Peter Knappett

Peter Knappett

Associate Professor


Geogenic contaminants, aquifer, groundwater-surface water, arsenic, fluoride, fecal bacteria, viruses, environmental health, Bangladesh, Mexico, geothermal, urban aquifers

  (979) 845-2006

  Halbouty 254


Groundwater exploitation in the 20th century has allowed humans to grow crops and cities in the middle of deserts. All of that pumping, combined with human activities on the surface and within the subsurface, may have unforeseen consequences on the quality of the water that remains for future generations. I’m interested in predicting the impacts of intensive groundwater pumping on regional groundwater quality. This includes regions with problems with naturally occurring, toxic concentrations of arsenic and fluoride, and regions with anthropogenic contamination at the surface. I’m also interested in how dynamic interactions between rivers and aquifers change the supply and biochemical composition of both. Often, the regions I work in lack reliable geological, geospatial, water level, pumping, and chemical data. Therefore I am often collecting primary field data, and visualizing, modeling and interpreting it using custom software.

Research Themes

  • Vulnerability of Regional Drinking Water Aquifers
  • Groundwater-Surface Water Interactions
  • Hydrogeochemistry
  • Tracers in Hydrology
  • Particle Transport in Porous Media

Active Funded Projects

Project: Collaborative Research: The dynamic iron curtain surrounding fluctuating rivers and its impacts on arsenic fate and transport
Source: NSF – Hydrologic Sciences Program
Period: May 2019-May 2022

Project: Permian Water Management and Value Creation
Source: University Lands
Period: January 2020 - January 2022

Project: Research Experience for Undergraduates (REU) in Costa Rica (Faculty Mentor)
Source: NSF
Period: January 2017 - December 2020

Selected Publications

(*Graduate Student, **Undergraduate Student, #Corresponding Author)

#Knappett, P. S. K.; Li, Y.; Loza, I.; Hernandez, H.; *Aviles, M.; *Haaf, D.; Majumder, S.; *Huang, Y.; **Lynch, B.; *Pina, V.; *Wang, J.; Winkel, L.; Mahlknecht, J.; Datta, S.; Thurston, W.; Terrell, D.; Nordstrom, D. K. Rising Arsenic Concentrations from Dewatering a Geothermally Influenced Aquifer in Central Mexico. Accepted, Wat. Res., 2020.  

*Mihajlov, I.; *Mozumder, M. R. H.; Bostick, B. C.; Stute, M.; Mailloux, B. J.; Knappett, P. S. K.; Choudhury, I.; Ahmed, K. M.; Schlosser, P.; #van Geen, A. Arsenic Contamination of Bangladesh Aquifers Exacerbated by Clay Layers. Nat. Commun., Vol. 11, No. 2244, 2020. DOI: 10.1038/s41467-020-16105-z.

Li, Y.; #Hernandez, H.; *Aviles, M.; Knappett, P. S. K.; Giardino, J. R.; Miranda, R.; Puy, M. J.; Padilla, F.; Morales, J. Empirical Bayesian kriging method to evaluate inter-annual water-table evolution in the Cuenca Alta del Rio Laja aquifer, Guanajuato, Mexico. J. Hydrol., Vol. 582, No. 124517, 2020. DOI: 10.1016/j.jhydrol.2019.124517

*Berube, M.; *Jewell, K.; Myers, K.; #Knappett, P. S. K.; *Shuai, P.; *Hossain, A.; *Lipsi, M.; *Hossain, S.; *Hossain, A.; Peterson, J.; Ahmed, K. M.; Datta, S. The fate of arsenic in groundwater discharged to the Meghna River, Bangladesh. Environ. Chem., Vol. 15, pp. 29-45, 2018. DOI: 10.1071/EN17104

#Knappett, P. S. K.; Li, Y.; Hernandez, H.; **Rodriguez, R.; **Aviles, M.; *Deng, C.; **Pina, V.; Giardino, J. R.; Mahlknecht, J.; Datta, S. Changing Recharge Pathways within an Intensively Pumped Aquifer with High Fluoride Concentrations in Central Mexico. Sci. Total Environ., Vol. 622-623, pp. 1029-1045, 2018. DOI: 10.1016/j.scitotenv.2017.12.031

*Rhodes, K. A.; *Proffitt, T.; *Rowley, T.; #Knappett, P. S. K.; *Montiel, D.; Dimova, N.; *Tebo, D.; G. R. Miller. The importance of bank storage in supplying baseflow to rivers flowing through compartmentalized, alluvial aquifers. Water Resour. Res., 2017. DOI: 10.1002/2017/WR021619

*#Shuai, P.; Cardenas, M. B.; Knappett, P. S. K.; Bennett, P. C.; Nelson, B. T. Denitrification in the banks of fluctuating rivers: the effects of river stage amplitude, sediment hydraulic conductivity and dispersivity, and ambient groundwater flow. Water Resour. Res., Vol. 53, No. 9, pp. 7951-7967, 2017. DOI: 10.1002/2017WR020610

*#Khan, M.; Koneshloo, M.; Knappett, P. S. K.; Ahmed, K. M.; Bostick, B. C.; Mailloux, B. J.; *Mozumder, R. H.; Zahid, A.; Harvey, C. F.; van Geen, A.; Michael, H. A. Mega-city pumping in fluvio-deltaic aquifer creates complex vulnerability of arsenic-safe groundwater to contamination. Nat. Commun., Vol. 7, No. 12833, 2016. DOI: 10.1038/NCOMMS12833

#Knappett, P. S. K.; Mailloux, B. J.; *Choudhury, I.; *Khan, M. R.; Michael, H. A.; *Barua, S.; *Mondal, D. R.; Steckler, M. S.; Akhter, S. H.; Ahmed, K. M.; Bostick, B.; Harvey, C. F.; Shamsudduha, M.; *Mihajlov, I.; *Mozumder, R.; van Geen, A. Vulnerability of Low-Arsenic Aquifers to Municipal Pumping in Bangladesh. J. Hydrol. Vol. 539, pp. 674-686, 2016. DOI: 10.1016/j.hydrol.2016.05.035

#Ferguson, A. S.; Layton, A. C.; Mailloux, B. J.; Culligan, P. J.; Williams, D. E.; Smartt, A. E.; Sayler, G. S; Feighery, J.; McKay, L. D.; Knappett, P. S. K.; Alexandrova, E.; Arbit, T.; Emch, M.; Escamilla, V.; Ahmed, K. M.; Alam, Md., J.; Streatfield, P. K.; Yunus, Md.; van Geen, A. Comparison of Fecal Indicators with Pathogenic Bacteria and Rotavirus in Groundwater. Sci. Total Environ., Vol. 431, pp. 314-322, 2012. DOI: 10.1016/j.scitotenv.2012.05.060

#Knappett, P. S. K.; McKay, L. D.; Layton, A.; Williams, D. W.; Mailloux, B. J.; Alam, Md. J.; Huq, Md. R.; Mey, J.; Feighery, J. E.; Culligan, P. J.; Mailloux, B. J.; Zhuang, J.; Escamilla, V.; Emch, M.; Perfect, E.; Sayler, G. S.; Ahmed, K. M.; van Geen, A. Implications of Fecal Bacteria Input from Latrine-Polluted Ponds for Wells in Sandy Aquifers. Environ. Sci. Technol., Vol. 46, No. 3, pp. 1361-1370, 2012. DOI: 10.1021/es202773w


PhD, Earth & Planetary Sciences, University of Tennessee at Knoxville, 2010

Masters of Applied Science, Civil Engineering, University of Waterloo, 2006

Honours Bachelor of Science, Earth Science Minor, University of Waterloo, 2001


Arts & Sciences Divisional Achievement Award in Natural Sciences, Univ. Tennessee, 2018

Kohout Early Career Award, Hydrogeology Division, Geological Society of America, 2014

H. Gordon Award for Exceptional Professional Promise, Earth & Planetary Sciences, UT, 2010

Interdisciplinary Research Award, Earth & Planetary Sciences, UT, 2009

Additional Information


Associate Professor, Dept. of Geology & Geophysics, Texas A&M University, College Station, Texas, 2019 – Present

Visiting Professor (Fall, 2019) Dept. of Water Resources and Treatment, Swiss Federal, Institute of Aquatic Science and Technology (Eawag), ETH, Zurich, Switzerland, Fall 2019

Assistant Professor, Dept. of Geology & Geophysics, Texas A&M University, 2013 – 2019

Associate Research Scientist, Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory, Columbia University, 2013

Post-doctoral Research Scientist, Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory, Columbia University, 2012

Marie Curie Post-doctoral Research Fellow, Helmholtz Center for Environmental Health, Germany, 2010-2011

Graduate Research Assistant, Dept. of Earth & Planetary Sciences, University of Tennessee, 2006 – 2010

Graduate Research Assistant, Dept. of Civil Engineering, University of Waterloo, Canada, 2003-2005

Project Hydrogeologist, Conestoga-Rovers & Associates, Waterloo, Canada, 2002-2003

Visiting Scientist, UFZ Center for Environmental Research, Leipzig, Germany, 2001-2002

"Overpumping can taint groundwater, Texas A&M professor says" - The Eagle

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