James Sanders
James Sanders, Ph.D.
Scientist
Ecological & Biological Sciences
District of Columbia

Dr. Sanders is an environmental scientist with six years of experience in environmental chemistry, engineering, toxicology, and risk assessment. He is a multidisciplinary scientist with expertise in the aqueous chemistry, bioavailability, fate and transport of organic and metallic contaminants in sediment and soil. He assists clients with regulatory and litigation matters related to persistent environmental contaminants, industrial effluent, coal combustion residuals, veterinary drugs, and consumer products.

Dr. Sanders is an expert in passive sampling for mercury, methylmercury, trace metals, and organic contaminants, including PCBs, PAHs, and pesticides. During his Ph.D., he developed and tested a novel passive sampling device for methylmercury in sediments and soils. He is also knowledgeable in the area of sediment remediation, having worked with activated carbon as an in situ amendment technology for mercury and PCBs. His Ph.D. research centered on a major Superfund site in the northeastern United States, which afforded him experience working in a regulatory context and collaborating with governmental, industrial, consulting, and academic entities. He has coauthored several successful grant proposals, managed projects, and supervised small teams. As an environmental chemist, Dr. Sanders is proficient in the use of equilibrium chemical speciation modeling software (e.g., MINEQL, MINTEQ, etc.).

CREDENTIALS & PROFESSIONAL HONORS

  • Ph.D., Civil Engineering, University of Maryland, Baltimore County, 2018
  • M.S., Environmental Health, Colorado State University, 2012
  • B.S., Chemistry, Metropolitan State College of Denver, 2008
  • Editor in Chief, Chesapeake Potomac Regional Chapter (CPRC) SETAC Newsletter 2016–2017, 2019–Present

    Vice President/Secretary, Environmental Engineering Delegation to the University of Maryland, Baltimore County Graduate Student Organization, 2013–2016

    First Place Graduate Student Poster, Hudson-Delaware Chapter (HDC) SETAC Spring Meeting, 2017

    Second Place, Geosyntec Student Paper Competition, 2017

    Third Place Platform Presentation, CPRC SETAC Spring Meeting, 2017

    Second Place Environmental Sciences and Engineering Student Poster, Superfund Research Program Annual Meeting, 2016

    Second Place Poster, Foster (Sonny) Mayer Doctoral Presentation Awards, SETAC North America Annual Meeting/World Congress, 2016

    Most Popular Poster, CPRC SETAC Virtual Poster Contest, 2016

    First Place Team, Chesapeake Water Environment Association Student Design Competition, 2014

Publications

Journal Articles

Schwartz, G.E., Sanders, J.P., McBurney, A., Brown, S.S., Ghosh, U., Gilmour, C.C. Impact of dissolved organic matter on mercury and methylmercury sorption to activated carbon in soils: Implications for remediation. Environmental Science: Processes & Impacts. DOI: 10.1039/C8EM00469B.

Sanders, J.P., Andrade, N.A., Ghosh, U. 2018. Evaluation of passive sampling polymers and non-equilibrium adjustment methods in a multi-year surveillance of sediment porewater PCBs. Environmental Toxicology and Chemistry. 37(9):2487–2495. DOI: 10.1002/etc.4223.

Sanders, J.P., Andrade, N.A., Menzie, C.A., Amos, C.B., Gilmour, C.C., Henry, E.A., Brown, S.S., Ghosh, U. 2018. Persistent reductions in the bioavailability of PCBs at a tidally inundated Phragmites australis marsh amended with activated carbon. Environmental Toxicology and Chemistry. 37(9):2496–2505. DOI: 10.1002/etc.4186.

Presentations

Sanders, J.P., Kane Driscoll, S., Ghosh, U., McBurney, A., Gilmour, C.C., Schwartz, G.E., Farrar, J.D., Brown, S.S. 2019. Development and testing of a novel passive sampler for methylmercury in sediment and soil porewaters. Platform presentation at Battelle International Conference on Remediation and Management of Contaminated Sediments, New Orleans, LA, USA.

Sanders, J.P., Ghosh, U., McBurney, A., Gilmour, C.C., Brown, S.S. 2017. Development of a novel passive sampling strategy for methylmercury in sediments and soils. Platform presentation at Superfund Research Program Annual Meeting, Philadelphia, PA, USA.

Sanders, J.P., Ghosh, U., McBurney, A., Gilmour, C.C., Brown, S.S. 2017. Development of a novel passive sampling strategy for methylmercury in sediments and soils. Platform presentation at the 13th International Conference on Mercury as a Global Pollutant, Providence, RI, USA.

Sanders, J.P., Ghosh, U., McBurney, A., Gilmour, C.C., Brown, S.S. 2017. Development of a novel passive sampling strategy for methylmercury in sediments and soils. Poster presented at HDC SETAC Spring Meeting, South Orange, NJ, USA.

Sanders, J.P., Ghosh, U., McBurney, A., Gilmour, C.C., Brown, S.S. 2017. Development of a novel passive sampling strategy for methylmercury in sediments and soils. Platform presentation at CPRC SETAC Spring Meeting, Annapolis, MD, USA.

Sanders, J.P., Ghosh, U., McBurney, A., Gilmour, C.C. 2017. Development of a novel passive sampling strategy for methylmercury in sediments and soils. Invited speaker for Superfund Research Program trainee webinar.

Sanders, J.P., Ghosh, U., McBurney, A., Gilmour, C.C. 2016. Development of a novel passive sampling strategy for methylmercury in sediments and soils. Poster presented at Superfund Research Program Annual Meeting, Durham, NC, USA.

Sanders, J.P., Ghosh, U., McBurney, A., Gilmour, C.C. 2016. Development of a novel passive sampling strategy for methylmercury in sediments and soils. Poster presented at SETAC NA Annual Meeting, Orlando, FL, USA.

Sanders, J.P., Ghosh, U., Schwartz, G.E., McBurney, A., Gilmour, C.C. 2016. Characterizing the partitioning of mercury and methylmercury to activated carbon in the presence of dissolved organic matter. Poster presented at SETAC NA Annual Meeting, Orlando, FL, USA.

Sanders, J.P., Ghosh, U., McBurney, A., Gilmour, C.C. 2016. Activated carbon in remediation and sampling of mercury in sediments. Platform presentation at CPRC SETAC Spring Meeting, Charlottesville, VA, USA.

Sanders, J.P., Ghosh, U., McBurney, A., Gilmour, C.C. 2016. Monitoring and reducing the bioavailability of methylmercury in sediments. Platform presentation at the Investigating, Restoring and Protecting the Urban Water Environment workshop, Indian Institute of Technology, Delhi, India.

Sanders, J.P., Andrade, N.A., Ghosh, U., Menzie, C.A., Amos, B., Henry, E., Brown, S.S. 2015. Reduced PCB bioavailability and bioaccumulation in an activated carbon-amended Phragmites marsh. Platform presentation at CPRC SETAC Annual Meeting, Columbia, MD, USA.

Sanders, J.P., Andrade, N.A., Ghosh, U., Menzie, C.A., Amos, B., Brown, S.S., Henry, E. 2014. Reduced PCB bioavailability and bioaccumulation in an activated carbon-amended Phragmites marsh. Platform presentation at SETAC NA Annual Meeting, Vancouver, Canada.

Sanders, J.P., Andrade, N.A., Ghosh, U. 2014. Reduced PCB bioavailability and porewater concentrations in an activated carbon-amended Phragmites marsh. Poster presented at the Investigating, Restoring and Protecting the Urban Water Environment workshop, Newcastle University, UK.

Prior Experience

Doctoral Research Assistant, University of Maryland, Baltimore County, 2013–2018

Professional Affiliations

American Chemical Society — ACS

Society of Environmental Toxicology and Chemistry — SETAC

  • Chesapeake-Potomac Regional Chapter — CPRC SETAC
  • Hudson-Delaware Regional Chapter — HDC SETAC
Women’s Council on Energy and the Environment — WCEE

Project Experience

Environmental Risk Assessment for Drugs and Consumer Products

Prepared environmental assessments for veterinary drugs undergoing FDA approval for use in broiler chickens or beef and dairy cattle. Followed FDA Center for Veterinary Medicine (CVM) and European Medicines Agency (EMA) guidance in evaluating toxicity studies and calculating Tier A and Tier B risk quotients.

Prepared justifications for categorical exclusion from the US FDA requirement to conduct environmental assessments of human and veterinary drugs. Researched proposed drug use patterns, potential market penetration, and endangered species status in the United States and Europe. Calculated Expected Introduction Concentrations (EIC) based on anticipated discharge from wastewater treatment plants.

Provided technical support for renewal of the EPA registration for a herbicide. Analyzed data from laboratory and soil column studies.

Reviewed the sources, transport, fate, and potential ecological and human health risks of macroplastics in the environment.

Reviewed the environmental risk and regulatory implications of using biosolids generated from pharmaceutical waste streams as soil fertilizers. Researched and documented the regulations governing beneficial waste reuse and land application in the United States, Canada, and the European Union. Investigated the environmental transport and fate of antibiotics and antimicrobial resistance genes.

Environmental Risk Assessment for Persistent Contaminants

Conducted an analysis of state and federal regulations concerning PCBs in the environment. Investigated the scientific bases of sediment quality objectives (SQO), TMDLs, and NPDES permits, along with their relevance to ecological health endpoints, costs incurred by municipalities for stormwater best management practices, and remedial decision making.

Provided research and technical support for Net Environmental Benefits Analyses for six coal-fired power plants. Assessed groundwater hydrology alongside chemistry data for coal ash, soil, groundwater, and surface water to evaluate the potential for coal combustion residuals to migrate and pose risks to human and ecological receptors. Evaluated current and historical compliance with NPDES permits for industrial effluent and stormwater discharges.

Analyzed soil metals data in support of sampling design for risk assessment at a zinc mine.

Researched responsible parties, site histories, and remedy selections for orphan Superfund sites.

Reviewed effluent monitoring data to determine NPDES permit compliance and the potential for environmental harm resulting from metals discharges at a manufacturing facility. Implemented the Biotic Ligand Model to estimate site-specific water quality criteria under EPA’s freshwater WQC rubric.

Researched and summarized the historical, conceptual development of bioaccumulation, bioconcentration, and biomagnification of hydrophobic organic pollutants in the scientific literature.

Researched the habitats, spawning, environmental stressors, and population stability of aquatic species in the vicinity of a marine oil release.

Reviewed the environmental behavior of arsenic species with respect to chemistry, redox cycling, microbial transformation, transport, adsorption to soils, and bioavailability.

Academic Research

Developed a novel passive sampling device for methylmercury in sediment and soil porewaters. Modeled aqueous chemical speciation and conducted tests in water, slurries, and sediment and soil microcosms, including a laboratory bioaccumulation study with the benthic amphipod Leptocheirus plumulosus.

Investigated the influence of complexing ligands on sorption of mercury and methylmercury to activated carbon. Proposed a model of activated carbon-water partitioning as a function of dissolved organic carbon concentrations.

Managed a project using passive samplers to measure trace metals in porewater for a US EPA-led sediment quality triad assessment of a Superfund site. Oversaw secure sample storage and chains of custody.

Monitored concentrations of PCBs in porewater, sediment, and biota at a Superfund site as part of a multi-year, pilot-scale study of engineered, in situ sediment amendment materials.

Additional Information

Peer Reviewer

Environmental Pollution

Environmental Science & Technology

News & Events

CREDENTIALS & PROFESSIONAL HONORS

  • Ph.D., Civil Engineering, University of Maryland, Baltimore County, 2018
  • M.S., Environmental Health, Colorado State University, 2012
  • B.S., Chemistry, Metropolitan State College of Denver, 2008
  • Editor in Chief, Chesapeake Potomac Regional Chapter (CPRC) SETAC Newsletter 2016–2017, 2019–Present

    Vice President/Secretary, Environmental Engineering Delegation to the University of Maryland, Baltimore County Graduate Student Organization, 2013–2016

    First Place Graduate Student Poster, Hudson-Delaware Chapter (HDC) SETAC Spring Meeting, 2017

    Second Place, Geosyntec Student Paper Competition, 2017

    Third Place Platform Presentation, CPRC SETAC Spring Meeting, 2017

    Second Place Environmental Sciences and Engineering Student Poster, Superfund Research Program Annual Meeting, 2016

    Second Place Poster, Foster (Sonny) Mayer Doctoral Presentation Awards, SETAC North America Annual Meeting/World Congress, 2016

    Most Popular Poster, CPRC SETAC Virtual Poster Contest, 2016

    First Place Team, Chesapeake Water Environment Association Student Design Competition, 2014