Lauren Oldfield

GIS Modeling of the mobility of phosphorus and nitrate loadings from septic systems in the Great Lakes Basin

Septic systems contribute nutrients to the Great Lakes. An estimated 20% of septic systems result in excessive nutrient leaching into groundwater due to poor design, poor maintenance and inappropriate site conditions. Many waterfront residences along the shores of the Great Lakes are located where the conditions (e.g., high water table and permeable soils) are not suitable for the use of septic systems. In many Great Lakes coastal communities, small seasonal cottages are being replaced by large year-round homes that continue to use septic systems despite considerable increases in water use. Septage from septic tank pumping and temporary toilets applied to land is also a source of groundwater nutrient pollution. Currently, the ability in assessing contaminant loadings from septic systems to Great Lakes Waters via groundwater and subsurface transport is limited. Thus, a model will be created to provide a means for assigning realistic estimates of loadings to the Great Lakes and Great Lake Waters via groundwater. This will result in an improved understanding of the impact of septic systems in Ontario on the Great Lakes and Great Lakes Waters and provide tools to better incorporate septic systems into phosphorus inventories and loading calculations, as well as facilitating the assessment of groundwater as a transport mechanism for contaminants into the Great Lakes.

Personal Background

I completed my Bachelors from McMaster University with an Honours degree in Integrated Science in Earth and Environmental Science. During my undergrad, I participated in numerous research opportunities ranging from pedagogy to geology and contaminant hydrogeology. My undergraduate degree cumulated in my thesis in which I studied the effects of road salt contamination in Georgetown and Stouffville, ON. I am passionate about the Great Lakes and protecting the quality of the largest source of fresh water in the world. I have completed the course requirements for the Association of Professional Geoscientists of Ontario (APGO), and I plan to obtain this certification in the future. I began my Master's degree here at Western with RESTORE in July 2016.

Publications

McNeill-Jewer C, Vu J, Oldfield L, Anderson R, Paddy M, Fisher S (2015). Mapping the impacts of Iceland's Katla subglacial volcano on the Myrdalsjkull glacier. Cartographica. 50(3), pp. 195-203. {Published online: September 8, 2015}

Awards


  • Ontario Graduate Scholarship - 2016
  • Vale Canada Ltd Scholarship in Environmental Science - 2015
  • Walker/Middleton Fieldwork Scholarship - 2015
  • The Helen Emery Scholarships in Environmental Science - 2014
  • The McMaster President's Award - 2012/2013

Select Conference

Feist S, Oldfield L. (2015). Exploring the hidden stories locked within sediment and water in Hidden River Cave, Horse Cave, Kentucky. Geologic Society of America - Annual Meeting / T193. Sedimentary Environment and Process Studies: The Emerging Generation of Scientists, Baltimore, United States. Poster Presentation.

Oldfield L. (2015). Mapping the impacts of Iceland's Katla subglacial volcano on the Myrdalsj.kull glacier. Geologic Society of America - Annual Meeting / T58. Undergraduate Research Talks: The Next Step in Student Research Projects, Baltimore, United States.

Feist S, Oldfield L. (2015). Exploring the hidden stories locked within sediment and water in Hidden River Cave, Horse Cave, Kentucky. Geologic Society of America - Annual Meeting / GeoCareers in Industry Student Poster Session, Baltimore, United States.

McNeill-Jewer C, Oldfield L. (2015). Mapping the impacts of Iceland's Katla subglacial volcano on the Myrdalsjokull glacier. ESRI Teaching and Learning Conference / GIS in Education and Research, Toronto, Canada.