Nicole Rivera

Nicole Rivera
Mentor: Dr. Treavor Boyer
Engineering School of Sustainable Infrastructure & Environment
"I got involved in research because I wanted to expand my knowledge in a more hands on fashion."


Environmental Engineering



Research Interests

  • Sustainability
  • Source Separation of Urine
  • Nutrient Recovery and Reuse

Academic Awards

  • UF University Scholars Program
  • Deans List


  • Kappa Delta Sorority
  • Society of Women Engineers
  • Society of Environmental Engineers

Hobbies and Interests

  • Traveling
  • Paddleboarding
  • Reading

Research Description

Destruction of Pharmaceuticals by Advanced Oxidation Processes in Ion-Exchange Regeneration Brine
Pharmaceuticals act as micro-pollutants in wastewater systems due to increased usage and improper disposal. Conventional wastewater treatment methods are either inefficient or ineffective at removing these pharmaceuticals, thus allowing them to enter the environment via the wastewater effluent. A contributing source of pharmaceuticals in wastewater is due to urine, where ~70% of consumed pharmaceuticals are excreted; however urine only makes up 1% of the volumetric flow of wastewater. Thus, urine source separation has been proposed as an efficient method to isolate a concentrated waste stream to efficiently remove these micro-pollutants. A proposed method for removal of these pharmaceuticals in urine is sorption by anion-exchange resins. The two main objectives for this research are to (1) decompose pharmaceuticals in the regeneration brine of these resins by advanced oxidation processes (AOP) using UV and H2O2, and (2) determine the minimum optimal concentration of methanol needed to efficiently regenerate the resin. Oxidation of organic compounds by UV and H2O2 produces hydroxyl radicals, which interact with the organic compounds and facilitate their degradation.