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Healthy Farms




1: Civil and Environmental Engineering

Faculty Supervisor:

Desiree Plata

Faculty email:


Apply by:

February 11, 2021


Kristen Riedinger: krieding@mit.edu

Project Description

The goal of the project is to evaluate the quality of water and soil at 100+ farms in Massachusetts by performing a targeted analysis of potential contaminants. This is done by coordinating with local farmers to collect water and soil samples, then preparing the samples and evaluating their contents using appropriate analytical techniques. The UROP will involve preparing for and participating in late spring sampling and analysis. Participant will learn proper preparation of glassware, instrument calibration, field sampling protocols, and one or two of the following preparatory and analytical techniques: acid digestion with inductively coupled plasma mass spectrometry (ICP-MS), total organic carbon/nitrogen (TOC/N), liquid-liquid extraction (LLE) and gas chromatography. Eventual aims of this project are to investigate possible sources of contamination (e.g., such as EPA “Superfund” sites) and to create a procedure for farmers to sample their own resources.


Some experience with chemistry would be beneficial; attention to detail and ability to follow protocols carefully are strongly preferred.