Ed McBean

Headshot of Ed McBean
School of Engineering
Phone number: 
(519) 824-4120 ext. 53923
THRN 2416
Available positions for grads/undergrads/postdoctoral fellows: 
Enquire by email


Ongoing utilization of Guelph Wastewater Pilot Facility, allowing access to an array of wastewater streams (e.g. raw, post-primary, etc.) for research purposes


Allows for monitoring and technology testing for innovative technologies for treatment or evaluation of water quality impacts (e.g. COVID-19 testing) 

Education and Employment Background

Dr. Ed McBean received his PhD (Magna Cum Laude) from Massachusetts Institute of Technology in 1973. Between 1974 and 1995, he worked as a professor at the University of Waterloo. From 1995 to 2003, McBean worked in industry, as Vice President of Conestoga Rovers and Associates and President of CRA Engineering, Inc. In 2003, McBean was awarded a Tier 1 Canada Research Chair in Water Security and Supply, which he held at the University of Guelph until 2017. Subsequently, he has been University of Guelph Research Leadership Chair, Water Security. McBean is currently a full professor in the School of Engineering at the University of Guelph.

Research Themes

McBean’s research is focused primarily on examining the vulnerability of water systems. He relies upon statistical interpretation of data, fate and transport of chemicals and pathogens in the environment, and risk assessment and management, to determine how features of water supply risk may arise. His work includes examining climate change and fate and transport modeling as applied to water resources phenomena. In addition to the above, McBean also has extensive experience in waste management and greenhouse gas emissions as contributory to global climate change and for 2020/21 has been heavily involved in AI modeling of the COVID-19 pandemic. Key areas of focus include:

  1. Water supply systems. Prof. McBean focuses on assessing water supply systems and assisting decision makers in finding ways to make water systems safer. He uses statistical modelling approaches to assess the fate and transport of contaminants as they move through the environment. His work has applications in mitigating contaminated groundwater and ensuring that water supply systems are safe. He has worked in more than 70 countries and has brought his expertise to planning and design for safe water.
  2. Climate Change. Prof. McBean and his research team also investigate how climate change affects water systems such as modeling the ways in which climate change impacts groundwater. McBean has conducted research on the impact of climate trends on water supplies in First Nations communities in northern Ontario.
  3. COVID-19. Recently, McBean has pivoted his research to contribute to efforts to fight COVID-19. Using Artificial Intelligence and modelling, McBean examined age trends in Ontario’s daily COVID-19 case counts and to predict future impacts of the pandemic on health care in Canada. He is also working to examine levels of SARS-CoV-2 in community wastewater systems to inform mitigation strategies.


  • University of Guelph Research Leadership Chair 2017-20
  • Tier 1 Canada Research Chair in Water Security, 2003-17
  • Fellow, Canadian Academy of Engineering, 2016
  • Diplomate, Water Resources Engineering, an award from American Academy of Water Resources Engineering and American Society of Civil Engineers, 2016
  • K.Y. Lo Award from the Engineering Institute of Canada for significant contributions at the international level and demonstrating to the world, Canadian expertise in water security, 2015
  • Julian C. Smith Award for achievement in the development of Canada, Engineering Institute of Canada, 2018
  •  ‘Ton Duc Thang University Prize, Lifetime Achievement Award, Viet Nam, 2017

Media Coverage

COVID-19 Research

Water Resources in First Nations Communities

Drinking Water

Waste Management

Waste Water