Center for Experimental Study of Subsurface Environmental Processes (CESEP)


Research at CESEP is undertaken to enhance the protection of water and environmental quality through experimental, numerical and theoretical investigation of complex subsurface systems and their interaction with surface and atmospheric systems. We utilize knowledge from diverse disciplines to provide a broad and thorough understanding of environmental and hydrologic processes, integrating both fundamental and applied sciences to help solve problems that are of importance to the society in general and to governmental and industrial sectors. In addition to addressing problems that can do greater good for our community, our goal is to train and produce researchers and students with a greater appreciation and understanding of the multi-disciplinary nature of issues of earth, water and the environment

CESEP includes the departments of Civil and Environmental Engineering, Chemical and Biological Engineering, Mechanical Engineering,  Geology and Geological Engineering, Geophysics, and Computer Science


The world faces many critical challenges to include population growth, climate change and food shortages. Water and food security are central to these challenges, affecting both humans and nature alike. Solutions to water security issues require that we overcome critical knowledge gaps on the interaction between water, soil and air, thus addressing current and emerging environmental problems that are of near and long-term interest to our nation and the world.

The long term research agenda for CESEP is to provide answers to questions of importance to many current and emerging problems such as the management of water resources in dry land, the transport of pollutants through soils, understanding the environment in which landmines and unexploded ordinances are placed, and increasing the efficiency of soil borehole thermal energy storage systems etc.

The basic aim of research associated with CESEP is to combine theoretical, numerical and experimental approaches to address hydrological processes occurring near the earth’s surface. This is accomplished by performing detailed and highly controlled experiments at various scales that are then used to develop and test theories and numerical multiphase models of flow and transport alike.


Tissa Illangasekare
Director and AMAX Endowed Distinguished Chair

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