Colorado School of Mines
Department of Civil & Environmental Engineering
Coolbaugh Hall
1012 14th St., Golden, CO 80401, USA
Tel: (303)-384-2002
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  • PhD, Civil and Environmental Engineering, Stanford University, Stanford, CA, 2007
  • MS, Civil and Environmental Engineering, Stanford University, Stanford, CA, 2002
  • BA, Chemistry and Chemical Biology, Harvard University, Cambridge, MA, 1998


Dr. Higgins' research focuses on the fate, transport, and bioaccumulation of emerging contaminants in aquatic and terrestrial systems. Current research projects are examining:

  • the potential for bioaccumulation of organic contaminants (including pharmaceuticals, personal care products, and perfluorochemicals) into foodcrops from reclaimed water;
  • the bioaccumulation of organic contaminants from biosolids-amended soils;
  • the fate of perfluorochemicals in groundwater systems, particularly in the presence of co-contaminants;
  • the development of analytical methods for the detection and quantification of inorganic nanoparticles in environmental and biological media; and
  • the fate of organic contaminants in wastewater treatment plants.


Grebel, J., Mohanty, S., Torkelson, A., Boehm, A., Higgins, C.P., Maxwell, R., Neslon, K. and D.L. Sedlak. 2013. Engineered Infiltration Systems for Urban Stormwater Reclamation. Environmental Engineering Science, 30(8): 437-454. DOI:10.1089/ees.2012.0312

Guelfo, J.L. and C.P. Higgins. 2013. Subsurface transport potential of perfluoroalkyl acids at aqueous film-forming foam (AFFF)-impacted sites. Environmental Science and Technology, 47 (9):4164–4171. DOI:10.1021/es3048043

Reed, R.B., Goodwin, D.G., Marsh, K.P., Capracotta, S., Higgins, C.P., Fairbrother, H., and J.F. Ranville. 2013. Detection of single walled carbon nanotubes by monitoring embedded metal nanoparticles. Environmental Science: Processes and Impacts. 15: 204-213. DOI:10.1039/c2em30717k

Teerlink, J., Martinez-Hernandez, V., Higgins, C.P. and J.E. Drewes. 2012. Removal of Trace Organic Chemicals in Onsite Wastewater Soil Treatment Units: A Laboratory Experiment. Water Research, 46:5174-5184. DOI:10.1016/j.watres.2012.06.024

Pace, H.E., Rogers, N.J., Coleman, V.A., Gray, E.P., Higgins, C.P., and J.F. Ranville. 2012. Single Particle Inductively Coupled Plasma-Mass Spectrometry: A Performance Evaluation and Method Comparison in the Determination of Nanoparticle Size. Environmental Science and Technology. 46(20):12272-12280. DOI:10.1021/es301787d:

Hyland, K.C., Dickenson, E., Drewes, J.E., and C.P. Higgins. 2012. Sorption of Ionized and Neutral Emerging Trace Organic Compounds onto Activated Sludge from Different Wastewater Treatment Configurations. Water Research. 46: 1958-1968. DOI:10.1016/j.watres.2012.01.012

Sepulvado, J.G., Blaine, A.C., Hundal, L.S. and C.P. Higgins. 2011. Occurrence and Fate of Perfluorochemicals in Soil Following the Land Application of Municipal Biosolids. Environmental Science & Technology. 45(19):8106-8112. DOI: 10.1021/es103903d

Higgins, C.P., Paesani, Z., Chalew, T.E.A., Halden, R.U. and L. Hundal. Persistence and Bioaccumulation of Triclocarban and Triclosan in Soils after Land Application of Biosolids. Environmental Toxicology & Chemistry. In Pres.

Higgins, C.P., McLeod, P.B., MacManus-Spencer, L.A, and R.G. Luthy. 2007. Bioaccumulation of Perfluorochemicals in Sediments by the Aquatic Oligochaete, Lumbriculus variegatus. Environmental Science & Technology. 41(13): 4600-4606.

Higgins, C.P., and R.G. Luthy. 2007 Modeling Surfactant Sorption onto Sediment Materials: An a priori Approach for Perfluorochemical Surfactants and Linear Alkylbenzene Sulfonates. Environmental Science & Technology. 41(9): 3254-3261 and addendum 41(17): 6316.

Higgins, C.P., Field, J.A., Criddle, C.S., and R.G. Luthy. 2005. Quantitative Determination of Perfluorochemicals in Sediments and Domestic Sludge. Environmental Science & Technology. 39(11): 3946-3956.

Werner, D., Higgins, C.P., and R.G. Luthy. 2005. The sequestration of PCBs in Lake Hartwell sediment with activated carbon. Water Research. 39(10): 2105-2113.

Higgins, C.P. 2003. 3M and the Withdrawal of PFOS: TSCA, Product Liability, and the Precautionary Principle. Environmental Law Reporter. 33(1): 10062-10067.

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