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Battelle Applied Genomics Today

Battelle Applied Genomics Today

Featured Expert: Ramona Darlington: Senior Research Scientist

Ramona Darlington

Ramona Darlington is cleaning up for the U.S. Armed Forces and the oil & gas industry. A Senior Research Scientist and Remediation Engineer on the Battelle Environmental Remediation team, Ramona applies innovative remediation methods to some of today’s toughest contaminant challenges.

Ramona designs remediation systems and manages implementation of remediation projects for Battelle clients. In her eight years with Battelle, she has designed and managed numerous remediation projects for the U.S. Navy, U.S. Air Force and oil & gas clients. Many of these projects have focused on chlorinated solvents, petroleum hydrocarbons and emerging contaminants. Ramona brings extensive experience in soil and groundwater remediation, fate and transport, microbiology, geochemistry, compound specific isotope analysis and sustainability. Her remediation technology experience includes in situ chemical oxidation, bioremediation, biogeochemical transformation, anaerobic oxidation, air sparging/biosparging and chemical reduction. 

Her primary focus is on bioremediation, in which microbes directly break down contaminants, and biogeochemical transformation processes, in which microbes are used to stimulate a geochemical reaction to aid degradation. She is working to find new remediation methods for contaminants that do not respond to standard treatments.

“The sites that are easy to clean up have for the most part already been done,” Ramona explains. “What we are left with at our remediation sites are more difficult challenges that need more innovative approaches. We’re continuing to conduct research to better understand the mechanisms of remediation and learn how to apply these methods to a broader range of contaminants.”

Recent projects have included high resolution site characterization methods to characterize a fractured bedrock site contaminated with chlorinated solvents and chlorobenzenes (watch her webinar here). She also led an internal research and development project to examine the efficacy of fungal enzymes for treatment of heavily weathered crude oils, and holds a patent for Enzyme Formulation and Method for Degradation. Based on the positive results of this study, the method is now being applied to client samples for an oil and gas remediation project. Ramona is now looking at the efficacy of fungal enzymes for other hard-to-treat contaminants. She is also the co-Principal Investigator on a Department of Defense (DoD) Strategic Environmental Research and Development Program (SERDP) project, Abiotic Transformation of Chloroethenes in Low Permeability Formations.

Ramona currently serves as the Emerging Contaminant Practice Leader at Battelle. In this role, she acts as a subject matter expert for internal teams and Battelle clients on emerging contaminants such as 1,4-dioxane, a solvent used in several industrial processes, and per- and polyfluorinated alkyl compounds (PFAs), commonly found in firefighting foams. She is leading research efforts at Battelle to find new treatment methods and better analytical techniques to address these growing environmental challenges.

Ramona’s work at Battelle builds on her doctoral research at Clemson University, where she completed her dissertation on Laboratory Evaluation of Chlorinated Ethene Transformation in Fractured Sandstone. She holds a Ph.D. in Environmental Engineering and Science with an emphasis in Bioremediation and Environmental Chemistry from Clemson. She earned her M.E. in Civil and Environmental Engineering from Tennessee State University and her B.S. in Chemistry from the University of the West Indies in Trinidad.