My name is Tanush Wadhawan and I was born in New Delhi, India. I have a diverse educational background, Bachelor of Science (B.S.) in Biotechnology (2008) and Master of Science (M.S.) in Environmental and Conservation Science (2010) from North Dakota State University (NDSU). I have worked with viability and biomass quantification of naturally and artificially immobilized bacteria. Currently, I am pursuing Ph.D in Civil Engineering at NDSU with an emphasis on Environmental Engineering. My project deals with understanding transport of Cryptosporidium oocysts in agricultural drainage system.

Phone: 701-541-9978

Role of Agricultural Drainage on Transport of Cryptosporidium oocysts in North Dakota

Fellow: Tanush Wadhawan, Civil Engineering Department, NDSU

Advisor: Eakalak Khan, Ph.D., Professor and Department Chair, Department of Civil Engineering, North Dakota State University.

Matching Support:NDSU

Degree Civil Engineering expected graduation in fall 2013.


Cryptosporidium is an infective protozoan which is one of the most important contaminants found in drinking water and is known to cause a parasitic gastrointestinal disease called cryptosporidiosis. Several outbreaks of cryptosporidiosis due to both groundwater and surface water contamination have been reported in North America. The use of manure for farm applications can be a major source of Cryptosporidium in the environment. Cryptosporidium in manure can infiltrate through soil and reach groundwater. Recent findings suggest Cryptosporidium in surface water comes from the overland runoff from the field. In this project, we propose an alternative route for Cryptosporidium contamination in surface water. Subsurface drain tiles are a network of subsurface drains that are used to enhance the drainage of agricultural land. We suspect these drains play a significant role in facilitating the transfer of Cryptosporidium from land to surface waters.

Project Objectives:

The main scope of this project is to investigate the role of agricultural drainage system on transport of Cryptosporidium in North Dakota. The specific objectives of this study are as follows:

  1. To investigate adsorption and desorption of Cryptosporidium parvum on the soils obtained from agricultural fields in North Dakota.
  2. To determine the effects of agricultural drainage systems on the transport of Cryptosporidium parvum through the soils obtained from agricultural fields in North Dakota by simulating subsurface tile drains in a soil box.
  3. To study the transport of Cryptosporidium found in the manure applied to a subsurface drained agricultural field in North Dakota.


Untill now preliminary experiments have been performed to understand the adsorption characteristics of the Cryptosporidium oocysts to the natural soil. Soil box studies have been set up and will be conducted in the near future.

Research Outcomes:


The outcomes of the proposed project will greatly benefit North Dakota in identifying a possible source of cryptosporidiosis outbreaks in North Dakota. The data generated can be used for risk assessment and development of control practices which will benefit public health. For the first time, the potential impact of subsurface drainage systems on the transport of Cryptosporidium will be evaluated.

Dr. Eakalak Khan

Advisor: Dr. Eakalak Khan,

Professor and Department Chair, CivilEngineering Department, NDSU

Phone:  (701) 231-7717

Dr. John McEvoy


Co-Advisor: Dr. John M. McEvoy,

Assistant Professor, Department of Veterinary and Microbiological Sciences, NDSU