Stephen R. Hutchins
Stephen Hutchins, Environmental Scientist
Dr. Hutchins is a research environmental scientist in GWERD's Ecosystem and Subsurface Protection Branch. He holds a B.S. in Biology from the New Mexico Institute of Mining and Technology and a Ph.D. in Environmental Science from Rice University. Before coming to EPA, he worked as a research scientist for Advanced Mineral Technologies, Inc., where he conducted research on pretreatment of refractory gold ores by thermophilic microorganisms.
Dr. Hutchins’s previous work at GWERD includes extensive investigation into the feasibility of using nitrate as an alternate electron acceptor for stimulating anaerobic biodegradation of petroleum hydrocarbons for in situ bioremediation of contaminated aquifers. This involved both field and laboratory studies and focused on three separate sites: Traverse City, Michigan; Park City, Kansas; and Eglin Air Force Base in Florida. In all cases, corresponding batch (and sometimes column) microcosm studies were conducted to better define the controlling parameters, practical limits, and relative contributions of competing processes. This research has resulted in numerous presentations at scientific and technical meetings, as well as several published papers and reports.
Dr. Hutchins’s research area is concentrated animal feeding operations (CAFOs) and now conducts a new research program on the effects of CAFOs on groundwater quality. This field-based project is designed to evaluate whether land application of swine waste at selected commercial facilities can adversely affect groundwater quality. The focus is not only on nutrients, but feed antibiotics and natural and synthetic hormones. Results from this research program will be used to help determine whether groundwater aquifers are at risk from these types of operations and to aid in the development of sound risk management strategies for optimizing land use practices in the animal industry.