Humans have polluted the entire planet with various chemicals resulting in adverse human and environmental health impacts. This research will develop biological technologies for removing contamination from the environment. We will work with nature to address our careless human legacy!

VIP ChallENG research goals

The goal of this project is to deliver a biological remediation option to clean up contaminant source areas in Homebush Bay adjacent to the Rhodes Peninsula to mitigate ongoing distribution of contaminants throughout Sydney Harbour.

Your research team will:

  • Cultivate and characterise pollutant degrading bacterial cultures
  • Produce a chemical amendment mixture to support bacterial activity
  • Characterise harbour sediment properties
  • Conduct laboratory trials of amendment delivery approaches
ChallENG Area

Vertically Integrated Projects

Research Areas
  • Microbiology
  • Biotechnology
  • Chemistry
  • Chemical Engineering
  • Environmental Engineering
  • Environmental Science

The story behind the project

In the 1960’s Sydney was home to a chemical manufacturing industry that produced Agent Orange as part of Australia’s contribution to the Vietnam war effort. Union Carbide operated on the Rhodes Peninsula adjacent to Homebush Bay. This industrial activity resulted in heavy contamination of the land and harbour sediments in the area. Dioxins are a highly toxic byproduct of Agent Orange production. Not only has this resulted in horrendous health impacts throughout Vietnam, it has ranked Sydney Harbour as one of the top three most dioxin contaminated harbours in the world. There is currently no economically viable remediation solution to deal with the contaminated Homebush Bay sediments. We are working with Transport for NSW and NSW EPA to solve the problem.

United Nations Sustainable Development Goals

Life on land: SDG15


✔ 6 UoC per course 


Professional Development

•    Teamwork
•    Leadership
•    Design
•    Communication
•    Integrity
•    Innovation and excellence
•    Diversity
•    Respect
•    Resilience

Industry Partners

  • Microbiology
  • Biotechnology
  • Chemistry
  • Environmental Engineering
  • Environmental Science
  • Bioreactor design
  • Analytical chemistry
  • Bioreactor construction
  • Molecular biology
  • Biochemistry
  • Aquatic chemistry
  • Process control

Team Academic Leads

Dr. Matthew Lee

Room 126 Vallentine Annexe (H22)