Beth Parker

Headshot of Beth Parker
Professor, NSERC Chair in Groundwater Contamination in Fractured Media
School of Engineering
Phone number: 
(519) 824-4120 ext. 53642
THRN 3503
Seeking academic or industry partnerships in the area(s) of: 
Universities, Cities, Municipalities, Agriculture, Manufacturing, Oil and Gas, Mining
Available positions for grads/undergrads/postdoctoral fellows: 
See Morwick G360 Website:


Multi-level monitoring system, COREDFN, FLUTe Flexible Liner Underground Technologies, Portable Drills



Probing the subsurface at multiple discrete intervals; site and flow system characterization and monitoring in the shallow and intermediate depth ranges; closed borehole tests of hydrologic properties; cost effective and highly mobile field investigation techniques


Education and Employment Background 

Dr. Beth Parker received her PhD from the University of Waterloo in 1996. She joined the School of Engineering at the University of Guelph in 2007, where she is currently a full Professor and NSERC Industrial Research Chair in Hydrogeology. Parker is the Founder and Director of the Morwick G360 Groundwater Research Institute, a field-focused groundwater research institute at the focal point of global collaboration between over 20 institutions in 11 countries. Parker is also the co-Director of the University Consortium for Field-Focused Groundwater Contamination Research.

Research Themes 

Parker is a hydrogeologist whose focus is on the science of occurrence, migration, and fate of contamination in the groundwater component of the hydrological cycle. She has made significant contributions to understanding the remediation of contaminated groundwater, with expertise in fractured rock characterization and monitoring techniques. Her research examines the interplay between advection and diffusion, to understand contaminant transport and fate with emphasis on fractured porous sedimentary rock. Parker’s research is focused on three major themes:


  1. Groundwater contaminant transport and fate. Parker’s research emphasizes interactions between contaminant advection due to groundwater flow and molecular diffusion, including the effects of forward diffusion on plume attenuation and back diffusion on source and plume persistence and as an impediment to remediation. Parker was the first to show the importance of back diffusion of contaminant mass stored in low permeability layers and aquitards on the persistence of plumes in aquifers using high-resolution site datasets combined with mathematical modeling. Back diffusion is now widely accepted as a cause of plume longevity and, in some situations, is the basis for technical impracticability.
  2. In-situ remediation of groundwater systems. A better understanding of fractured rock has become globally important for cities, municipalities, brownfields development, agriculture, manufacturing, oil and gas development, mining, nuclear plant decommissioning, geothermal energy, and beyond. Parker’s research program is funded from many diverse sources, including large multinational companies with exceptionally complex contaminated sites, petroleum companies, chemical companies, cities and municipalities, environmental consulting firms, the US military, a water bottling company and even a citizen’s group seeking safe drinking water.
  3. Field instrumentation in aquifer and aquitard regimes. Intensive, multidisciplinary collaborative studies, led by Parker, of many contaminated bedrock sites have resulted in a comprehensive methodology for acquiring high-resolution data from fractured porous media. This methodology includes the use of core sampling and contaminant analysis of core samples to delineate contamination in aquitards and in the rock matrix in fractured rock (e.g., CORE DFN™) as well as detailed methods for assessing the groundwater flow systems. Most recently, the methodology has incorporated the use of fiber optic cables and heating cables for high resolution temporal monitoring of temperature in rock boreholes in combination with FLUTe flexible liners to position the cables against the borehole walls, detect active flow in fractures, and prevent the vertical cross-flow in the boreholes that disrupts the flow system and biases/ obscures the resulting interpretations. The methodology provides robust data sets to existing DFN mathematical models for simulations of groundwater flow and contaminant plume evolution in fractured sedimentary bedrock. Much of this involves innovations incorporated into three patents on which Dr. Parker is a co-inventor, with two additional patents submissions currently in progress.



  • NSERC Senior Industrial Research Chair in Hydrogeology, 2007-present
  • Lead Research Principal Investigator for Ontario Research Funding—Research Excellence, 2009-present
  • FCAE (Fellow of the Canadian Academy of Engineering), 2021
  • Director of the Morwick G360 Groundwater Research Institute at the University of Guelph
  • Tage Erlander Visiting Professorship, Swedish Research Council/Lund University, 2021
  • M. King Hubbert Award, National Groundwater Association, 2017-2018
  • Herbette Visiting Professorship Award, Université de Lausanne.  Switzerland, 2012-2013
  • Co-director of the University Consortium for Field-Focused Groundwater Contamination Research


Media Coverage

Groundwater Contamination


Expansion to Bedrock Aquifer Field Facility (BAFF) in Guelph, Ont.


Awards and Accolades


Major Funding Received:


Q & A: