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Uzair Akbar Khan

Uzair Akbar Khan
My research interests include development of sustainable systems and nature-based solutions for water and wastewater treatment with an emphasis on water reuse especially in cold climate regions. My work is also focused on mitigation of water pollution and environmental impacts of high pollution load sectors of the economy. I am particularly interested in the fate of contaminants (both inorganic and organic) in the environment and their reactive transport through soil and water.


I am a Postdoctoral Researcher at Department of Aquatic Sciences and Assessment at SLU. My research comprises approaches to study occurrence of hazardous pollutants in wastewater streams, their impact on water reuse, and subsequently develop strategies to improve their removal and hence reduce obstacles in achieving a circular economy in terms of water reuse. With a background in civil and environmental engineering, I like to study and develop nature-based solutions (e.g., constructed and natural wetlands, and woodchip bioreactors) for removal of metals, nutrients, and organic pollutants to promote safe reuse of wastewater. Biogeochemical and hydraulic processes inside many nature-based systems, and the effects of environmental parameters and climate change on these processes are not well-understood. My work strives to improve our understanding through identification and optimization of parameters for safe and efficient design and operation of wastewater and water treatment facilities.

My research activities focus on:

  • Global trends in water reuse and safe water reuse strategies
  • Nature based solutions for water and wastewater treatment
  • Environmental impacts, and soils and water pollution from high pollution load sectors and strategies to minimize their impact while restoring affected areas.
  • Reactive transport modeling of water and contaminants through soil and water


Current Projects:

To reuse or not: is purified wastewater a non-toxic and sustainable resource for the future? (REASSURE), 2022, Swedish Environmental Protection Agency.

Restoration of mine-water affected areas though controlled groundwater level fluctuations and novel permeable reactive barriers (RestPeat), 2022, Support Foundation for Geo and Water Technology (MVTT)

Research Supervision (Master Students):

Swagata Saha (2022-Present), Faculty of Technology, University of Oulu (main supervisor)

Mira Kehusmaa (2021-2022), Faculty of Technology, University of Oulu (main Supervisor)

Vera Luostarinen (2020-2021), Faculty of Technology, University of Oulu (co-supervisor)

Suresh Kumar Panjwani (2017-2018), Faculty of Technology, University of Oulu (co-supervisor)


09/2022 Post-Doctoral Researcher at Department of Aquatic Sciences and Assessment, Faculty of Natural Resources and Agricultural Sciences (NJ), Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences, Sweden.

01/2021 Post-Doctoral Researcher at Water, Energy, and Environmental Engineering Research Unit, Faculty of Technology, University of Oulu, Finland. 

12/2020 Doctor of Science (Tech.) in Environmental Engineering, Faculty of Technology, University of Oulu, Finland.

12/2015 Master of Science (Tech.) in Environmental Engineering, Faculty of Technology, University of Oulu, Finland.

03/2007 Bachelor of Science in Civil Engineering, Department of Civil Engineering, University of Engineering and Technology Lahore, Pakistan

Selected publications

Khan, U.A., Kujala, K., Nieminen, S.P., Räisänen, M.L., & Ronkanen, A.-K. (2019). Arsenic, antimony, and nickel leaching from northern peatlands treating mining influenced water in cold climate. Science of The Total Environment, 657, 1161–1172. 

Khan, U.A., Kujala, K., Planer-Friedrich, B., Räisänen, M.L., & Ronkanen, A.-K. (2020). Long-term data reveals the importance of hydraulic load and inflow water quality for Sb removal in boreal treatment peatlands. Ecological Engineering, 148, 105785. 

Heiderscheidt, E., Khan, U.A., Kujala, K., Ronkanen, A.-K., & Postila, H. (2020). Design, construction and monitoring of pilot systems to evaluate the effect of freeze-thaw cycles on pollutant retention in wetlands. Science of The Total Environment, 703, 134713. 

Kujala, K., Laamanen, T., Khan, U.A., Besold, J., & Planer-Friedrich, B. (2022). Kinetics of arsenic and antimony reduction and oxidation in peatlands treating mining-affected waters: Effects of microbes, temperature, and carbon substrate. Soil Biology and Biochemistry, 167, 108598.

Khan, U.A., Luostarinen, V., Ziegelhöfer, A., Kujala, K. (2021). Mobilization of Bound Arsenic and Antimony from Peat used for the Treatment of Mining-Affected Waters. In: 14th International Mine Water Association Congress 2021.