lacrampe-Couloume, G., Sleep, B., Edwards, E.A., and B. Sherwood Lollar. Elucidating Mechanisms of Benzene Biodegradation in Subsurface Environments using Carbon and Hydrogen Isotope Analysis. Annual Meeting of the Geological Society of America, Denver, Colorado, USA. November 7-10, 2004.

    Da Silva, M.L.B., Ulrich, A.C., Edwards, E.A., and P.J.J. Alvarez. Enhanced Biodegradation of BTEX-Ethanol Mixtures through Bioaugmentation with Competent Methanogenic Consortia. In Situ and On-Site Bioremediation: The Seventh International Symposium, Orlando, Florida, June 2-5, 2003.

    Ulrich, A.C., Whang, C., and E. A. Edwards. Isolation of Two Defined Co-Cultures Capable of Anaerobic Benzene Degradation.American Society for Microbiology, 102nd General Meeting, Salt Lake City, Utah, USA. May 19-23, 2002.

    Ulrich, A.C., and E.A. Edwards. A Single Species Dominates in a Benzene- Degrading Nitrate-Reducing Enrichment Culture.9th International Symposium on Microbial Ecology (ISME), Amsterdam, The Netherlands. August 26-31, 2001.

    Ulrich, A.C., and E.A. Edwards. Molecular Characterization of Anaerobic Consortia Degrading Benzene or Trichloroethene.American Chemical Society National Meeting, San Diego, California. April 1-5, 2001.

Relevant Technical Reports

    Biggar, K.W., and Ulrich, A.C. 2007. Drilling Waste Sump Study, Inuvik, NWT. Report to Environment Canada, Western Arctic Section, Environmental Conservation, Canadian Wildlife Services, 46p.

    Ulrich, A.C., Donahue, R., and Biggar, K.W. 2006. Suncor South Tailings Pond research project 2006 groundwater monitoring and soil program annual report. Report to Suncor Energy Inc., Mining Group. 92p.

    Biggar K.W., Ulrich, A.C., and Tappenden, K. 2006. Impact of cold temperatures on biodegradation rates for natural attenuation of petroleum hydrocarbons.Report to Alberta Environment, Water Research Users Group.Pub No. 809, ISBN No. 0-7785- 4041-3 (Printed Edition), ISBN No. 0-7785-4042-1 (On-line Edition), 15p.

    Mitton, M.J., Ulrich, A.C., Richer, H.S., and Beneteau, K.. 2006. Final Soil and Groundwater Long-Term Monitoring Plan, Wabamun Derailment Site, Canadian National Railway Company, PIN 2401257, Wabamun, AB. Golder Associates Ltd. 103p.

    Mitton, M.J., Ulrich, A.C., Noel de Tilly, R., and Richer, H.S. 2006. Final Detailed Remediation Plan, Wabamun Derailment Site, Canadian National Railway Company, PIN 2401257, Wabamun, AB. Golder Associates Ltd. 126p.