Gavin Overbeeke

Characterizing Microbial Subsurface Repopulation Dynamics Following Self-sustaining Treatment for Active Remediation (STAR)

STAR (Self-sustaining Treatment for Active Remediation) is an emerging remediation technology that employs a self-sustaining smouldering reaction to destroy nonaqueous phase liquids (NAPLs) in the subsurface. The reaction is a slow, controlled, flameless exothermic oxidation reaction that proceeds strictly through NAPL-contaminated soil. The reaction front subjects the soil to temperatures between 400°C and 1000°C. As a result, in addition to the in-situ destruction of NAPL, STAR thoroughly dries and sterilizes the soil through which it passes. The objective of my research is to quantify the rate at which microorganisms repopulate the treatment zone, and capture the differences in microbial diversity between pre and post STAR treatments. This information will provide insight into the natural recovery period of microorganisms after STAR treatments.

Personal Background

Gavin graduated from McMaster University with a honours degree in Earth and Environmental Science. During his undergraduate he was involved in a project regarding the remediation of the Athabasca oil sands. He has completed course requirements for the Association of Professional Geoscientists of Ontario (APGO) and looks forward to obtaining certification in the near future. Gavin began his masters in Civil and Environmental Engineering here at Western in September 2014 and looks forward to the rewarding experience of filling in a knowledge gap of a novel remediation technique. During his spare time, Gavin enjoys physical activities such as working out at the gym, ice hockey, snowboarding, soccer and wakeboarding.


  • Walker/Middleton Fieldwork Scholarship - 2013-2014