Sean Backus

Environmental Scientist, Section Chief\Great Lakes Watershed - Water Quality Monitoring and Surveillance

Current research and/or projects

Contributing to Environment Canada’s mandate to ensure that water is clean, safe and secure; Assessing risks to Canadians and their environment posed by pollutants or other harmful or dangerous substances

  • Provide leadership and management of National Science Programs for environmental protection related to risk assessment and management
  • Provide innovative program integration for regional delivery of National Toxics Programs in support of Ecosystem Initiatives
  • Management of multi-disciplenary teams delivering targeted monitoring and research
  • National status (surveillance) and trends (monitoring) of chemicals of concern in aquatic ecosystems - spatial and temporal
  • Status and trends of priority threats in the aquatic environment
  • Research on emerging organic and inorganic contaminants in precipitation (e.g. flame retardants, nutrients)
  • Development of novel techniques for the determination of priority pollutants

Education and awards

B.Eng. Chemistry, Ryerson University

Key publications

Sarah B. Gewurtz, Amila O. De Silva, Sean M. Backus, Daryl J. McGoldrick, Michael J. Keir, Jeff Small, Lisa Melymuk, and Derek C. G. Muir. Perfluoroalkyl Contaminants in Lake Ontario Lake Trout: Detailed Examination of Current Status and Long-Term Trends. Environmental Science & Technology 2012 46 (11), 5842-5850

Risch M.R., Gay D.A., Fowler K.K., Keeler G.J., Backus S.M., Blanchard P., Barres J.A., Dvonch J.T.  Spatial patterns and temporal trends in mercury concentrations, precipitation depths, and mercury wet deposition in the North American Great Lakes region, 2002-2008  (2012) Environmental Pollution, 161 , pp. 261-271.

Melymuk L., Robson M., Diamond M.L., Bradley L.E., Backus S. Wet deposition loadings of organic contaminants to Lake Ontario: Assessing the influence of precipitation from urban and rural sites . (2011) Atmospheric Environment, 45 (28) , pp. 5042-5049.

Sun, P., S. Backus, P. Blanchard and R.A. Hites. 2006. Temporal and Spatial Trends of Organochlorine Pesticides in Great Lakes Precipitation. Environ. Sci. Technol. 40(7):2135 - 2141. 10.1021/es051861g

Backus, S.M., P. Klawuun, S. Brown, I. D'Sa, S. Sharp, C. Surette and D.J. Williams. 2005. Determination of perchlorate in selected surface waters in the Great Lakes Basin by HPLC/MS/MS. Chemosphere. 61(6):834-843.

Research facility

867 Lakeshore Rd.
Burlington, ON L7S 1A1