An introduction to properties and composition of natural waters using Team-Based Learning. 

Faculty: Science
Subject: Chemistry
Year / Level: 3
Theme(s): Climate Science



CHEM 301 is an introduction to properties and composition of natural waters. Topics include gas and solid equilibria, pH, redox chemistry, complexation, corrosion treatment, acid rain, ion exchange, colloids and microbial transformations.

CHEM 301 will be using Team-Based Learning (TBL) format for some of its classes. TBL aims to increase your understanding of course concepts by using them to solve authentic, real-world problems such as climate change to help you develop your critical learning skills. The primary class objective shifts to helping you learn how to use course content to solve problems. There is a significant group component in TBL which gives you the opportunity to collaborate with your peers and develop skills such as consensus-building.

Learning outcomes

By the end of the course, students will demonstrate an understanding of:

  1. Properties of natural waters, fundamentals of environmental chemistry
    • Physical properties of water, seasonal cycles in lakes, dissolved gases, carbonate equilibria, buffers, alkalinity, basicity, and hydrolysis of metals.
    • Speciation, coordination, solubility, chelation by natural and anthropogenic ligands.
  2. Redox equilibria – pε, Nernst equation, pε-pH diagrams, corrosion.
  3. Microbial transformations – Microbially mediated redox reactions, transformations of carbon, nitrogen, sulfur and iron, acid rock drainage (ARD).
  4. Phase interactions (Liquid-Solid-Gas) – Sediments, clay minerals, intrinsic solubility, aggregation, sorption, ion exchange, processes in sediments and interstitial waters.
  5. Water pollution – Metals, organometallics, cyanide, nutrients, soaps/detergents, acidity, pesticides, dioxins, PCB's, radioactivity.
  6. Water treatment – Primary, secondary and tertiary treatments, methods for removal of metals, organics and solids, sewage and hazardous waste treatment.


Check SSC to see if the course is currently offered and if you meet pre-requisites etc.

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Read a copy of the course syllabus to see reading lists, assignments, grading, and more.



Anka Lekhi

"In teams, students collaboratively apply the principles learned to understand real-world problems, including the impact of climate change."