James (Jim) Roy

Research Scientist - Research on Groundwater Quality and Related Processes

Current research and/or projects

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

  • Groundwater contaminant impacts on surface waters and aquatic ecosystems
  • Groundwater contributions of phosphorus to surface waters
  • Potential leakage of Alberta oil sands tailings ponds to the Athabasca River
  • Groundwater and gas systems (e.g. coal-bed methane, attenuation of petroleum spill plumes)

Professional activities / interests

Science and policy advice related to groundwater contributions of contaminants and nutrients to surface waters

Graduate student and post-doctoral fellow supervision and committees

Journal and grant reviewer; Associate Editor for Groundwater Monitoring and Remediation

Education and awards

SETAC North America Expanding Chemistry Award (2020)

NSERC Post-doctoral Fellowship, University of Calgary

Ph.D. in Hydrogeology, University of Waterloo (PGS B NSERC)

Instructor of groundwater courses, University of Waterloo (2004), McMaster University (2012)

M.Sc. in Soil Physics, University of Guelph

Key publications

70. Wang, S., J.W. Roy, C. Power, C.E. Robinson. 2024. Spatiotemporal investigation on geochemical and hydrological controls of phosphorus release from the shallow aquifer of an alluvium riparian zone. J. Environ. Quality. (in press)

69. Weatherson, W.O.W., C.J. Oswald, J.W. Roy. 2024. High-frequency data provides insight on chloride transport pathways and exceedances of chronic chloride guidelines for the protection of aquatic life in streams impacted by deicers. ES&T: Water (in press)

68. Hodgins, G., C.E. Robinson, J.W. Roy, C. Power. 2023. Characterization of subsurface pathways contributing to freshwater salinization of urban streams using electrical and electromagnetic imaging techniques. Science of the Total Environment 905, p 167225.

67. Banks, L.K., C.E. Robinson, I. Lavoie, M. Boreux, S. Kroeze, N. Gotkowski, J.W. Roy, A.G. Yates.  2023. Intra-annual patterns in stream biofilm structure and function in a headwater stream network with spatially variable groundwater inputs. Aquatic Ecology, 57: 681-700.

66. Hua, T., V.R. Propp, C. Power, S.J. Brown, P. Collins, J.E. Smith, J.W. Roy. 2023. Multi-zone ecological exposures to landfill contaminants from a groundwater plume discharging to a pond. Environmental Toxicology and Chemistry 42(8): 1667-1684.

65. Banks, L.K., I. Lavoie, C.E. Robinson, J.W. Roy, A.G. Yates. 2023. Effects of groundwater inputs on algal assemblages and cellulose decomposition differ based on habitat type in an agricultural stream. Hydrobiologia, 850: 3517-3537.

64. Vissers, M.A., J.W. Roy, A.G. Yates, K. Robinson, S. Rakhimbekova, C.E. Robinson. 2023. Spatio-temporal variability of porewater phosphorus concentrations in streambed sediments of an agricultural stream. J. Hydrol. p.129133

63. Robinson, K., Robinson, C.E., Roy, J.W., Vissers, M., Almpanis, A., Schneidewind, U. and Power, C. 2022. Improved interpretation of groundwater-surface water interactions along a stream reach using 3D high-resolution combined DC resistivity and induced polarization (DC-IP) geoelectrical imaging. J. Hydrol. 613, p.128468

62. Bauer, A., Hewitt LM, Roy JW, Parrott JL, Bartlett AE, Gillis PL, Rudy MD, Vanderveen R, Campbell SD, Rodrigues MR, Brown L, Deeth LE, Bickerton G, Farwell AJ, Dixon DG, Frank RA. 2022. Toxicity of bitumen-influenced groundwater fractions to a suite of aquatic organisms. Sci. Total Environ. 848: 157676.

61. Roy, J.W., Rivard, C., Bordeleau, G., Ryan, M.C., Malet, X., Brown, S.J., Tremblay, V. 2022. Continual long-term monitoring of methane in wells above the Utica Shale using total dissolved gas pressure probes. Hydrogeology J. 1-15. doi.org/10.1007/s10040-022-02452-1

60. Tamang, A., J.W. Roy, M. Boreux, C.E. Robinson. 2022. Variation in septic system effluent inputs to tributaries in multiple subwatersheds and approaches to distinguish contributing pathways and areas. Science of the Total Environment 807: 151054.

59. Propp, V.R., S.J. Brown, P. Collins, J.E. Smith, J.W. Roy. 2021. Artificial sweeteners identify spatial patterns of groundwater contaminant discharge within a small urban stream from an historic landfill. Groundwater Monitoring and Remediation 42(1): 50-64.

60. Tamang, A., J.W. Roy, M. Boreux, C.E. Robinson. 2021. Variation in septic system effluent inputs to tributaries in multiple subwatersheds and approaches to distinguish contributing pathways and areas. Environmental Pollution (accepted)

59. Propp, V.R., S.J. Brown, P. Collins, J.E. Smith, J.W. Roy. 2021. Artificial sweeteners identify spatial patterns of groundwater contaminant discharge within a small urban stream from an historic landfill. Groundwater Monitoring and Remediation (in press)

58. Ziegler, J.P., J.W. Roy, M.J. Bogard, D.A.R. Drake. 2021. Predicting warming induced hypoxic stress for fish in a fragmented river channel using ecosystem metabolism models. Canadian Journal of Fisheries and Aquatic Sciences doi.org/10.1139/cjfas-2020-0480

57. Frank, R.A., A.E. Bauer, J.W. Roy, G. Bickerton, M.D. Rudy, R. Vanderveen, S. Batchelor, S.E. Barrett, C.B. Milestone, K.M. Peru, J.V. Headley, P. Brunswick, D. Shang, A.J. Farwell, D.G. Dixon, L.M. Hewitt. 2021. Preparative isolation, fractionation and chemical characterization of dissolved organics from natural and industrially derived bitumen-influenced groundwaters from the Athabasca River watershed. Science of the Total Environment (accepted)

56. Propp, V.R., A.O. de Silva, C. Spencer, S.J. Brown, S. Catingan, J.E. Smith, J.W. Roy. 2021. Organic contaminants of emerging concern in leachate of historic municipal landfills. Environmental Pollution doi.org/10.1016/j.envpol.2021.116474

55. J.M. Culp, I.G. Droppo, P.D. di Cenzo, A. Alexander-Trusiak, D.J. Baird, S. Beltaos, G. Bickerton, B. Bonsal, R.B. Brua, P.A. Chambers, Y. Dibike, N.E. Glozier, J. Kirk, L. Lesveque, M. McMaster, D. Muir, J. Parrott, D. Peters, K. Pippy, J.W. Roy. 2021. Ecological effects and causal synthesis of oil sands activity impacts on river ecosystems: water synthesis review. Environmental Reviews (in press)

54. Milestone, C.B., C. Sun, J. Martin, G. Bickerton, J.W. Roy, R.A. Frank, L.M. Hewitt. 2021. Non-target profiling of bitumen influenced waters for the identification of tracers unique to oil sands processed-affected water (OSPW) in the Athabasca watershed of Alberta, Canada. Rapid Communications in Mass Spectrometry DOI: 10.1002/rcm.8984

53. Oldfield, L., S. Rakhimbekova, J.W. Roy, C.E. Robinson. 2020. Estimation of phosphorus loads from septic systems to tributaries in the Canadian Lake Erie Basin. Journal of Great Lakes Research DOI: 10.1016/j.jglr.2020.08.021

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

51. Oldfield, L., J.W. Roy, C.E. Robinson. 2020. Investigating the use of the artificial sweetener acesulfame to evaluate septic system inputs and their nutrient loads to streams at the watershed scale. Journal of Hydrology 587. DOI: 10.1016/j.jhydrol.2020.124918.

50. Hewitt, L.M., J.W. Roy, S.J. Rowland, G. Bickerton, A. DeSilva, J.V. Headley, C.B. Milestone, A.G. Scarlett, S. Brown, C. Spencer, C.E. West, K.M. Peru, L. Grapentine, J.M.E. Ahad, H. Pakdel and R.A. Frank. 2020. Advances in distinguishing groundwater influenced by Oil Sands Process-affected Water (OSPW) from natural bitumen-influenced groundwaters. Environmental Science and Technology DOI: 10.1021/acs.est.9b05040.

49. Roy, J.W. 2019. Endobenthic organisms exposed to chronically high chloride from groundwater discharging along freshwater urban streams and lakeshores. Environmental Science and Technology 53(16): 9389-9397. DOI: 10.1021/acs.est.9b02288.

48. Roy, J.W., P.L. Gillis, L. Grapentine, G. Bickerton. 2019. How Appropriate are Canadian Water Quality Guidelines for Protecting Freshwater Aquatic Life from Toxic Chemicals in Naturally-Discharging Groundwater? Canadian Water Resources Journal (in press) DOI: 10.1080/07011784.2018.1554453.

47. McLeod, H.C., J.W. Roy, J.E. Smith. 2018. Anaerobic biodegradation of dissolved ethanol in a pilot-scale sand aquifer: Gas phase dynamics. Journal of Contaminant Hydrology 215: 62-72. DOI: 10.1016/j.jconhyd.2018.07.003.

46. McLeod, H.C., J.W. Roy, G.F. Slater, J.E. Smith. Anaerobic biodegradation of dissolved ethanol in a pilot-scale sand aquifer: Variability in plume (redox) geochemistry. Journal of Contaminant Hydrology (in press).

45. Roy, J.W., J. Spoelstra, W.D. Robertson, W. Klemt, S.L. Schiff. 2017. Contribution of phosphorus to Georgian Bay from groundwater of a coastal beach town with decommissioned septic systems. Journal of Great Lakes Research 43(6): DOI: 10.1016/j.jglr.2017.09.001.

44. Snider, D.M., J.W. Roy, W.D. Robertson, D. Garda, J. Spoelstra. 2017. Concentrations of artificial sweeteners and their ratios with nutrients in septic system wastewater. Groundwater Monitoring and Remediation. DOI: 10.1111/gwmr.12229.

43. Roy, J.W., L. Grapentine, G. Bickerton. 2017. Ecological effects from groundwater contaminated by volatile organic compounds on an urban stream’s benthic ecosystem. Limnologica (in press)

42. Roy, J.W., H.C. McLeod, M. Suchy, J.E. Smith. 2017. Total dissolved gas pressure measurements for assessing contaminant degradation processes in groundwater. Groundwater Monitoring and Remediation 37(1): 67-77. DOI: 10.1111/gwmr.12194 .

41. Spoelstra, J., J.W. Roy, S.J. Brown. 2016. Syringe-tip filters may contain the artificial sweetener saccharin.  Groundwater Monitoring and Remediation 36(4): 71-74. doi:10.1111/gwmr.12183. 

40. Robertson, W.D., D.R. Van Stempvoort, J.W. Roy, S.J. Brown, J. Spoelstra, S.L. Schiff, D.R. Rudolph, S. Danielescu, G. Graham. 2016. Use of an artificial sweetener to identify sources of groundwater nitrate contamination. Groundwater 54(4): 579-587. DOI: 10.1111/gwat.12031.

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

38. Ryan, M.C., J.W. Roy, D.J. Heagle. 2015. Dissolved gas ‘concentrations’ or ‘concentration estimates’ – A comment on “Origin, distribution and hydrogeochemical controls on methane occurrences in shallow aquifers, southwestern Ontario, Canada” by J.C. McIntosh, S.E. Grasby, S.M. Hamilton, and S.G. Osborn. Applied Geochemistry 63(21), 218-221.

37. Fitzgerald, A., J.W. Roy, J.E. Smith. 2015. Calculating discharge of phosphorus and nitrogen with groundwater to a small urban stream reach. J. Hydrol. 528: 138-151.

36. Roy, J.W., R. McInnis, G. Bickerton, P.L. Gillis. 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.

35. McLeod, H., J.W. Roy, J.E. Smith. 2015. Patterns of entrapped air dissolution in a 2-dimensional pilot-scale synthetic aquifer. Groundwater 53(2): 271-281. DOI: 10.1111/gwat.12203. 

34. Roy, J.W., S. Danielescu. 2014. Comment on “Assessing invertebrate assemblages in the subsurface zone of stream sediments (0–15 cm deep) using a hyporheic sampler” by Dole-Olivier et al. Water Resour. Res. 50(11): 9120–9123. 

33. Frank, R.A., J.W. Roy, G. Bickerton, S.J. Rowland, J.V. Headley, A.G. Scarlett, K.M. Peru, J.L. Parrott, M. Conly, L.M. Hewitt.  2014. Rebuttal to Comment on "Profiling oil sands mixtures from industrial developments and natural groundwaters for source identification" by Yi et al. Environmental Science & Technology 48(18): 11015−11016.

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

31. Roy, J.W., G. Bickerton, 2014. Elevated dissolved phosphorus in riparian groundwater along gaining urban streams. Environmental Science & Technology DOI: 10.1021/es404801y.

30. Van Stempvoort, D.R., J.W. Roy, S.J. Brown, G. Bickerton. 2014. Residues of the herbicide glyphosate in riparian groundwater in urban catchments. Chemosphere 95: 455-463.

29. Roy, J.W., D.R. Van Stempvoort, G. Bickerton. 2014. Artificial sweeteners as potential tracers of landfill leachate. Environmental Pollution 184: 89-93.

28. Robertson, W.D., J.W. Roy, S.J. Brown, D.R. Van Stempvoort, G. Bickerton. 2014. Natural attenuation of perchlorate in denitrified groundwater. Groundwater DOI:10.1111/gwat.12031.

27. Langston, G., M. Hayashi, J.W. Roy. 2013. Quantifying groundwater surface water interactions in a proglacial moraine using heat and solute tracers. Water Resources Research 49(9): 5411–5426.

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

25. Roy, J.W., M.C. Ryan. 2013. Effects of Unconventional Gas Development on Groundwater: A Call for Total Dissolved Gas Pressure Measurements. Ground Water 51(4): 480-482. DOI: 10.1111/gwat.12065

24. Jackson, R.E., A.W. Gorody, B. Mayer, J.W. Roy, M.C. Ryan, D.R. Van Stempvoort. 2013. Groundwater Protection and Unconventional Gas Extraction: The Critical Need for Field-Based Hydrogeological Research. Ground Water 51(4): 488–510. DOI: 10.1111/gwat.12074 

23. Roy, J.W., A. Malenica. 2013. Nutrients and toxic contaminants in shallow groundwater along Lake Simcoe urban shorelines. Inland Waters 3(2), pp. 125-138. DOI: 10.5268/IW-3.2.521

22. Marinas, M., J.W. Roy, J.E. Smith. 2013. Changes in entrapped gas content and hydraulic conductivity with pressure. Ground Water 51(1): 41-50. DOI: 10.1111/j.1745-6584.2012.00915.x 

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

20. Van Stempvoort, D.R., J.W. Roy, S. Brown, G. Bickerton. 2011. Artificial sweeteners as potential tracers in groundwater in urban environments. J. Hydrology doi:10.1016/j.jhydrol.2011.02.013 

19. McClymont, A.F., J.W. Roy, L.R. Bentley, M. Hayashi, H. Maurer, G. Langston. 2011. Imaging groundwater flow paths within proglacial moraine using multiple geophysical methods. J. Hydrology doi:10.1016/j.jhydrol.2010.12.036 

18. Roy, J.W., B. Zaitlin, S.B. Watson, M. Hayashi. 2011. Influence of groundwater spring discharge on small-scale spatial variation of an alpine stream ecosystem. Eco-hydrology Journal 4(5), DOI: 10.1002/eco.156. 

17. Roy, J.W., G. Bickerton. 2010. 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 doi: 10.1016/j.coldregions.2010.09.007 

16. Roy, J.W., G. Bickerton. 2010. A proactive screening approach for detecting groundwater contaminants along urban streams at the reach-scale.  Environmental Science & Technology 44(16), 6088–6094. DOI: 10.1021/es101492x.

15. Roy, J.W., M.C. Ryan. 2010. In-well degassing issues for measurements of dissolved gases in groundwater. Ground Water DOI: 10.1111/j.1745-6584.2010.00703.x

14. Roy, J.W., M. Hayashi. 2009. Multiple, distinct groundwater systems of a single moraine-talus feature in an alpine watershed. J. Hydrology doi:10.1016/j.jhydrol.2009.04.018.

13. Roy, J.W., J.M. Robillard, S.B. Watson, M. Hayashi. 2009. Non-intrusive characterization methods for wastewater-affected groundwater plumes discharging to an alpine lake. Environ. Monit. Assess. 149(1): 201-211, DOI 10.1007/s10661-008-0194-9.

12. Roy, J.W., M. Hayashi. 2008. Ground water exchange with two small alpine lakes in the Canadian Rockies. Hydrological Processes 22: 2838-2846, doi: 10.1002/hyp.6995. 

11. Roy, J.W., J.E. Smith, R.W. Gillham. 2007. Capillary effects on natural remobilization of pools of dense non-aqueous phase liquid mixtures in porous media. Soil and Sediment Contamination 16(3): 253-268, doi: 10.1080/15320380701285659. 

10. Roy, J.W., J.E. Smith. 2007. Multiphase flow and transport caused by spontaneous gas phase growth in the presence of dense non-aqueous phase liquid. Journal of Contaminant Hydrology 89: 251-269, doi:10.1016/j.jconhyd.2006.09.011. 

9. Hood, J. L., J.W. Roy, M. Hayashi. 2006. Importance of groundwater in the water balance of an alpine headwater lake. Geophysical Research Letters. 33, L13405, doi:10.1029/2006GL026611.

8. Roy, J.W., J.E. Smith, R.W. Gillham. 2004. Laboratory evidence of natural remobilization of multicomponent DNAPL pools due to dissolution.  Journal of Contaminant Hydrology 74:145-161.

7. Gillham, R.W., J.W. Roy. 2004. Comment on "A reassessment of ground water flow conditions and specific yield at Borden and Cape Cod" by G. Grimestad. Ground Water 42(3):456-7.

6. Roy, J.W., J.E. Smith. 2004. Comment on "Mobilization and entry of DNAPL pools into finer sand media by cosolvents: two-dimensional chamber studies" by Michael E. Van Valkenburg and Michael D. Annable. Journal of Contaminant Hydrology 70:147-150.

5. Roy, J.W., J.E. Smith, R.W. Gillham. 2002. Natural remobilization of multi-component DNAPL pools due to dissolution. Journal of Contaminant Hydrology 59:163-186.

4. Roy, J.W., J.C. Hall, G.W. Parkin, C. Wagner-Riddle, B.S. Clegg. 2001. Seasonal leaching and biodegradation of dicamba in turfgrass. Journal of Environmental Quality 30:1360-1370.

3. Roy, J.W., G.W. Parkin, C. Wagner-Riddle. 2000. Timing of nitrate leaching from turfgrass after multiple fertilizer applications. Water Quality Research Journal of Canada 35(4):735-752.

2. Roy, J.W., G.W. Parkin, C. Wagner-Riddle. 2000. Water flow in unsaturated soil below turfgrass: observations and LEACHM (within EXPRES) predictions. Soil Science Society of America Journal 64(1): 86-93.

1. Schirmer, M., B.J. Butler, J.W. Roy, E.O. Frind, J.F. Barker. 1999. A least-square-fit method to determine unique Monod kinetic parameters of BTEX compounds using batch experiments. Journal of Contaminant Hydrology 37:69-86.

Research facility

867 Lakeshore Rd.
Burlington, ON L7S 1A1


Treasurer, International Association of Hydrogeologists - Canadian National Chapter

Adjunct Professor - University of Western Ontario, Toronto Metropolitan University