Professor Alba Torrents

Civil and Environmental Engineering

University of Maryland College Park


Dr. Torrents’ research focuses on the fate and transport of organic pollutants in the environment.  For the past 15 years much of her work has concentrated on developing a mechanistic understanding on the movement and transformation of agrochemicals in the environment.   Recently has work has expanded to investigate the fate of emerging organic pollutants upon the sustainable use of wastewater treatment products, i.e. biosolids and wastewater and to assess the environmental impacts of animal farms.

Latest paper:

J Agric Food Chem. 2010 Feb 12 

Persistence of Polybrominated Diphenyl Ethers in Agricultural Soils after Biosolids Applications.

Natasha A Andrade, Laura L McConnell, Alba Torrents, Mark Ramirez

This study examines polybrominated diphenyl ethers (PBDE) levels, trends in biosolids from a wastewater treatment plant, and evaluates potential factors governing PBDE concentrations and the fate in agricultural soils fertilized by biosolids.

Most cited recent paper:

J Agric Food Chem. 2002 Jul 17;50 (15):4385-92 

Herbicide and insecticide loadings from the Susquehanna River to the northern Chesapeake Bay.

Bo Liu, Laura L McConnell, Alba Torrents

The Susquehanna River watershed has a large drainage area (71200 km(2)) containing heavy agricultural land usage. The river provides approximately half the total freshwater input to the Chesapeake Bay. Water samples were collected at Conowingo Dam near the mouth of the river every 9 days from February 1997 through March 1998. Atrazine, its transformation product 6-amino-2-chloro-4-(isopropylamino)-s-triazine (CIAT), and metolachlor were found in the highest concentrations with maximums of 500, 150, and 330 ng/L, respectively. The annual mass loads for atrazine, CIAT, metolachlor, simazine, and 6-amino-2-chloro-4-(ethylamino)-s-triazine (CEAT) from the Susquehanna River to the Chesapeake Bay were 1600, 1600, 1100, 820, and 720 kg/year, respectively. Annual loadings of insecticides and organochlorine compounds ranged from 2.8 kg/year for alpha-HCH to 34 kg/year for diazinon. Strong correlations between loading data from this and previous studies and total annual water discharge through the dam were used to estimate total metolachlor and atrazine loads (12400 and 9950 kg, respectively) to the northern Chesapeake Bay from 1992 to 1997.



Ph.D. Environmental Engineering, Johns Hopkins University, 1992

M.A. Environmental Engineering, Johns Hopkins University, 1988

M.S. Organic Chemistry, University of Barcelona, Spain, 1986

B.S. (Honors) Chemistry, University of Barcelona, Spain, 1985

Contact Information

1173 Glenn L. Martin Hall

University of Maryland,

College Park, MD 20742, USA

Phone : (301)-405-1979
FAX : (301)-405-2585
E-mail: alba at umd dot edu





as part of the National Science Foundation  ADVANCE program aimed to recruit, and develop programs to increase the number of women in STEM disciplines.  

As part of her visit Natasha gave a seminar to present her research and experiences as a graduate student at UMCP. The seminar was on May 13, 2010, on Cal Poly Pomona’s beautiful campus and hosted almost 50 undergraduate civil and environmental engineering students as well as faculty. During the two day visit to the university, Natasha visited with the Civil and Environmental Engineering Department faculty and also received tours of the lab facilities.