Current research and/or projects

Contributing to Environment Canada’s mandate to ensure aquatic ecosystems are conserved and protected.

  • Climate change impacts on groundwater and groundwater-dependent ecosystems in cold climate and permafrost environments
  • Oil Sands impacts on groundwater and groundwater-surface water interactions
  • Groundwater contaminant impacts on surface waters and aquatic ecosystem
  • Sources and fate of contaminants in groundwater

Professional activities / interests

  • Member (voting) of Joint Canada-Alberta Oil Sands Monitoring (OSM) Program's Groundwater Technical Advisory Committee (2018-present)
  • Technical advisor on groundwater science to Environment & Climate Change Canada's operational and enforcement branches

Education and awards

M.Sc. Earth Sciences, University of Waterloo, 2001

B.A.Sc. Geological Engineering/Water Resources Option, University of Waterloo, 1995

B.Sc. (Hons.) Geological Sciences, McGill University, 1990

Citation of Excellence Award, Environment Canada, 2012

Dean of Science Award, University of Waterloo, 2002 

Key publications

Danielescu, S., Van Stempvoort, D.R., Bickerton, G., & Roy, J.W. (2020). Use of mature willows (Salix nigra) for hydraulic control of landfill-impacted groundwater in a temperate climate. Journal of Environmental Management, 272. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jenvman.2020.111106

Spence, C., Norris, M., Bickerton, G., Bonsal, B.R., Brua, R., Culp, J.M., Dibike, Y., Gruber, S., Morse, P.D., Peters, D.L., Shrestha, R., & Wolfe, S.A. (2020). The Canadian water resource vulnerability index to permafrost thaw (CWRVIPT). Arctic Science, https://doi.org/10.1139/as-2019-0028

Hewitt, L.M., Roy, J.W., Rowland, S.J., Bickerton, G., DeSilva, A., Headley, J.V., Milestone, C.B., Scarlett, A.G., Brown, S., Spencer, C., West, C.E., Peru, K.M., Grapentine, L., Ahad, J.M.E., Pakdel, H., & Frank, R.A. (2020). Advances in distinguishing groundwater influenced by oil sands process-affected water (OSPW) from natural bitumen-influenced groundwaters. Environmental Science and Technology 54(3), 1552-1532. https://doi.org/10.1021/acs.est.9b05040

Roy, J.W., Gillis, P.L., Grapentine, L., & Bickerton, G. (2019). How Appropriate are Current Canadian Water Quality Guidelines for Protecting Freshwater Aquatic Life from Toxic Contaminants in Discharging Groundwater? Canadian Water Resources Journal, 44(2), 205-211. https://doi.org/10.1080/07011784.2018.1554453

Bickerton, G., Roy, J.W., Frank, R.A., Spoelstra, J., Langston, G., Grapentine, L., & Hewitt, L.M. (2018). Assessments of Groundwater Influence on Select River Systems in the Oil Sands Region of Alberta (Oil Sands Monitoring Program Technical Report Series No. 1.5, ISBN 978-1-4601-4029-1, ISBN 978-1-4601-4153-3). Environment & Climate Change Canada, June 2018.

Culp, J.M., Droppo, I.G., di Cenzo, P.D., Alexander-Trusiak, A., Baird, D.J., Bickerton, G., Beltaos, S., Bonsal, B., Brua, R.B., Chambers, P.A., Dibike, Y., Glozier, N.E., Kirk, J., Levesque, L., McMaster, M., Muir, D., Parrott, J., Peters, D.L., Pippy, K., & Roy, J.W. (2018). Synthesis report for the water component, Canada-Alberta joint oil sands monitoring: key findings and recommendations (Oil Sands Monitoring Program Technical Report Series No. 1.1, ISBN 978-1-4601-4149-6, ISBN 978-1-4601-4025-3). Environment & Climate Change Canada, June 2018.

Roy, J.W., Grapentine, L., & Bickerton, G. (2018). Ecological effects from groundwater contaminated by volatile organic compounds on an urban stream’s benthic ecosystem. Limnologica, 68, 115-129. http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.limno.2017.01.004

Roy, J.W., Bickerton, G., Frank, R.A., Grapentine, L., & Hewitt, L.M. (2016). Assessing risks of shallow riparian groundwater quality near an oil sands tailings pond. Groundwater, 54(4), 545-558. https://doi.org/10.1111/gwat.12392

Roy, J.W., McInnis, R., Gillis, P., & Bickerton, G. (2015). Assessing potential toxicity of chloride-affected groundwater discharging to an urban stream using juvenile freshwater mussels (Lampsilis siliquoidea). Science of the Total Environment, 532, 309-315. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.scitotenv.2015.06.023

Frank, R.A., Roy, J.W., Bickerton, G., Rowland, S.J., Headley, J.V.,  Scarlett, A.G., West, C.E., Peru, K.M., Parrott, J.L., Conly, M., & Hewitt, L.M. (2014). Profiling oil sands mixtures from industrial developments and natural groundwaters for source identification. Environmental Science and Technology, 48(5), 2660-2670. http://dx.doi.org/10.1021/es500131k

Roy, J.W., & Bickerton, G. (2014). Elevated dissolved phosphorus in riparian groundwater along gaining urban streams. Environmental Science and Technology 48(3), 1492-1498. http://dx.doi.org/10.1021/es404801y

Van Stempvoort, D.R., Roy, J.W., Brown, S.J., & Bickerton, G. (2014). Residues of the herbicide glyphosate in riparian groundwater in urban catchments. Chemosphere, 95, 455-463. http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.chemosphere.2013.09.095

Roy, J.W., Van Stempvoort, D.R., & Bickerton, G. (2014). Artificial sweeteners as potential tracers of municipal landfill leachate. Environmental Pollution, 184, 89-93. http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.envpol.2013.08.021

Robertson, W.D., Roy, J.W., Brown, S.J., Van Stempvoort, D.R., & Bickerton, G. (2014). Natural attenuation of perchlorate in denitrified

Groundwater. Groundwater, 52(1), 63-70. https://doi.org/10.1111/gwat.12031

Van Stempvoort, D.R., Roy, J.W., Grabuski, J., Brown, S.J., Bickerton, G., & Sverko, E. (2013). An artificial sweetener and pharmaceutical compounds as co-tracers of urban wastewater in groundwater. Science of the Total Environment, 461-462, 348-359. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.scitotenv.2013.05.001

Yeung, C.W., Van Stempvoort, D.R., Spoelstra, J., Bickerton, G., Voralek, J., & Greer, C.W. (2013). Bacterial community evidence for anaerobic degradation of petroleum hydrocarbons in cold climate groundwater. Cold Regions Science and Technology, 86, 55-68. http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.coldregions.2012.10.013

Roy, J.W., & Bickerton, G. (2012). Toxic groundwater contaminants: An overlooked contributor to urban stream syndrome? Environmental Science and Technology 46(2), 729-736. https://doi.org/10.1021/es2034137

Wrona, F.J. (editor),  di Cenzo, P. (editor), Baird, D., Banic, C., Bickerton, G., Burn, D., P. Dillon, I. Droppo, Dubé, M., Hazewinkel, R., Hewitt, M., Kelly, E., Lindeman, D., Marriott, P., McCauley, E., McEachern, P., Muir, D., Munkittrick, K., Noton, L., Prowse, T., Rasmussen, J., Smol, J. (2011). Lower Athabasca Water Quality Monitoring Plan: Phase 1-Athabasca River Mainstem and Major Tributaries (Cat. No.: En14‐42/2011E‐PDF, ISBN 978‐1‐100‐18471‐5). Environment Canada, March 21, 2011.

Van Stempvoort, D.R., Roy, J.W., Brown, S.J., Bickerton, G. (2011). Artificial sweeteners as potential tracers in groundwater in urban environments. Journal of Hydrology, 401(1-2), 126-133. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jhydrol.2011.02.013

Roy, J.W., & Bickerton, G. (2011). Comment on "Estimation of actual LNAPL thickness at a fuel-contaminated Arctic mine site" by Olumide Iwakun, Kevin Biggar and David Sego. Cold Regions Science and Technology, 65(2), 269-270. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.coldregions.2010.09.007

Roy, J.W., & Bickerton, G. (2010). Proactive screening approach for detecting groundwater contaminants along urban streams at the reach-scale. Environmental Science and Technology 44(16), 6088-6094. http://dx.doi.org/10.1021/es101492x

Bickerton, G., S. Brown, & C. Ptacek. 2009. National Assessment of Groundwater Quality in Canada: Perchlorate, NWRI Scientific Assessment Report, Environment Canada, National Water Research Institute Contribution 09-264.

Iwakun, O., Biggar, K., Van Stempvoort, D., Bickerton, G., & Voralek, J. (2008). Fuel contamination characterization in permafrost fractured bedrock at the Colomac mine site. Cold Regions Science and Technology, 53(1), 56-74. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.coldregions.2007.10.001

Bickerton, G., Van Stempvoort, D.R., Voralek, J., & Biggar, K. (2007). Hydrogeological setting of petroleum contamination at Colomac Mine, NWT:  A permafrost region of the Canadian Shield. In Proceedings of Ottawa Geo2007 - 60th Canadian Geotechnical Conference and the 8th Joint Canadian Geotechnical Society/International Association of Hydrogeologists-Canadian National Chapter (CGS/IAH-CNC) Groundwater Conference, Ottawa, Ontario, Canada, October 21-14, 2007.

Novakowski, K., Bickerton, G., Lapcevic, P., Voralek, J., &, Ross, N. (2006). Measurements of groundwater velocity in discrete rock fractures. Journal of Contaminant Hydrology 82(1-2), 44-60. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jconhyd.2005.09.001

Novakowski, K. S., G. Bickerton, & P. Lapcevic (2004). Interpretation of injection-withdrawal tracer experiments conducted between two wells in a large single fracture. Journal of Contaminant Hydrology 73(1-4), 227-247. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jconhyd.2004.02.001

Zanini, L., Novakowski, K.S., Lapcevic, P. Bickerton, G.S., Voralek, J., & Talbot, C. (2000). Regional groundwater flow in the fractured carbonate aquifer underlying Smithville, Ontario, inferred from combined hydrogeological and geochemical measurements. Groundwater, 38(3), 350-360.  https://doi.org/10.1111/j.1745-6584.2000.tb00220.x

Novakowski, K.S., & Bickerton, G.S. (1997). Borehole measurement of the hydraulic properties of low-permeability rock. Water Resources Research, 33(11), 2509-2517. https://doi.org/10.1029/97WR02189

Novakowski, K.S., Lapcevic, P.A., Voralek, J., & Bickerton, G. (1995). Preliminary interpretation of tracer experiments conducted in a discrete rock fracture under conditions of ambient flow. Geophysical Research Letters, 22(11), 1417-1420. https://doi.org/10.1029/95GL00569